Brazilian government launches city innovation program

The initiative will channel 1 billion reais to the development of areas including urban mobility and renewable energy.

The Brazilian federal government will invest 1 billion reais ($248 million) in a new program for innovation projects supporting the development of cities over the next two years.

The Cidades Inovadoras (Innovative Cities, in Portuguese) initiative was announced on Friday (27) by president Michel Temer, who said the plan is another step towards placing Brazil in the 21st century."

"We will invest in projects that will transform our cities. It is an achievement for Brazilian science," Temer said at the launch event.

Four sectors be prioritized under the program: urban mobility, including transport and circulation systems aiming at efficiency and reducing emissions; sanitation and water resources, including treatment, composting and use of rainwater; energy efficiency and renewable energies, which will encompass technologies and systems for photovoltaic, wind and biomass energy.

According to the Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovation and Communications, the program aims to decentralize financing of innovation activities.

This will be done through partnerships with accredited financial agents - development banks, development agencies and other financial institutions. The program also forecasts an expanded remit for FINEP, the country's innovation and research fund.

The aim is to work with these stakeholders so that resources can be passed on to city halls, state governments, mixed capital organizations or private companies interested in developing innovation projects that benefit their local or regional areas of influence.