Institut Pasteur, FAPESP and USP sign an innovative support research agreement

Three public calls for applications will be issued internationally, in support of projects by young researchers within the Pasteur-USP Scientific Platform. Each project will receive around R$ 2 million over four years. In the end, the main researcher may apply for a permanent position

An innovative model for supporting research projects has just been signed in France. Today (12/8), the General Director of the Institut Pasteur, Stewart Cole; the President of the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP), Marco Antonio Zago; and the Rector of the University of São Paulo (USP), Vahan Agopyan, signed an agreement for financing the projects of young researchers in Biomedical Sciences to be developed within the Pasteur-USP Scientific Platform (SPPU) in São Paulo over a period of four years -- the so-called G4 groups (signed agreement). This outstanding agreement provides mechanisms for retaining talent after the projects have been carried out, from four to five years after selection.

According to Paola Minoprio, who is Coordinating the Platform, the calls will be available to researchers from all over the world, who are not employed by a Brazilian or foreign institution. There will be three G4s: the first will be initiated in later in 2022; the second in 2023; and the third in 2024. Each project will receive around R$ 2 million over four years, in addition to a scholarship or supplement of salary for the principal researcher and scholarships for students.

“For each project, the annual contribution of the Pasteur Institute will be € 50,000; FAPESP's about R$ 200,000, plus a scholarship for the PI of around R$ 8,000; and USP will provide the SPPU infrastructure,” she explains. “We will also be able to complement the principal researcher's scholarship, in order to ensure the attraction of the best talents and projects,” she adds.

The projects must be in line with the SPPU's scientific strategy, which develops research projects focused on emerging and neglected infectious diseases transmitted by pathogens that cause complex immune responses and produce disorders of the nervous system.

Recognition of excellence – The selection process will be performed in two stages. In the first, FAPESP will select the three best candidates from among all the submissions. In the second stage, a committee from USP and one from the Institut Pasteur will independently assess the three dossiers selected by FAPESP. Finally, a mixed committee with members from USP, Pasteur, and FAPESP will select the winner for each year.

To guarantee the retention of talent, at the end of the four-year project, each principal researcher may apply competitively for a permanent position offered by USP or by the Pasteur Institute at the SPPU. "If no vacancy is open by the end of the fourth year, an additional year will be ensured until a vacancy arises and the application process is initiated," says Minoprio.

The ceremony for signing the agreement, in Paris, was also attended by the President of the USP Agency for National and International Academic Cooperation (AUCANI), Valmor Tricoli, who is also a member of the SPPU Coordinating Committee; the Deputy General Director of Institut Pasteur, François Romaneix; the Institute's representative on the SPPU Coordinating Committee and Deputy International Director at Institut Pasteur, Jennifer Hurley; and Chloé Rabiet, a legal expert in the field of International Law, who is also from the institute.

Ms. Minoprio states that the agreement shows the importance of the Pasteur-USP Scientific Platform, both in France and in Brazil, “This is one more step towards the formal incorporation of the Platform as a full participant in the Pasteur Network, comprised of 34 institutes in 25 countries around the world.”