Cutbacks threat to Brazil program

16 Sep 2015

The Australian, 16 September 2015

By Andrew Trounson

Australia's universities are bracing for cutbacks to Brazil's Science Without Borders outwardbound program amid reports the government plans to suspend or reduce new scholarships next year as it tries to rein in spending.

Universities have taken in more than 4000 Brazilian students under the program, the bulk of them going to the Group of Eight and Australian Technology Network institutions. There are widespread rumours the next phase of Science Without Borders will be refocused away from undergraduate students towards postgraduates.

Ainslie Moore, Universities Australia's policy director for international education, said the sector was still waiting on Brazil to finalise its plans for the program. A letter to UA this month from Brazilian agency CNPq said "the second phase of the program is still under evaluation, specifically the definition of guidelines and the budget".

Brazilian newspaper Folha has reported that CNPq will fund 22,610 scholarships next year.

Brazil has funded about 101,000 students under the program.

Ms Moore said Australian universities were forging ahead with the relationships they had established with Brazilian institutions under the program.

"Universities Australia is pursuing long-term relations with Brazilian universities alongside and regardless of the Science Without Borders program," she said.

Group of Eight executive director Vicki Thomson said Australia was well placed to secure closer partnerships with Brazilian universities, both around students and research.

Source: The Australian