Marilia Coutinho

Warm welcome to IGDORE, Marilia Coutinho!

Marilia has a BS with a major in Biology and the equivalent of a minor in chemistry. She has an M.S. in chemical ecology and a Ph.D. in sociology of science, all from the University of São Paulo. Marilia was principal investigator in several science and technology policy projects in Brazil after she returned from her postdoc at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. She was also visiting professor at the University of Florida, on Latin American Studies, at the University of Brasilia, and others. Since 2005 Marilia has used her multi-disciplinary background and experience to promote science education and communication as well as interdisciplinary research. She looks forward to contributing to the Open Science community and approach.

For the full list of IGDORE’s affiliated researchers and researchers in training, click here .

See the full list of their publications here .


Welcome @marilia :wave:

Are you still based in São Paulo? I’m glad to see a few Brazilian researchers are joining IGDORE, maybe after the pandemic, we could combine for a micro-open science workshop (I’m in Southern MG, I think there are few other people around SP).


Hi Gavin, No, I am living in Oklahoma City for a couple of years already. But I’m still pretty much a Brazilian researcher even if I’m not physically there. How about we plan for some virtual workshop about open science and independent scholars in Brazil? I’ve been promoting the idea among tenured friends there who feel devastated about the bleak future their graduate students are facing. What do you think?

Hi Marilia, sure this could be interesting. I’m actually surprised there is already interest among mainstream academics in Brazil about independent scholarship as Brazilian academia has seemed (from my admittedly limited interactions) to be quite conservative. But I guess desperate times call for desperate measures. How many people do you know who might be interested? I think there are three other Brazilian IGDORE members (although two are living in the US).

I recently participated in an Unconference hosted by Ronin that was based on small group discussion using Remo, and I thought it worked quite well.

PS. Welcome to the forum :wave:


Thank you! (for the welcome)

Yes, it is conservative. I’m not sure if more than others. I’m 57 yrs old and bought the interdisciplinarity discourse with naive enthusiasm in my early 20s. It turned out to be mostly lip service. I ended up with as interdisciplinary a curriculum as it gets, had great networking and soft money but departments favored linear careers.

Two universities were interested in me after I came back from my postdoc and a visiting fellowship here (US), I was PI on a technology transfer project funded by everybody (from CNPq to FAPESP, plus international agencies) and in the end, it was all destroyed.

The saddest part was Amazonia. Part of the project was about biopiracy in Amazonia and supporting local communities to protect their traditional knowledge.

Nothing worked. That’s when I left. And now I’m back through the door that I waited 15 years to be opened for me.

About their current openness to independent scholarship and true interdisciplinarity, it’s exactly what you said: Brazil has a huge graduate education system, one of the measures to promote scientific and technological catching up from the days of the dictatorship (and that didn’t work as well). All graduate students have either CNPq, CAPES or their local FAPs scholarships.

The fascist government is cancelling them. They have also frozen faculty promotion.

The scenario is even more catastrophic than it would be, anyway, due to the pandemic: there is an orchestrated attack on science, especially science projects involving co-production with traditional communities. Genocide is the name of the game for them.

Most graduate students will probably have to interrupt their programs, which is something that has a limited time: either you come back in X months or you lose your spot.

Those who manage to finish their Ph.D.s won’t have a job.

I think I should be more proactive in spreading the word about Ronin and IGDORE… Can you connect the other Brazilians with me? I wonder if we couldn’t put together a project that generates enough data for us to document our findings in publications and create a blueprint for academic survival for countries where science is no longer welcome.

I didn’t think about this before. Your question triggered this train of thought so it’s still pretty chaotic. Let me know what you think.


I’m also an interdisciplinary scientist and agree that, while it gets a lot of lip-service and superficial encouragement, there aren’t many opportunities for career advancement as a truly interdisciplinary researcher, either in Brazil and abroad.

