About Us

  • The Research and Development Institute (R&DI) is the institution within UNIVAP that is responsible for carrying out all research and development projects and programs in addition to its Graduate education responsibilities. In addition, R&DI provides scientific technical support to both public and private institutions and carries out community service initiatives.

    RDI’s physical infrastructure covers approximately 9,800 square meters, which includes the Biological Testing Lab/Plant and Animal Testing Laboratory and Multiuse Laboratory Complex. Researchers and students use classrooms, labs, a library system, computing facilities, and administrative infrastructure to pursue their research, as well as individual office spaces equipped with work stations and desktop computers linked to internal and external networks. The table below shows the distribution of the physical plant for teaching and coordination staff for undergraduate and graduate courses.

    Director: Lúcia Vieira, Prof. PhD
    Phone: +55 (12) 3947-1120
    E-mail: ipd@univap.br
  • Who we are as an institution : a brief history
  • The idea for a strong research group and graduate program within UNIVAP is not new. (UNIVAP, which stands for Universidade do Vale Paraiba, is maintained by the Paraiba Valley Foundation for Education, or FVE in Portuguese.) In 1978, professors from the former College of Engineering of São José dos Campos (the city) decided to structure the Final Undergraduate Project (FUP) in Electrical Engineering as an Introductory Course in Scientific Research. (In Brazilian universities, undergraduate students must present and defend a final project in their major to graduate and receive their diploma.)

    All the research and development ideas associated with the Graduate courses were applied to the organization of the FUP courses, thereby creating a coherent structure that guided students in their development of projects and prototypes, and even the testing of new systems. This altered the normal tendency of Final Projects in engineering schools, which was to treat FUPs as mere academic experiments requiring a bit more work, or even as an extensions of lab practices carried out during the students’ studies. The new direction established a bolder, more professional environment, encouraging students to propose something new in their field. This was the first step toward a mindset of research and personal growth at the graduate level at UNIVAP.

    In 1986, two additional factors led to the expansion of these ideas, which had thus far been applied only to the FUPs: the better qualification of the teaching staff and the high level of scientific and technical contributions of the Final Undergraduate Projects during the previous decade. Around 1982, when there was discussion about creating a Graduate course aligned with a center for research, the number of professors with “titles”/PhD degrees/Graduate degrees? did not surpass 10%; while, by 1986, there were over 50% of staff with titles/degrees, even though most of these professionals worked only part time.
    This increase in the teaching staff’s qualification was due to a policy begun in the late 70’s, which sought to improve the quality of the university courses until they reached a level conducive to the Research and Development objectives under discussion at the time. It was possible, therefore, to gather a group of professionals from among the top scientific and technical researchers of the region. [São José dos Campos is Brazil’s aerospace hub.] In addition, the high quality of the Final Undergraduate Projects as Introductory Research Projects was fundamental in promoting the concept of Continuing Education. So, about this time, an award system was set up to recognize the best projects, which then were published in national and international journals.

    In September of 1986, the Electrical Engineering Department, which had the greatest number of professors with graduate degrees in the entire University, 80% to be exact, the idea of founding a non-governmental research and development facility in São José dos Campos as part of UNIVAP finally took shape. Moreover, there was greater interaction between the Department and the community at large through community service projects. Graduate and Specialization Programs reenforced the concept of human resource development in the region. So, the first research laboratory was established within the Department of Electrical Engineering of the Paraiba Valley Foundation for Education: the Electronic Optics and Laser Laboratory (LOpE in Portuguese). There was also greater interaction with Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE in Portuguese), a key part of the local aerospace hub, which led to the establishment of the Geo Lab for remote sensing and geoprocessing within the University.

    In August of 1987, the Research and Development Board recommended the creation of the Program for Human Resource Development and the Promotion of Research, that resulted in the president of FVE creating The Nucleus for Human Resource Development and the Promotion of Research, or NURHP in Portuguese.

    The Graduate and Extension activities of the Integrated Colleges of São José dos Campos were placed within the Nucleus, which took over the organization of both the research and development programs and continuing education. As part of R&D, NURHP helped set up the OpE and Geoprocessing labs as well as organize the Fundamentals of Optical Engineering course at the Lato Sensu (undergraduate) level.

    Later, in 1992, the Provost’s Office for Research and Graduate Studies at UNIVAP consolidated NURHP’s foundational work to establish the courses and expanded the degree programs offered to include the Stricto Sensu, or Master’s level.

    At the time, the Optics Lab (LOpE) Group already had several PhDs working full time, not to mention a considerable number of published research papers.

    In 1993, the Provost’s Office for Research and Graduate Studies sent a proposal for the creation of a Master’s program in Laser and Electronic Optics Instrumentation within the Electrical Engineering Department to the Education, Research and Extension Committee/Board (CEPE in Portuguese) in order to further solidify the work underway in both Laboratories and meet the growing need to expand the program to the Graduate level. CEPE approved the proposal and the course was offered experimentally the following year.

    In 1994, the Provost’s Office for Research and Graduate Studies submitted the newly created Master’s course for approval by the Technical Consulting Group of CAPES (the federal government’s scientific grant agency). The Technical Consulting Group reviewed the proposal and made several observations, one of which being that Electronic Optics was already offered by other local institutions. They suggested reorienting UNIVAP’s research focus. Taking this suggestion into consideration, along with a careful analysis of UNIVAP’s human and material resources, the Provost’s Office for Research and Graduate Studies recommended changing the line of research of the OpE lab from Laser and Electronic Optics to Biomedical Engineering and Lasers. This line of research was unavailable in the region and, even at a national level, was underserved by the existing institutions.

    In March of 1995, the UNIVAP Center for Research and Extension Studies (CEPEDEX in Portuguese) was created to develop Research and Development activities within the University. The exchange between the University and entities outside Brazil was strengthened through a visiting professor program, in which researchers from abroad had the chance to visit the installation and appreciate the research carried out there.

    In June of 1996, the University Board of Trustees created a new Institute at UNIVAP, the Research and Development Institute (IP&D in Portuguese). This new institute replaced the former Center for Research, Development and Extension Studies. In 1998, the new university bylaws transformed all the existing Institutes into Colleges, leaving the R&D Institute as the only institution within UNIVAP to carry out R&D activities. Thus, The Research and Development Institute consolidates all research at the University, within three main areas. Today at UNIVAP, there are 22 Research Groups comprised of full time PhD staff.