The board and directory of the Brazilian Materials Research Society (B-MRS) are publicly protesting against the budget cuts announced for the Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovations and Communications, which may render research and technological innovation in Brazil impossible. The Brazilian scientific system was developed over decades, based on the scientific community’s significant endeavor and on the support of different governments. The funding cuts of the Ministry in recent years have repeatedly subtracted resources for research and technological innovation, which further aggravates the country’s lack of competitiveness. These cuts pose a serious risk to Brazil’s performance in the coming years and decades. Even more serious is that, unlike other areas, the discontinuation of funding for science, technology and innovation in the country leads to the decline of researchers and disinterest of new generations of students, thus breaking the knowledge-building chain and hindering its resumption, due to the financial crisis.
The recent past has shown evidence that it is only through knowledge that the development and social well-being of a nation is achieved, and that countries have managed to escape economic crises through investment in science and technological innovation. There is no support that justifies cuts due to emergencies and urgencies brought on by a financial crisis. The amount of resources saved is insufficient to solve – or even significantly reduce – the country’s financial problems, given the already low investment in science and technology, lower than the criterion of any developed nations.
In a country with so many needs and so much inequality, as in Brazil, only technological development can improve the lives of our people, as demonstrated in recent decades. The efforts undertaken have led the country to a prominent position on the international scenario, which is now under threat, and to the rapid response of the scientific community to important economic and social issues, such as agribusiness and health. National development is only possible by means of a robust system of science, technology and innovation, with quality higher education and knowledge generation in different areas. In addition to the areas most directly related to technology, it is crucial that Brazil should develop research to identify the origins and propose solutions to our serious social problems.
If the relevance of education and knowledge generation for the country’s development is not recognized, in the long term the future of Brazil will be irreparably compromised.