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Building knowledge for trade and development


altUsing his sabbatical for a stay in Geneva, Enéas Gonçalves de Carvalho, from Vi’s Brazilian affiliate member, São Paulo State University, joined the Vi as a self-funded fellow for a period of nearly six months - September 15, 2011 to February 28, 2012.

During the fellowship, he worked on a paper investigating Foreign Direct Investment into Research and Development of the automotive industry. The objective was to see if there has been a trend of outsourcing R&D in the car industry from developed countries to emerging economies, in particular Brazil, and whether this trend can be documented quantitatively.

Carvalho was provided with access to the resources and facilities of the UN library in Geneva, as well as the UNCTAD reference centre. He also held numerous discussions with international experts, and received support from Astrit Sulstarova, of UNCTAD’s Division on Investment and Enterprise, who specializes in data on foreign direct investment, as well as from Alfredo Calcagno, Alfredo Saad Filho and Antonio Carlos Macedo e Silva, of the Division on Globalization and Development Strategies. Claudio Scaratti, of UNIDO, Luigi M. Lannutti, of ITC, and  David Seligson, of ILO were also at hand to help him with his research project.

"The Virtual Institute allowed me to get access to the key automobile FDI data obtained by UNCTAD," writes Carvalho. "I also had the opportunity to gain access, through the libraries of UNCTAD and the UN, to the databases and information of UNIDO, the International Labour Organization (ILO), and the International Trade Centre (ITC), among others. In fact, the libraries of UNCTAD and the UN gave me the possibility to access to publications and information from others relevant sources, like the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the World Trade Organization and the Economist Intelligence Unit.  Furthermore, I also had the opportunity to establish useful contacts with researchers from UNCTAD, UNIDO, ILO, and ITC."  

According to his findings, available data on Brazil show a trend of relocation of R&D in the car industry since 2000, but the trend is more difficult to prove on a systematic basis for the 1990s, where the data was rudimentary, mainly coming from company surveys.

Carvalho intends to publish the outcome of his fellowship as a paper, and hopes to extend the research towards other BRIC countries and Mexico, to produce a comparative analysis of the phenomenon. 

"Based on this worthwhile experience that I had, I believe that the fellowship program should continue, since it offers important opportunities that are not usually available to researchers/professors at most universities in emerging and/or in less developed countries," adds Carvalho. "In addition, the fellowship program allows, an international exchange of high level that, equally, is not readily available for most researchers/professors from universities of the above-mentioned countries."