Purdue’s Garimella attends D.C. event for Brazil’s president

July 1, 2015  


Suresh Garimella 
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Suresh Garimella, Purdue’s executive vice president for research and partnerships, represented the university during an event in Washington, D.C., at the invitation of U.S. Vice President Joe Biden.

The luncheon, in honor of Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff, took place Tuesday (June 30) at the U.S. Department of State.

“It was a tremendous honor and opportunity to be invited to represent Purdue on this important occasion celebrating partnerships with Brazil,” Garimella said. “We have had a longstanding relationship with Brazil that dates back more than half a century, and this event allowed us to highlight Purdue’s many connections to Brazil to key leaders from the governments of both Brazil and the United States as well as the private sector.”

Purdue’s partnership in the country began with the Federal University of Viçosa (UFV), where, starting in 1952 and continuing over the next 15 years, Purdue staff visited Brazil to work with UFV counterparts. From the 1950s through the 1970s, the College of Agriculture partnered with USAID 
and predecessor agencies to train Brazilian scientists and work to develop the country’s agricultural research and education capacity. UFV and Brazil’s equivalent of USDA’s Agriculture Research Service was developed with Purdue assistance. Purdue still has a strong connection to the University at Viçosa, where “Purdue Day” was held on Oct. 3, 2013.

Today, Brazil and Purdue maintain a variety of agreements, student exchange programs and visiting faculty programs that involve the colleges of Agriculture, Engineering and Veterinary Medicine and the Krannert School of Management.

In spring of 2015 about 80 students from Brazil were enrolled at Purdue. And joint research projects with Brazilian scientists span diverse areas such as agricultural unmanned vehicle technology, energy and food engineering.

In 2014 Mauricio Antonio Lopes of Brazil was named a Purdue Distinguished Ag Alumnus. Lopes, a plant geneticist who earned a master’s degree from Purdue in 1989, is president of the Brazilian agricultural research organization with 9,342 employees, 2,282 researchers and an annual budget of $1.1 billion. His concept to manage research projects focusing on teams assembled around core themes led to his appointment as head of research of Brazil’s national agricultural research corporation in 2000.

“President Obama has referred to Latin America as a ‘region on the move,’ and at Purdue we have recognized for many years that vitality throughout the region is important to those nations as well as to the United States,” Garimella said. “Our goal, through the Office of Corporate and Global Partnerships, is to continue and strengthen our relationships in Latin America to advance innovation, research, education and commercialization efforts by linking with their universities, agencies, companies, non-governmental organizations and Purdue alumni.”

To further engagement in the region, Purdue created the Latin American Technical, Research and Administrative Leaders (LATeRAL) program. The program is designed to develop faculty, corporate, entrepreneurial and community leaders and prepare them to help meet Latin America’s innovation, research, education and commercialization challenges. LATeRAL includes focused graduate degrees with professional development and networking experiences and provides a hub for regional institutions, companies and governments to create connections and develop a culture of globalization.

Garimella said a key area in which the Americas lag is having a system in place that supports innovation through a developed research and education ecosystem. He, along with David B. Janes, a professor of electrical and computer engineering, and Anne Slaughter Andrew, the former U.S. ambassador to Costa Rica, authored a concept paper proposing the creation of “networks of excellence for research and education” to address this challenge.

“These Networks of Excellence, would be multi-institutional, multi-national and multi-sector – involving universities, corporations, governments and non-governmental organizations,” Garimella said. “This would create an environment in which best practices and resources are shared and progress is made in a coordinated way instead of each sector trying to advance in the same areas on their own.

“The added benefit is that such networks create deep partnerships to solve problems, which leads to regional growth and an environment that creates an incentive for peace, prosperity and sustainable development.” 

Writer: Brian Zink, 765-494-2080, bzink@purdue.edu 

Source: Suresh Garimella, 765-494-6209, sureshg@purdue.edu 

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