Brazil is a continent-sized country with wide regional variations. The vast Amazon forest is the “water engine” for rainfall in much of Brazil. Major derivative research questions are thus: the effect of climate change and deforestation on the hydrology of Brazil; how these hydrologic changes pose risks for agriculture, and water for cities and people.

There are also a plethora of research questions, in both the areas affected by the Amazon and in the arid Northeast. What tools – biological, institutional, banking and infrastructure – can be developed and deployed to reduce the risks? A number of Harvard faculty – in biology, earth and planetary sciences, engineering, business and public health -- have long-standing related research projects in Brazil, while Harvard’s David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies has an office in Sao Paulo. 

Brazil has great professional capacity in hydrology, agriculture, meteorology, energy, economics and health sciences. Initial discussions in April 2009 in Brazil and May 2009 in Cambridge show that is a high degree of interest among Brazilian political, professional and research leaders to develop a partnership with Harvard. A group of Harvard faculty will go to Brazil in January 2010 to identify specific areas for research collaboration.