The destruction of the Amazon and traditional communities is truly sad. I don’t know much about this personally, but I recall friends from Australia asking if the ‘Amazon fires’ were under control last year… Well, in Australia we generally expect wild-fires to be controlled but I’ve seen a lot of wild-fires burning during winter in rural MG and have never seen any firefighter attending them - so I doubted there was much attempt to control the ones in the Amazon, particularly if they were deliberately lit…

With regards to graduate students, I’ve heard a lot are still working through the pandemic. I think many got extensions on their positions but not on their fellowships, so they still want to finish on time. Certainly not an ideal set of incentives from a public health perspective.

As you might notice I’m not Brazilian (I’m Australian) and I haven’t actually worked in a Brazilian University (besides doing fieldwork at some USP sites a few years ago). However, my partner is Brazilian and does have quite a few connections in USP and among Brazilian biologists. She might be able to connect us to a few interested academics and, as her visiting professorship is currently finishing, she is also becoming interested in alternative academic approaches herself!

I’m not exactly sure what data needs to be gathered to make a blueprint for survival though. Are you talking about documenting grant outcomes, or opportunities for alternate academic income? In the latter case, I may be able to help - I’ve been doing scientific consulting for European Universities since moving to Brazil, and I think it could be a good option for Brazilians who are able to do desk-based work remotely. The bureaucracy of starting a limited-company to export services is tedious but manageable.

It seems like this paper/discussion could be relevant:

@surya may also be interested in the final point here?

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I’m not sure either (about how and what a blueprint for survival would be). Maybe a first step would be my other topic, where I tagged you, to map the situation.

As for the “opportunities for alternate academic income”, I’m actually interested as well :slight_smile:

I just need another 5 days to finish my book’s manuscript (suicide and sports) and then I’ll be more clear headed and effectively participant. Right now, I’m mostly “being here”, looking around and getting ready to be more useful.

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Very evocative and provocative train of thoughts, @marilia and @Gavin. Would answer in more details later. :slight_smile:

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Gavin, I hope you can help me:

  1. I haven’t figured out how to send messages here. In the messages folder, I can only reply to messages. There is no icon to create one.
  2. I sent you, Enrico and Jon from Ronin several emails. I am sure none of you received them. I tried to send with my gmail account but to YOUR institutional accounts: no luck.
  3. I tested my institutional emails sending emails to people with gmail or other non-institutional emails: they all got and replied.
  4. The matter I need to decide with you guys is now urgent (the book issue).

This started about 3 weeks ago. I was never able to communicate with any of you again. We could start by managing to use messages here, which I can’t seem to find. In any of my machines…


Hi @marilia

Sorry to hear you are having problems with contacting us. Let’s start with messaging here (1): If I click on your name I get a message icon in the pop-up, will start a private message thread, not a public reply.

Screen Shot 2020-08-20 at 10.44.39 am

If I go to my profile there is a messages tab, which has a New Message button - clicking that will bring up a message editor pop-up.

Does either of these private messaging options work for you in the forum? If not, could you reply with some screenshots of what you see and we’ll see if we can fix the problem. I also just sent you a test PM, so you might find options to send new messages if you go to where you received it.

(2).I got your last email about your book and replied to it yesterday (from my email). I will resend this with my gmail address today. I’ll reply more via email about solving the email issues.

That explains a lot: until yesterday night, the blue message button didn’t exist for me… Now I see it:

I clicked on several profiles to check, same thing.

This button here didn’t exist yesterday, at 8PM…

Some older forum platforms didn’t let a new member use the message function until they had participated an X number of public replies. Maybe this platform is configured the same way?

This is weird…


This is strange, and unfortunate that it came up in parallel to the email issues as they should be quite independent. I’m glad it’s resolved for you now :slight_smile:

There are limits on how many links new users can post to prevent spamming, but I was not aware of a limit on messaging. @dbernt - do you know what might have caused this?

It’s also a spam prevention measure. Currently, new users can’t send PMs until they have spent a few minutes reading the forum. We could shut it off and only re-enable it if spam bots become a problem?


I think IGDORE affiliates shouldn’t really have any of the spam-prevention measures applied, the only problem is that they join the forum independently aren’t tagged as affiliates here. I’m not sure if either the link limiting or message blocking has prevented much spam, but they have both caused a few problems and the later has obviously led to frustration in this case.

@dbernt, I suggest we remove the messaging limit for now and see how it goes.