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BRICS create fund to finance innovation

The initiative will fund scientific research projects and is part of a "daring" new agenda for the Brazilian government's agenda for science and technology, says minister

The BRICS countries - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - have created a fund to finance joint innovation projects.

The R$24m ($5.8m) fund will go towards scientific research projects and the first multilateral tender should be launch in April 2016. Brazil will contribute with R$1.2m ($292,000) of the total pool of resources.

Representatives of the science and technology industry and ministries from all the five countries gathered at an event in Beijing last week, where the announcements were made.

According to Brazilian Science and Technology minister Celso Pansera, the expectation is that the tenders will further develop the cooperation between countries within research and also in the certain of innovative processes and products.

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The minister added that the announcements were in line with the "daring" and "pretentious" agenda of the Brazilian government's Science and Technology department.

"We want to pursue a vigorous external policy for the ministry in 2016, seeking resources overseas with a variety of partners," Pansera told delegates at the event.

Celso Pansera took over the Brazilian Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry as part of a ministerial reform announced last October. An opposition congressman with barely no experience in the technology sector, the president's choice to give the job to Pansera raised concerns within the local tech industry.

At the time of Pansera's appointment, eight Brazilian technology associations released a statement saying that the sector "can no longer cope with frequent changes in the ministry's administration, which impact strategic programs and policies."