UQ and Brazil

Strategic allies

UQ is developing a strong presence in Brazil at the turning point of the country's rapid growth and expansion into the global economy. Through deepening engagement with selected partners – including mining giant Vale and the São Paulo State University (UNESP) – research collaboration is addressing the key challenges of our time, and working towards a safer, healthier, and more sustainable future.

Fast facts


Brazilian students enrolled at UQ


Brazil-UQ co-publications


academic staff born in Brazil


research project collaborations


alumni in Brazil


agreements with 7 official partners

Fast facts show full-year 2020 data.



Brazil and UQ have partnered on 861 co-publications in the past 5 years, with key research areas including Astronomy & Astrophysics, Public, Environmental & Occupational Health, and Environmental Sciences. UQ's top co-publishing partners for this period are the Universidade de São Paulo, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, and Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul. 

Research collaborations

In the past 5 years, UQ has collaborated with 11 Brazilian institutions on 20 research projects. Key collaborators include the University of São Paulo, São Paulo State University, and Vale SA. 

Research funding

Brazilian organisations, including Vale SA, FAPESP, and Dow Brazil, have contributed A$1,153,041 towards 18 research projects in the past 5 years.

Collaboration in action

Ethanol fuels expansion of Brazil's farming land

A UQ-led study has revealed that future demand for ethanol biofuel could potentially expand sugarcane farming land in Brazil by five million hectares by 2030. The study published in Energy Policy was a collaboration between UQ, the International Institute for Applied System Analysis (IIASA - Austria) and the National Institute for Spatial Research (INPE - Brazil). UQ School of Earth and Environmental Sciences researcher Milton Aurelio Uba de Andrade Junior said that because Brazil produced ethanol from sugarcane, future biofuel demand would directly impact land use. “Our study has modelled scenarios forecasting future ethanol demand based on different trajectories for gross domestic product, population growth, fuel prices, blending policies, fleet composition and efficiency gains,” he said.

Going to the dark side

UQ’s School of Mathematics and Physics Professor Tamara Davis collaborates with São Paulo State University physics Professor Rogério Rosenfeld on the large-scale project, the Dark Energy Survey. To date, almost 500 people across five continents are involved on the project, which is mapping hundreds of millions of galaxies, detecting thousands of supernovae, and finding patterns of cosmic structure that will reveal the nature of dark energy. Professor Davis will travel to Brazil in December 2019 to discuss collaboration on the Survey, which is one of two projects that her Laureate Fellowship will address (the other being the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument).

Maintaining core skills in coal geosciences

UQ’s School of Earth and Environmental Sciences completed an A$2.5m alliance with mining leader Vale, which delivered world-class geomicrobiology research, education and training. The funding helped establish the Vale-UQ Geomicrobiology Laboratory, where students record advances in mineral exploration, bioleaching, carbon sequestration, ecological restoration of iron and bauxite mines and a new coal mine site bioremediation project in collaboration with Joan Esterle, Chair of the Vale-UQ Coal Geoscience Program. Established in 2010 (extended 2015), the aims of the A$5m Vale-UQ Coal Geoscience Program are to train students and conduct research to improve efficiency and safety of the mining process. Negotiations are underway to extend the Vale-UQ Program.

Building capacity for virus control

UQ’s School of Veterinary Science Associate Professor Ricardo Soares Magalhães secured funding in 2018 from the Australian Government’s COALAR to build capacity for Zika virus control in Colombia and Brazil. This project enabled knowledge transfer to assist local authorities to identify hotspots and communities most at risk of infection. Associate Professor Magalhães’s subsequent engagement with Brazil is through collaboration with Fiocruz Brazil on zoonotic infections in the State of Salvador da Bahia. In 2019, he secured funding via a UQ-UNESP grant to work with colleagues from the state of São Paulo on rabies control and Q fever risk prediction at the human-livestock interface.

English for the classroom

UQ's Institute of Continuing & TESOL Education (ICTE-UQ) is helping Brazilian teachers deliver academic courses in English. The Content & Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) programs an internationally recognised approach to teaching a language and a subject simultaneously – were delivered at the University of Brasilia and the Federal University of Viçosa, with the latter funded by former US President Obama's 100,000 Strong in the Americas program. The Institute has assisted more than 19 international university and government partners teach academic content in English.

Integrating content and language

In 2019, UQ’s Institute of Continuing & TESOL Education (ICTE) engaged with São Paulo State University (UNESP) to deliver the inaugural Content & Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) and English as a Medium of Instruction (EMI) program to academics. These programs are designed to enhance the application of CLIL methodology to tertiary contexts and support the development of appropriate teaching techniques and strategies. Program evaluation shows significant improvements in participants' self-reported competency and supports UNESP's internationalisation efforts to set and lift teaching standards.  ICTE Teacher Trainers delivered four programs across four UNESP campuses.

Student mobility

Wildlife rescue and rehabilitation

In 2016 and 2017, UQ veterinary science students travelled to Porto Alegre, where they teamed up with the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul and worked in a local volunteer wildlife rescue and rehabilitation clinic. The students applied their clinical and surgical skills in a range of settings, from emergency care to rehabilitation. Crucially, they participated in animal desexing surgery to help control stray populations. The project, which has enhanced research links between our institutions, is funded by the Australian Government's Endeavour Mobility Grants program.


UQ has 809 alumni living in Brazil. Alumni from or living in Brazil include:

CEO of FLIN, Executive Director of Metro Network, and Founder and CEO of VREYES Telecommunications (Master of Business Economics 2011)