University of Illinois System launches initiative to grow Brazilian collaborations

Brasillinois will build upon 130-year history of partnership
Brazilian flag
Brasillinois unifies deep and growing connections between the University of Illinois and Brazil, said U of I President Tim Killeen. 

The University of Illinois System today announced the launch of Brasillinois, an initiative that will feature a student mobility program and build clusters of research and institutional collaboration around themes of climate and sustainability, medicine and public health, and social inclusion. 

The initiative seeks to create a new model for collaboration between American higher education and the Global South by building research connections and increasing the exchange of students and faculty between Brazilian institutions and the U of I System’s Illinois Innovation Network, the Great Lakes Higher Education Consortium and other institutional partners in North America.

“The University of Illinois has a century-old legacy of partnership in Brazil, one that we continue to develop for the benefit of the people of our state and the citizens of Brazil,” U of I System President Tim Killeen said. “Brasillinois unifies these deep and growing connections under a single banner that includes research on climate, agriculture, health care and democracy with remarkable potential for life-changing breakthroughs.”

The student and faculty mobility program will bring more than 100 Brazilian undergraduates and doctoral students to the three system universities over the next few years. The Brazilian Ministry of Education-sponsored program will send undergraduates to Illinois for a semester, while doctoral students will be classified as visiting scholars for three to 10 months. The U of I System also will support visits to Brazilian partner universities for faculty members working with students in the mobility program to strengthen academic collaboration.

The partnership will affect units within the College of LAS which have significant ties with the South American nation.

“Our connections to Brazil reach back to the 19th century and Eugene Davenport, the first dean of the College of Agriculture at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign,” said Jerry Dávila, executive director of the Illinois Global Institute at U of I and the Jorge Paulo Lemann Chair in Brazilian History. “Over the last 130 years, the U of I System has become a trusted partner in Brazil for many different types of research and outreach activities. Brasillinois is a great way to commemorate that history while pointing toward an even greater future of collaboration.”

The system will kick off Brasillinois by hosting the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) and its international research networking event known as FAPESP Week at the Discovery Partners Institute headquarters in Chicago on April 9-10. The event will bring together researchers in health and medicine, sustainable cities, smart agriculture, climate, bioenergy, and the consolidation of democratic institutions, building new multidisciplinary research collaborations to address major challenges in these areas. Participants will come from São Paulo institutions, universities in Illinois and across the Great Lakes region, and partner institutions in Canada and Mexico.

“Our partnership with the University of Illinois System for promoting FAPESP Week is an important step forward in our relationship with the central states of North America, from Canada to Mexico,” FAPESP President Marco Antonio Zago said. “The themes to be discussed are relevant for the future of our planet – from water to democratic institutions and from One Health to Smart Agriculture. This event can only strengthen the links between institutions on both sides as well as highlight the excellent research being done on both continents.”

FAPESP has an annual research budget of more than $400 million and has funded past collaborations between faculty in Illinois and Brazil on aging, bioengineering, veterinary medicine, livestock, agricultural logistics, speech and hearing science and mathematics.

Brasillinois’ climate and sustainability efforts are expected to focus on Amazonian programs, including the FAPESP Amazon+10 and Fulbright Amazonia, and the 2025 Sustainability Research and Innovation Congress. The U of I System will host the 2025 SRI Congress in Chicago.

“Brazil is a global power in production agriculture, and U of I's College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences has been fortunate to collaborate with institutions there for many decades,” said Germán Bollero, dean of the college. “Together, we are equipped to address new challenges in this critical industry, while meeting growing demands. I am grateful for this new partnership and look forward to seeing the fruits from this important initiative.”

Brasillinois’ medicine and public health work will use data and community initiatives from Illinois and Brazil to develop and launch pilot programs aimed at increasing life expectancy in urban and rural settings, and also will establish cohort studies in Illinois and Brazil that build longitudinal health data sets. Programs will link the University of Illinois College of MedicineCarle Illinois College of Medicine and the colleges of Applied Health Sciences at the University of Illinois Chicago and UIUC with Fiocruz – which is Brazil’s national public health institute – and FAPESP. 

“This collaboration among partners across Brazil and Illinois will harness the expertise and data needed to investigate ideas and projects that will benefit the health of our communities in the pursuit of global health equity,” said UIC Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs Dr. Robert Barish. “We are eager to expand our innovation and discovery network while exploring ways to better serve patients in urban and rural settings.”

Brasillinois’ social inclusion cluster will include exchange and mobility programs for students from Illinois and Brazil, in partnership with the Brazilian Ministry of Education’s Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel Foundation. Brasillinois also will expand longstanding institutional collaborations with Brazilian universities in research and student exchange.

“In Brazil, the University of Illinois System has a large network of distinguished alumni in multiple fields, including higher education, medicine, the private sector and public service,” said Flávia Andrade, acting director of U of I’s Lemann Center for Brazilian Studies. “In recent years, this network has rapidly expanded, driven by graduate and postgraduate fellowships across diverse fields. Illinois' specialized training programs, particularly designed for professionals in financial governance, have also contributed significantly to this growth.”

More information about the initiative can be found at

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