First Australia–Brazil exchange program achieves outstanding outcomes

The Brazilian Ambassador, His Excellency Mr Manuel Innocencio de Lacerda Santos Jr (centre), with exchange program participants (from left) Diogo Henrique Costa Rezende, Carolina Tavares de Freitas, Bruna Durante batiste, Lucas do Nascimento, Helena Dias Muller Villela and Alisson Paulino Trvizol at the Academy's annual dinner during Science at the Shine Dome. Photo: Mark Graham

Six outstanding Brazilian students recently spent eight weeks conducting research in Australian institutions. Their achievements in that short time include scientific papers, a public presentation, and a tri-country collaboration.

The Academy’s inaugural Australia–Brazil PhD Exchange Program provided Brazilian second- or third-year PhD students a first-hand research experience in Australia, orientation in Australian culture, and an introduction to the science and research infrastructure of Australia. The students arrived in Australia at the end of March and returned to Brazil in June.

The program began with an orientation in Canberra, which introduced the students to Australian culture through visits to Parliament House, the National Arboretum and the National Gallery of Australia. They also learned about wildlife, bush tucker and Australia’s Indigenous history at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve.

The Brazilian Ambassador, His Excellency Mr Manuel Innocencio de Lacerda Santos Jr, met with the students at the Embassy of Brazil to learn more about their research.

Near the end of their time in Australia, the students returned to Canberra to share their experiences with one another and the Academy, and to attend Science at the Shine Dome, including workshops for early- and mid-career researchers, the annual gala dinner and the public symposium.

Despite the students’ relatively short time in Australia, some early but outstanding outcomes were achieved. Multiple papers were drafted and submitted to relevant journals for publication and one student presented an overview of his research at a public seminar at the UNSW School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering. Another student was instrumental in the establishment of a multi-centre, multilateral project on transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). The collaboration will enable TMS technology created at Harvard University to be shared with Australian and Brazilian research institutions.

The Australia–Brazil PhD Exchange Program was made possible with funding from the Australian Government Department of Education and Training. The department will fund further rounds of the program in 2017 and 2018.

More information about the students, their research and their Australian host researchers

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