Research with Brazil

The University of Birmingham has extensive collaborative research partnerships with distinguished universities across Brazil and over 70 of our academics are actively engaged in these relationships. Our research strengths seek to answer some of the most challenging questions of the 21st Century.

Sustainable Cities

Covering a broad spectrum of research but with a focus on Health, Clean Energy and Inclusive Growth, all of our five colleges are actively engaged in research with Brazil. From urban planning, economic development and governance to Community capacity building and engagement, Wind energy technology, nexuses’, including the food-water-energy nexus and finally the development of foresight and housing/labour market intelligence and household behaviour.

Research collaborations

  • Dr. Peter Lee and Dr Vlad Mykhnenko are developing a research network with human & physical geographers, urban sociologists and policymakers in Sao Paulo State. Through this network,  a research agenda on socio-spatial inequalities, austerity and resilience and its effect on public policy making in middle cities in Brazil and the UK has been identified, with seminars and workshops on Socio-Spatial Inequalities: Understanding concepts of Exclusion, Segregation, Fragmentation and Resilience in Brazil and the UK
  • Professor Peter Kraftl and Dr Sophie Hadfield-Hill, “(R)econnect the Nexus: Young Brazilians’ Experiences of and Learning about Food-Water-Energy” 
  • Dr Sophie Hadfield-Hill, Co-I Professor Peter Kraftl, “Sharing Futures: Sustainable Urban Transformations in Water and Energy” (with UNESP). Key deliverables have included two Summer Schools and a workshop, a project website with literature reviews, an interactive map showing exemplar case studies, and the development of an app for further research.
  • "Do Flexible Institutions Enhance Democracy? A Comparative Analysis Of Public Governance Innovations In Brazil And The UK” (Professor Vivien Lowndes, Professor Chris Skelcher and Dr Catherine Durose). 

Energy Storage

Dr Jonathan Radcliffe, Senior Research Fellow and Policy Director, Birmingham Energy Institute, has been extremely active in Brazil and has a number of ongoing projects which include working with the Brazilian energy regulator, ANEEL on a range of training projects, forging links with Ministry of Science Technology and Innovation and the University of Brasilia, exploring complementary research opportunities particularly in renewables. Dr Jonathan Radcliffe, co-wrote a UK-Brazil report on Energy Storage in the UK and Brazil – Challenges, Capability and Opportunities, commissioned by the British Embassy in Brasilia.

The report presents opportunities for collaborative activities between UK and Brazil in electrical and thermal energy storage innovation. The UK has strong research and demonstration capabilities, whilst in Brazil there is an expanding energy sector with a need to strengthen the infrastructure and a desire to consider the role of new technologies.

Research collaborations

  • FCO - Brazil Prosperity Fund - Energy Storage in Brazil: technology, regulation and public policies awarded £300k

Energy Oil and Gas

Current engagement in the field of Earth Sciences and Oil and Gas research is focused around projects between the Geosystems group of GEES, a number of Brazil partner institutions and plans for International Ocean Discovery Program scientific ocean drilling operations on the Brazil Continental Margin in 2019-20. 

Research collaborations

  • Birmingham Leadership of IODP drilling proposal 864 “Equatorial Atlantic Gateway” for a 2-month, ~$10 M IODP expedition to drill offshore Recife, NE Brazil. Led by Tom Dunkley Jones (GEES) and 19 international collaborators, including 8 Brazilian partners. If approved, drilling operations would be likely to be scheduled 2019-20. Partners on the full proposal and site survey data integration include industrial partners Shell, BP, ION Geophysical, CGG, GALP Energia and SeaSEEP.
  • To to support IODP proposal 864, Birmingham staff in GEES (Steve Jones, Tom Dunkley Jones, Tim Reston), with partners in UFPE, Recife, Brazil, were funded by the Natural Environment Research Council, to undertake an 18-month project (December 2015 – April 2017), to collate industry-derived geophysical site survey data (seismic reflection data, magnetic, gravity surveys, multi-beam bathymetry).
  • Industry Collaborations: provision of BrasilSpan seismic survey by ION Geophysical and CGG 3D seismic survey of the Pernambuco Plateau in support of IODP 864.
  • PhD Studentships and Staff Exchanges.

Immunology and Infection

The Institute of Microbiology and Infection at the University of Birmingham is one of the largest groupings of microbiologists in the world and are at the vanguard of innovative research into combatting antimicrobial and antibiotic resistance. Supported by the Visiting Fellows Scheme, work is underway on joint authorships with an exchange of researchers from Brazil undertaking work at the laboratories in Birmingham. 

Research collaborations

Dr Nick Loman - Zika Rapid Response Initiative - "Open genomic surveillance of Zika virus (ZIKV) in Brazil using a novel portable real-time sequencing device, working with Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (FIOCRUZ) and the Instituto Evandro Chagas. 


As a particular research strength at the University of Birmingham, there are now over 20 academic staff engaging in researcg with Brazil ranging from remote collaborations through to hosting students and staff and developing research funding applications and producing peer-reviewed outputs.

Research collaborations

  • Five University of Birmingham Professors have visited Brazil to develop research links and one holds an honorary Professorship at USP.
  • University of Birmingham has hosted postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers funded by Science without Borders, FAPESP, CAPES and the UoB visiting fellows scheme. 
  • University of Birmingham academics have been named in successful responsive mode funding applications held by Brazilian PIs to FAPESP and Brazilian groups have been named as partners in Birmingham led applications to external funding bodies including EC-H2020. 

Cancer Studies

Professor Hisham Mehanna  is leading on the development of the strategic partnership between the Institute of Head and Neck Studies and Education at the University of Birmingham and the Brazil National Cancer Institute (INCA). With an initial focus on Head and Neck Cancer the partnership is developing as joint research in cancer and immunology. In addition we are developing bilateral clinical and research training programmes including PhD scholarships, doctoral and postdoctoral exchange, and visiting fellowships in clinical trials.

Social Sciences

Emeritus Professor Marilyn Martin Jones, Dr Eleni Mariou and Dr Elizabeth Chilton ( MOSAIC Group for Research on Multilingualism, School of Education) successfully awarded funding through the British Council Universities for the World Capacity Building for HE and Internationalisation  ‘English Collaboration Call’ to work with the University of Brasilia (UnB) and the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG). Their research project,' The changing language and literacy landscapes of Brazilian universities: English in policy development and in practice', will investigate the specific ways in which university policy-making with regard to “internationalisation at home” is unfolding in two universities in Brazil, and the specific ways in which the use and production of texts in English, online and offline, is mediating this process, in different areas of academic life: research, teaching/learning (in different disciplines), and administration.