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IDRC-supported research in Brazil has informed policy debates on a variety of issues, including democracy, economic growth, health, social services, innovation, forestry, and water.

During the military dictatorship that ended in 1985, IDRC supported democratically minded intellectuals to help keep relevant social science research alive. One of our funded researchers, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, served as Brazil’s president from 1995 to 2003.

Deepening democracy

In the 2000s, as part of a move to entrench democracy, Brazil set out to harness the energy of its 34 million young people. IDRC-supported researchers organized innovative dialogues that led to the creation of the National Council for Youth, where young people discuss policies with politicians and officials.

When Brazil began to lead the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Haiti and support sustainable and democratic development in that country, Brazilian researchers sought to guide the effort with evidence. IDRC support enabled them to research Haitian development and collaborate with counterparts in Argentina, Chile, Mexico, and Uruguay, as each country team strengthened their governments’ activities in Haiti.

Each team has become a national centre of excellence, informing policies regarding Haiti on reconstruction after the 2010 earthquake, including food security and public-private sector partnerships.

Addressing key health issues 

In response to dramatic increases in obesity among Brazilian adults, IDRC-supported researchers have been analyzing policies to promote healthy eating habits, and barriers to their adoption.

Health research in the state of São Paulo helped to implement reforms in the early 2000s to transfer responsibility for health care to local governments. A model to regulate public and private health care emerged, later adopted by other states.

When mercury contamination in the Amazon water system became a concern, Brazilian and Canadian researchers discovered that slash-and-burn agriculture was the primary cause. Working with local farmers, particularly women, researchers identified fish with the least amount of contamination, as well as a tree whose fruit could reduce mercury levels in humans.

Total IDRC Support

313 activities worth CAD $42.5 million since 1974

People in the streets of Brazil.

Our support is helping

  • counter urban violence and create safer cities
  • promote justice
  • address the high cost of armed violence in non-conflict settings
  • promote healthy diets that are lower in sodium
  • increase governments’ understanding of intellectual property issues and impacts


Explore research projects we support in this region.