The expected impacts of the creation of this Center are three-fold: institutional, analytical, and methodological.
1. Institutionally, this proposal seeks to bring together a group of top-notch scholars with shared research interest, in a single institutional center within the confines of University of São Paulo. For well-known reasons, in the past a number of high-level researchers associated with the University of São Paulo conducted their research outside the University. Our goal is to bring together within the Center researchers from the Center for Metropolitan Studies, along with professors from the Department of Political Science, the Department of Sociology and the Institute of International Relations. We are driven by the experience of the Center for Metropolitan Studies (CEM), a Cepid/Fapesp and a Inct/CNPq funded center. Since its inception in 2000, CEM's activities have focused on research, technology transfer and the dissemination of information. Its partners include FFLCH/USP, CEBRAP, Fundação Seade, INPE, SESC/SP and TV Cultura.
With regard to the CEM's research activities, 32 projects were developed in the last 10 years by 23 PhD and 16 MSc researchers. Seventeen books and 112 articles were published in Brazil and 27 internationally as a result of its research effort. Moreover, 140 articles were presented at scientific meetings both in Brazil and abroad. Twelve academic theses were produced. As for technological transfer, CEM either produced or acquired 80 different geocoded databases integrated into a GIS (Geographical Information System), which is available for download on its website (www.centrodametropole.org.br). The association with the National Institute of Space Research (Inpe) led to the development of a freeware GIS software, available for download at the website, the TerraView Social Policy.
2. Analytically, we foresee the creation of a dynamic research center. It will encompass the very best senior and junior scholars in the three disciplines, and will integrate various methodological approaches and substantive research foci in a multidisciplinary, policy-relevant, and self-perpetuating positive cycle. The faculty members of the proposed Center have been selected on the basis of their broad research agendas, openness to new methods and techniques, as well as their publication records, which are among the very best in their respective departments.
This point is worth emphasizing: it is our goal to maintain a very strong publication record, and to the extent possible, to leverage the individual strengths of the member faculty to jointly produce internationally-recognized research. For this reason, we have sought to bind ourselves from the first moment: the proposed norms of the Center include rigid and unwavering requirements for faculty members regarding their expected international publication record and their expected presentation of research in domestic and international forums.
3. Our third objective is to continuously strengthen the methodological skills of our member faculty, as well as to train a new generation of social scientists in the most advanced cutting-edged techniques available worldwide. If we are to succeed in making the Center a long-term presence at the University of São Paulo, we must engage in constant training of our faculty and students, following the CEM's experience. In particular, this is essential to creating a constant flow of leading young scholars who are able to converse with their peers outside Brazil. As part of this conversation, we must also make every effort to bring leading international academic luminaries to the University.
Our goal in this methodological aspect is two-fold. First, at the level of student training, we seek to institutionalize existing training programs such as the IPSA Summer School on Concepts and Methods in Political Science and International Relations, deepen the reach of these programs to students from Brazil and the rest of world, and augment the quantity of courses offered to faculty and doctoral students alike. We seek both to train a new generation and to create international networks of scholars who recognize the University of São Paulo as the premiere academic setting in Latin America for social science research. Second, we aim to hold regularly scheduled workshops that can be used to generate internationally-competitive publications, with contributions by renowned scholars from both Brazil and abroad.