In 1998, Embrapa launched its Virtual Lab Abroad (Labex) Program, an innovative framework mechanism to enhance international scientific cooperation on strategic topics to Embrapa and Brazil. The Embrapa-Labex program focuses on promoting and catalyzing research and technological joint activities on cutting-edge research areas. The Embrapa research leader is placed in a world-class research group from a strategic host institution for up to three years, to foster a robust research collaboration among researchers and between scientific institutions, which includes the implementation of a joint project to be carried out during that period, with seed money from Embrapa.
The Visiting Scientist from Embrapa is a recognized expert (with a doctoral degree) who is usually appointed for up to one year to interact with a research leader from a world-class laboratory overseas. The scientist is paid by Embrapa while he/she is abroad. It is a corporative program aligned with Embrapa´s strategic priorities. Through the perspective of scientific cooperation, this program works as a powerful mechanism to enhance the international network of Embrapa. When scientifically connected to an Embrapa Labex researcher´s project, the visiting researcher is named a Labex Flex researcher.
It is a mechanism to enable Embrapa and partner research institutes to work together through competitive, integrated, collaborative research proposals submitted by researchers from both organizations, on topics of common interest. The awarded joint project shares data, people (visiting scientists, postdocs, and students) and biological material, but funds are for local use only. This mechanism offers a range of possibilities to promote long-lasting cooperation between researchers.
Co-funded projects are initiatives based on scientist-to-scientist interactions that use alternative funds (from national or international supporting bodies). It is a bottom-up mechanism that provides an additional source of funds to foster the interaction between Embrapa researchers and their international partners, to investigate topics of common interest.