„The Brazilian Universities and students are important partners for BME”

The rector of BME signed a cooperation agreement with the largest university in South America, and further Brazilian partner institutions may also become part of BME’s international network.

"Our institutions are committed to student exchange, conducting joint courses, and launching joint research projects. In this regard we concluded a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Sao Paulo (USP) Faculty of Technology earlier," said the rector of BME. (editor’s note:USP is not only Brazil’s but the continent’s largest university with 90 thousand students at several faculties.) János Józsa recently signed the new document when he attended the Hungarians in Brazil II. conference together with János Áder, President of Hungary and Zoltán Dubéczi, Secretary-General of the Hungarian Rectors’ Conference in Sao Paulo. "We plan on filling the agreement with more and more joint educational and scientific research content," emphasized János Józsa. The first project ideas involved water quality, precipitation remote sensing and based on the latter, micro-irrigation, as well as optics. The rector counts on the faculties participating in the joint work.

The leader of BME said that they had been preparing agreements similar to this cooperation involving the whole university in cooperation with the leaders of the renowned Sao Paulo State University (UNESP) and University of Campinas (UNICAMP). Talks between the rectors and the vice rectors for international relations of the institutions are already underway.

"Although the Science Without Borders programme has ended, we are absolutely determined to continue with it in other frameworks," stressed János Józsa. The rector of BME noted that a promising new way could be the Stipendium Hungaricum scholarship programme that is on the upswing. To take advantage of the programme’s 150 scholarships offered to Brazil, considering especially the masters and PhD studies, it is an important step to establish relations, and strengthen already existing cooperations with leading Brazilian universities, he added.

János Józsa presents the rector of USP with Gömböc, the world-renowned innovation of BME

The host of the event in Sao Paulo was Marco Antonio Zago, the Rector of USP. In attendance were Raul Machado Neto, Head of International Relations at USP, José Roberto Castilho Piqueira, Director of the Faculty of Technology at USP together with Benedito Braga, a professor at USP, and Chairman of the World Water Council. At the conference János Áder, President of Hungary was accompanied by János Józsa, Rector, Zoltán Dubéczi, Secretary-General of the Hungarian Rectors’ Conference, Ambassador Norbert Konkoly, and Zsolt Maris, Consul-General. Also in attendance was Vera Murányi Kiss, chairwoman of the Péter Murányi Foundation. (editor’s note: The Hungarian entrepreneur arrived in Brazil in 1939, and found success as an industrialist and real estate developer. Through his namesake foundation, which is now managed by his daughter, innovations that might be of practical use in the fields of healthcare, food, education, and research and development are awarded every year. Projects shall be entered by universities, research and other institutes to win one of the awards that serve to improve the quality of life of the population located below the north 20th parallel.)

The event’s 200-strong audience was primarily made up of local Hungarians, and some of USP’s professors with a Hungarian heritage also showed up.  Among them was one of the founders of the Friendship Group of Hungarian Professors in Brazil, Alinka Lépine-Szily, a professor at USP, and a foreign member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, whose ancestors include two former rectors of BME (editor’s note: Kálmán Szily, the elder was rector of BME from 1879 to 1884, while his son, Kálmán Szily, the younger from 1927 to 1930.) One of the goals of the friendship group is to bring the Brazilian and Hungarian higher education and research together. "With the help of today’s technological advances geographical distance must be no obstacle," the rector of BME argued. János Józsa recalled the work of BME faculty members done in the fields of hydrology, water quality management, and geology as good examples of the cooperation.

"Both institutions declared it a great success, we boasted excellent results in several fields of engineering, the University of Technology and Economics and Budapest proved to be such attractive places for the Brazilian students to live that many of them have surely felt homesick for Hungary since having returned home," recalled János Józsa the results of Science Without Borders, a four-year Brazilian higher education governmental programme in Sao Paulo. The education programme saw BME, uniquely in Europe, host close on 800 students in the previous years. On the 2014 world list of hosting universities only four other institutions came ahead of BME. (editor’s note: bme.hu regularly reported on the events of the hugely successful programme, for further reading see links at the bottom of this article.)

One of the key organizers of the Hungarians in Brazil II. conference and the rector’s programme was Balázs Vince Nagy, lecturer at BME’s Faculty Of Mechanical Engineering, Department of Mechatronics, Optics and Information Engineering, who’s been a visiting research fellow at USP for six years. He’s been studying human colour vision and colour sensing, and the effects of light on cerebral perception in the Vision Research Laboratory of USP’s Institute of Psychology. The young scientist’s results were published in papers in collaboration with the researchers of USP, in the field of , among others, electrophysiology, and on subject matters related to the International Commission on Illumination (CIE). Balázs Vince Nagy also acts as an official representative of BME mostly in Brazil, but in other South American countries as well.  Along with the earlier Erasmus-Mundus programmes (EBW I-II, Adde Salem) he took an active part in organizing the Science Without Borders scholarship programme, where he cooperated with the Brazilian governmental authorities, the Hungarian Embassy in Brazil, the Hungarian higher education institutions, and the

Hungarian Rectors’s Conference on behalf of BME.
He keeps in touch with the Brazilian students that returned home at the functions of the Hungarian Embassy in Brazil. Based on the feedback received from them he confirmed that the students consider returning to BME.

Balázs Vince Nagy prepares the planned cooperation agreements between BME and the Brazilian universities, which might allow joint applications to be submitted, projects to be set up, and student, faculty and researcher exchange programmes to be launched.

János Józsa with Vera Murányi Kiss, and Balázs Vince Nagy

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Photo: Daniel Yoshida/Mayumi Nishi - Communication Area - USP International Cooperation Office

In the main photo János Áder, President of Hungary, Benedito Braga (far left), Chairman of the World Water Council, János Józsa and interpreter István Rákóczi are having a talk (photo credit: Noémi Bruzák, MTI Fotó)