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Professor Robin Mason
Professor Robin Mason, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (International)

The Brazilian Government has honoured Professor Robin Mason with a prestigious award for championing academic co-operation between Brazil and the UK.

Professor Mason, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (International) receives the Order of Rio Branco, Officer Class. The honour was instituted in 1963 and marks meritorious service and civic virtues. It was named after José Maria da Silva Paranhos Jύnior – the Baron of Rio Branco, who played a major role in consolidating Brazil’s borders.

Professor Mason commented: “I am both honoured and humbled to receive the Order of Rio Branco, Officer Class - humbled because this award rests upon the tireless work and support of academic and professional colleagues at the University of Birmingham and beyond.

“Birmingham is a global university with a civic outlook. In recent years, Brazil has become one of the UK’s most important collaborators in education and research, and the University is committed to extending and deepening academic links between our two countries.

“I am proud of the way that our relationships have continued to flourish and believe that more and better still is to come, as we continue to combine the great research and education strengths of Brazil and the UK.”

Brazil is a strategic region of importance for the University, which – through its Birmingham Brazil Forum – has developed partnerships and relationships leading to collaborative research with leading Brazilian universities, institutions and private organisations.

His Excellency Mr Fred Arruda, Ambassador of Brazil to the UK commented: “Robin Mason has been a key figure in strengthening the cooperation in education and research between Brazil and the UK. In 2019, he led the launch of the Birmingham-Brazil Forum, which promoted activities related to all things Brazilian throughout the year.

“In 2020, he was instrumental for ensuring the continuity of the Brazilian Lectureship program in the UK. Birmingham has 70 ongoing projects in partnership with Brazilian institutions and receives 100 Brazilian researchers and students every year.”

The University has extensive research partnerships with distinguished universities across Brazil and over 70 of its academics are actively engaged in these relationships.

Birmingham’s research partnerships in Brazil seek to answer some of the most challenging questions of the 21st Century, including: Sustainable Cities, Energy Storage, Energy Oil and Gas, Immunology and Infection, Biomaterials, Cancer Studies, and Social Sciences.

Its Brazil Visiting Fellows Scheme provides early career university lecturers or post-doctoral researchers currently working at recognised universities in Brazil the opportunity to spend up to three months at the University of Birmingham carrying out identified research projects.