Money for University of Campinas Research was Paid to Professors’ Company

Entrada principal do campus da Universidade Estadual de Campinas (Unicamp). Foto: Unicamp/Divulgação.

The main entrance to the campus of the State University of Campinas (Unicamp). Photo: Unicamp/Ascom.

(Translation of “Dinheiro para pesquisa da Unicamp
foi pago a empresa de professores”
 , Aug. 24 2016)

MAURÍCIO TUFFANI,
Editor

About $ 782,000 BRL ($ 240,000 USD) of a total of approximately $ 2.46 million BRL ($ 752,000 USD) of a research contract to be fulfilled by the State University of Campinas (Unicamp) was paid by the public utility company AES Tietê S/A from October 2010 until August 2012 to Hidrasoft Engenharia e Informática, whose partners were the professors that managed the research project. Closed in September 2015, the company is the same that belonged to members of masters and doctoral defense committees cited in the report USP Professor was approved by business partners for a faculty position and in his doctoral defense, published by Direto da Ciência on August 11.

Although not included in the contract that AES Tietê S/A signed with Unicamp and its foundation (Funcamp) to carry out the research project “Gestão Integrada de Riscos em Sistemas Hidro-Eletro-Energeticos” (GISHELE), the company Hidrasoft Engenharia e Informática was nominated as a member on a webpage of the public utility company that is no longer available, but remains recorded in Archive.org data repository.

The exact amount paid to Hidrasoft was $ 782,399.94 BRL ($ 240,000 USD) in the item of expenditure “human resources” according to information provided by the National Electric Energy Agency (Aneel) on 10.23.2015 based on the Brazilian Freedom of Information Act registered in the Office of the Comptroller General website. The total amount paid by AES Tietê S/A was $ 2,459,840.67 BRL ($ 752,000 USD).

This research funding was made possible by the law 9991/2010, which requires public utility electric companies to invest 0.75% of its net operating revenue in research and development (R&D).

 

No mention

The GISHELE project was executed by professors Paulo Sergio Franco Barbosa, former Dean of the Faculty of Civil Engineering, Architecture and Urbanism of Unicamp and current Research Coordinator, and Alberto Luiz Francato, current Vice Dean, who were members of Hidrasoft, closed in September 2015.

After proposed by Barbosa, the initiative was initially approved by the Department of Water Resources, and then by other deliberating bodies of the university, including the Innovation Agency (Inova), the Council of Community Services and the university Attorney General. None of these manifestations had any mention to the Hidrasoft company.

The GISHELE project is also included, and without any mention of the company of the two professors who carried it out, in the editions of the Unicamp Research Yearbook of 2010 (item 27), 2011 (item 25), 2012 (item 24), 2013 (item 30) and 2014 (item 29).

 

Amendments to the contract

The University Council of Unicamp, the superior administrative body of the university, approved amendments to the contract signed in July 2010 with AES Tietê S/A. On September 27 2011, the University Council retroactively approved the first amendment, signed on January 4 of that year, which added $ 1,645,064 BRL ($ 503,000 USD) to the initial amount of $ 1,538,504 BRL ($ 470,000 USD). On August 6 2013 the University Council also approved retroactively the second amendment, signed a year before (August 9 2012), which added six months to a term of 24 months initially predicted.

The company Hidrasoft Engenharia e Informática is not cited in extracts of these two decisions of the University Council of Unicamp, published in the Official Gazette of the State of São Paulo respectively on August 18 2011 and on August 15 2013.

The final amount approved by Unicamp for GISHELE project contract was $ 3,183,568 BRL ($ 973,000 USD). There is a difference of $ 6,459.34 BRL between this amount and the total of $ 3,177,108.66 BRL, stated in the worksheet “R&D projects proposed by public utility electric companies”, available from the ANEEL website, which is also part of the total fulfilled price of $ 2,459,840.67 BRL ($ 752,000 USD).

 

Other partners

According to information from their own curricula, others participated in the GISHELE project, the professors Mario Thadeu Leme Barros and Renato Carlos Zambon from Polytechnic School of USP, who were also members of Hidrasoft Engenharia e Informática. In these records, both point to participation of another partner, the researcher João Eduardo Gonçalves Lopes, from Unicamp, who, however, does not mention anything about this work in his curriculum.

Professor Tiago Zenker Gireli from Unicamp also records his participation in the GISHELE project, though none of the others refer to this Professor as a participating in this project in their curricula. Mario Thadeu Leme de Barros from USP, also associates in his curriculum the GISHELE project to the CEO of AES Tietê S/A, Ítalo Tadeu de Carvalho Freitas Filho. The mention to the CEO points his co-authorship on two articles presented at conferences, one of them concerning the SolverSIN computer tool, developed under the project, and another more conceptual, as the following transcripts show.

LOPES, João Eduardo G; Barros, M.T.L.; Zambon, R.C.; FREITAS FILHO, I. T. C.. SolverSIN: A Practical Model for Large Hydrothermal System Analysis. In: World Environmental & Water Resources Congress, 2013, Cincinnati. SolverSIN: A Practical Model for Large Hydrothermal System Analysis, 2013.

BARBOSA, Paulo Sergio Franco; FREITAS FILHO Ìtalo Tadeu de Carvalho; FRANCATO, A. L.; LOPES, João Eduardo G; Zambon, R.C.; Barros, M.T.L.. Integrated Risk Management Systems HidroEletroEnergéticos. In: VII Congress of Technological Innovation in Electric Power CITENEL, 2013 Rio de Janeiro. Integrated Risk Management in Hidroqletroenergéticos Systems, 2013.

However, Barbosa and Francato, who were managers of the project at Unicamp, do not mention the GISHELE project in their own curricula, updated respectively on December 6 and September 5, 2015. They also did not clarify the reason for this omission.

 

Without answers

On Monday (Aug. 22) morning, two days before this report was published, all the professors and the researcher cited here were notified by email by Direto da Ciência about all the detailed information above. The same information was submitted on the same day the press offices of Unicamp and AES Tietê S/A. Only Funcamp received the email on Tuesday (Aug. 23).

The professors Paulo Sergio Franco Barbosa and Alberto Luiz Francato did not respond to questions sent by email and by phone messages left with their secretaries. A message was left to Barbosa in his mobile phone. Francato answered the phone call, but said he would not talk with the journalist and the press office at Unicamp would be responsible to answer, which did not occur.

Professor Tiago Zenker Gireli and researcher João Eduardo Gonçalves Lopes, both from Unicamp, did not respond to questions sent by email and did not respond to calls to their phones. Professors Mario Thadeu Leme de Barros and Carlos Renato Zambon did not respond to emails, they were informed through messages left with the secretary of the Department of Hydraulic and Environmental Engineering.

Unicamp did not answer the questions submitted to its press office, including the question of whether the university had knowledge of the payments made by AES Tietê S/A to the company of professors who were managers of the GISHELE project. The request for answers was reinforced by calls to the press office on Monday and Tuesday. The questions submitted to Funcamp were copied to the press office of Unicamp.

AES Tietê S/A and its CEO Ítalo Tadeu de Carvalho Freitas Filho did not answer to questions submitted through messages to its press office, which were reiterated by telephone on Monday and Tuesday. As the public utility company, Unicamp and Funcamp did not answer questions about whether they were aware that the managers of the GISHELE project were partners at Hidrasoft Engenharia e Informática and who approved its inclusion as a member of project in order to facilitate the payments.

In addition to sending requests for answers to questions to the professors and to the researcher at Unicamp, to Funcamp and to AES Tietê S/A, Direto da Ciência also made itself available to evaluate any consideration about these questions and the above information that they have been notified .

Top