Nation & World

Celebrating a decade in São Paulo

4 min read

Lemann Brazil Research Fund furthers connections between Harvard and Brazil

In a few short weeks, the world will turn its attention to Rio de Janeiro for the Olympic Games. But before any medals are awarded, Harvard celebrated two of its own milestones in Brazil: the 10th anniversary of the Harvard Brazil Office and the first round of Lemann Brazil Research Fund grants.

The David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard, founded in 1994, opened its São Paulo base in 2006 as the center formally began its Brazil Studies Program. For a decade, students and faculty have used the facility to strengthen ties with their colleagues across Brazil and to host numerous research projects and educational programs.

“There’s a distinct advantage that the Brazil Office affords our faculty and students,” explained Mark Elliott, Harvard’s vice provost for international affairs. “Maintaining long-term connections to Brazilian colleagues and resources accelerates the learning process, catalyzing their important research, and ensures broad dissemination to those who will benefit most from their discoveries.”

This past academic year alone, scores of Harvard students conducted research in Brazil — exploring everything from climate change in the Amazon rainforest to improving educational systems in the fast-growing urban centers.

The Brazil Studies Program also incorporated additional financial aid funds specifically for Brazilian graduate students, with a focus on public service in Schools across the University. These Lemann Fellowships — named in honor of the family of Jorge Paulo Lemann ’61, whose support enabled the awards — have made a Harvard education possible for more than 100 Brazilian students over the past decade who may not otherwise have been able to attend.

Now, thanks to additional support from the Lemann Foundation, funding is available to faculty and students whose academic work is based in or relates to Brazil. The Lemann Brazil Research Fund, which begins with a focus on education and public policy, was announced this spring and immediately drew a University-wide response, from which seven grants were announced today at an anniversary celebration in São Paulo.

“We’re thrilled with the caliber of this year’s applicants — particularly in the area of education, which is such a critical area of focus in Brazil — and look forward to an even more robust pool next year,” added Elliott.

This year’s grantees and their Brazilian collaborators include:

“Globalization and Organizational Change: Evidence from Brazil”
Laura Alfaro, Warren Alpert Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School

  • Andrea Lucchesi, assistant professor of economics and quantitative methods at School of Arts, Sciences and Humanities (EACH), University of São Paulo
  • Naercio Menezes Filho, IFB Professor of Economics and director of the Centre for Public Policies, Insper Institute of Education and Research
  • Alison Oliveira, Ph.D. candidate, applied microeconomics, Insper
  • Leandro Justino Pereira Veloso, Ph.D. candidate, statistics, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro

“Estimation of the social and economic burdens of dengue and Zika virus in Brazil: a public policy tool”
Marcia Castro, associate professor of demography, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

  • Claudio José Struchiner, professor of epidemiology and biostatistics, Brazilian School of Public Health, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation
  • Monica Viegas Andrade, associate professor, economics department, Center for Development and Regional Planning, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais
  • Lucas Resende de Carvalho, research assistant, Centre for Development and Regional Planning (CEDEPLAR/UFMG), Belo Horizonte
  • Júlia Almeida Calazans, research assistant, Health Economics Research Group (GEESC/CEDEPLAR)

“Prioritizing biodiversity of birds and butterflies in Cerrado habitats of Brazil using geographic and phylogenetic information systems”
Scott Edwards, Alexander Agassiz Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Faculty of Arts and Sciences

  • Cristina Yumi Miyaki, associate professor, Instituto de Biociências, Universidade de São Paulo
  • Gregory Thom, Ph.D. candidate, Departamento de Genética e Biologia Evolutiva Instituto de Biociências, Universidade de São Paulo

“Machine learning to estimate life expectancy by race in Brazil: challenges for a multiracial future”
Ichiro Kawachi, John L. Loeb and Frances Lehman Loeb Professor of Social Epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

  • Alexandre Dias Porto Chiavegatto Filho, assistant professor of health statistics and epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of São Paulo

“Assessing the Impact of Socio-Emotional Learning Programming in Brazil”
Dana McCoy, assistant professor of education, Harvard Graduate School of Education

  • Cristine Campos de Xavier Pinto, associate professor, EESP/FGV
  • Vladimir Ponczek, associate professor, São Paulo School of Economics, FGV

“From Research to Policy: Improving Municipal Policymaking in Brazil”
Gautam Rao, assistant professor of economics, Faculty of Arts & Sciences

  • Juan Francisco Santini, Ph.D. candidate, economics, Pontificia Universidade Catolica do Rio de Janeiro

“The Learning for All Project”
Paola Uccelli, associate professor of education, Harvard Graduate School of Education

  • Beatriz Cardoso, Laboratorio de Educaҫão