Who we are

The Serrapilheira Institute is the first private non-profit institution geared towards fostering science in Brazil. It was founded to place more value on scientific knowledge and to increase science visibility. The idea is to stimulate a culture of science by acting in two areas: science itself and science outreach.

What we do

In Science, Serrapilheira operates through two programs. The Science Support Program, in addition to identifying and providing support to excellent research by young scientists, organizes training courses and hosts integration events. The Training Program in Quantitative Biology and Ecology, on the other hand, offers transdisciplinary training to students who wish to pursue a doctorate in international research centers.

As for Science Outreach, the Institute maps out and supports media and journalism initiatives.

Since its foundation, the Institute has provided support to more than 190 scientific research and science outreach projects. Learn more about our programs.

Fields supported by Serrapilheira:

  • Natural sciences (life sciences, geosciences, physics and chemistry);
  • Computer Science;
  • Mathematics;
  • Science outreach.

Our objectives

Fostering research excellence in Brazil by:

  • providing financial support to basic science projects
  • training young scientists;
  • fostering interdisciplinary international collaboration in science.

Building a culture of science in Brazil by:

  • fostering new discursive practices in science and consolidating its distribution to various audiences;
  • creating spaces for dialogue and collaboration between outreachers and scientists.

Our Organization

Our organization is made up of the Executive Team, working under the supervision of the Management Board, both assisted by an international Scientific Advisory Board. For more details on our organization, please click here.

Where we come from

Although only officially launched in March 2017, the idea of the Serrapilheira Institute started to take shape in 2014. The financial resources come from a R$ 350 million endowment fund constituted in 2016.

During the three years between the constitution of the fund and its public announcement, a lot of time was dedicated to collecting knowledge on institutional models and visiting development bodies, science support foundations and third sector organizations both in Brazil and abroad. We also met with Brazilian researchers to understand how a private institution could better serve the scientific community.

“Serrapilheira” (plant litter) is the layer built by accumulation of organic matter, in various phases of decomposition, present on the ground of forests. It is the main channel for nutrients to return to the ground and a critical element in forest fertility.