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SINTEF expands in Brazil

Trond Giske, Norway's Minister of Trade and Industry opens Instituto SINTEF do Brasil. Photo: SINTEF
SINTEF is setting up a research foundation with headquarters in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. The Instituto SINTEF do Brasil will play an important role in reinforcing SINTEF's position in the international research and development market, says SINTEF Group President Unni Steinsmo.

SINTEF's Brazilian research foundation  was officially opened in Rio yesterday - on February 17 by Trond Giske, Norway's Minister of Trade and Industry.

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Important market for research and development
SINTEF's interest in Brazil is primarily due to the fact that there is a large and still growing market for R&D in the petroleum sector.

There will be a huge need for technology development in the near future, similar to what we have seen on the Norwegian continental shelf during the past 40 years.

“There is a great deal of activity in the petroleum sector. The biggest finds anywhere in the world are now being made on the Brazilian shelf. The country has a population of 200 million, many of whom lived below the poverty line until recently, and government policy is to consciously exploit technology and innovation as instruments of social improvement. The country is developing rapidly and is on the lookout for expertise in most of the areas in which SINTEF operates,” says Steinsmo.

Close collaboration
SINTEF has been active in Brazil for 25 years, and has been represented there by MARINTEK do Brasil since 2007. That company and the new research foundation will collaborate closely. The aim is to develop a powerful and attractive R&D milieu in cooperation with Brazilian and international partners.

SINTEF is already collaborating with the oil companies Petrobras and Statoil in Brazil, as well as its research partners; the Alberto Luiz Coimbra Institute – Graduate School and Research in Engineering (COPPE/UFRJ), the Pontifical Catholic University, the University of São Paulo and the Institute of Technological Research (IPT), also in São Paulo.

Focus on petroleum from the start
The Instituto SINTEF do Brasil will initially focus on the petroleum sector, being represented from the beginning by expertise in materials science and flow technology, marine environmental and petroleum technology. In the longer run it will make sense to add such areas of research as renewable energy, aquaculture and CO2 capture and storage.

Brazilian personnel
Steinsmo explains that the Foundation will be staffed as far as possible by Brazilian nationals.

“At first, there will be a need for expertise from the Norwegian mother organisation, but our ambition is to gradually increase the proportion of Brazilian staff.”

The Instituto SINTEF do Brasil is starting off with four employees, but the aim is to raise the total number of SINTEF staff in Brazil to around 40 within about five years.