Brazil entered in recent years into a cycle of economic growth and, at the same time, has become an essential international figure due to its selection as the host of both the World Soccer Cup of 2014 and the Olympic Games of 2016.
This positive development carries with it many challenges, the most important being the need to create an appropriate infrastructure that supports the performance of those two large events and also furthers the economic expansion of this country.
In thinking about these challenges that face Brazil, GE announced in January 2010 that this country has been selected, among more than 100 countries where the company operates, to host the Fifth GE Global Research Center (GRC) and the first one in Latin America.
The GRC will be essential to guarantee high-technology solutions for infrastructure bottlenecks in Brazil. Its focus will be research and development of technologies that help GE businesses and their clients to meet the infrastructure demand of this country.
With an initial investment of $100 million, the Brazilian Center will be located in Rio de Janeiro. It should become operational as of 2012 and is projected to employ 200 researchers and engineers. The Center will feature a GE Global Qualification Center that will train employees, partners and company’s customers; over $50 million will be invested in this project.
INVESTMENT FOR A SUSTAINABLE BRAZIL
The challenges that the GRC will face include diversification and optimization of the energetic matrix, pre-salt layer oil exploration, developments of health technologies that offer access and quality to the treatment of diseases for the whole population, and solutions for water treatment and reuse.
GE has already initiated a number partnerships to assist in making Brazil one of the leading world technological hubs. The cooperation agreements with other companies and with teaching institutions should also help the Company develop new products, processes and services.
Among the alliances, the Cooperation Agreement executed with the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) and with Fundação Coordenação de Projetos, Pesquisas e Estudos Technológicos (COPPETEC) stand out. With an eye toward planning and executing research and development projects targeting Brazil’s needs, GE plans to develop specialized labor, in addition to expanding its world research and development network. UFRJ and COPPETEC will assist with establishing priorities for technological development and improvement of GE solutions and products.
A more technical partnership has been executed with the Ministry of Science and Technology, the main Brazilian federal body that encourages national research policies. Based on existing programs that are already geared to strategic segments for the government, the research should target infrastructure projects for Brazil.
GE also executed, along with Petrobrás, a leader in the Brazilian oil sector and one of the largest world energy companies, a partnership for future technological cooperation in research and development projects geared to monitoring systems and oil and gas production control. Among the objectives are development of compact subsea systems for the production of oil and gas and remote inspection and monitoring of equipment.
With Vale, the largest producer of iron ore in the world, the company signed a Term of Technical Cooperation to perform partnerships in projects related to the development of national infrastructure. Focused on storage, generation and distribution of energy projects, the cooperation should allow sustainable production of energy and the identification of technological development priorities in areas of interest for both parties. Vale should also participate in the periodic revisions and technology programs for GE products and solutions.
Finally, another big step to turn the Global Research Center of Brazil into an instrument of highly qualified solutions was the agreement made with the Instituto de Pesquisas Tecnológicas of São Paulo (IPT) to share expertise in high technology and establish researches in key areas for the development of local science and industry. With the objective of cooperating to supply Brazilian needs as a technologically developing country, the partnership will identify the application of processes or experiences that may be used in the improvement of solutions in the fields of bionanotechnology, bioenergy, oil and gas and research and development support.