Int’l students to help replenish Brazil’s National Museum archive

A large portion of its collections was lost in the 2018 fire

Published on 01/06/2023 - 13:27 By Alana Gandra - Rio de Janeiro

A partnership between the National Museum and Portuguese universities can bring international students over to Brazil and help replenish collections at the Brazilian museum—a considerable part of which was destroyed in the 2018 fire.

To meet this end, the government of Portugal is offering students from around the world a chance to join graduate programs shared between Brazil’s National Museum and Portugal’s three main universities: Coimbra, Lisbon, and Porto. “In fact, the initiative will help us renew our collections,” the museum’s director, Professor Alexander Kellner, told Agência Brasil. Applications can be submitted on the website of the Euraxess network until June 16.

The selected applicants will be advised by one researcher from a Portuguese university and another from the National Museum and should focus on biodiversity, among other fields. Studies can be conducted and material collected anywhere on the globe.

“Part of the deal stipulates that a portion of the material collected should come to the National Museum, as a way to renew our collections,” said Kellner.

Scientific connections

In Director Kellner’s view, the collaboration is an opportunity to bolster scientific relations between the two nations. The great genius behind the idea, he went on to note, was Nuno Miguel dos Santos Ferrand de Almeida, professor at the Biology Department of the University of Porto.

Once the students are selected, the idea is to start work “right away,” Kellner stated. They will be given scholarships from the Portuguese government. “We’re really happy to provide this help, and also really grateful,” the professor added.

After the fire that razed much of the National Museum’s archive back in September 2018, the Smithsonian Institute in the US gave one- to two-month grants to students at the Brazilian institution to complete research. “It was also extremely beneficial,” Alexander Kellner said.

Translation: Fabrício Ferreira -  Edition: Nádia Franco

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