Unpicking the fabric of Brazil's industrial development

A global player in the making?

Brazil is commonly viewed as lagging behind other developing economies such as India and China – but is this changing? Cambridge Manufacturing Engineering students have a long tradition of visiting areas of great importance to global manufacturing, presenting honest and challenging findings about current manufacturing trends. This year the focus of the investigation will be Brazil and its future within global industry.


Project objectives

Industrial development is a complex, interwoven fabric of different economic, technological and sociopolitical threads. Nowhere is this fabric more colourful and varied than in Brazil. This is a country with one of the largest economic divides in the world, where globalised, highly technical industry can sit alongside the most basic manufacturing.


Sociopolitical influences are never far from industrial advancement and this has been increasingly true in the development of Brazil’s industry. Within the UK, Brazil is commonly viewed as a manufacturing workhorse. However, by studying the factors which have determined Brazil’s industrial development, we will investigate whether this is really the case, or if Brazil is on the path to becoming a key global player.



The tour will concentrate on three areas strongly linked to government policy:


Foreign investment

For many years foreign firms have been active within Brazil, either to access its huge potential market or benefit from its abundant resources and manpower. We will find out if foreign interest in Brazil is changing and whether, as industry develops, the country has something more to offer.



Brazil has often been portrayed as a country where foreign firms go to expand. In this area of our research we will investigate what type of companies are developing within Brazil and what this may lead to in the future.



Energy is key to a nation’s industrial development strategy and, increasingly, its global political presence. With a policy to reduce oil dependence through biofuels and use of renewable sources of electricity, Brazil seems to be establishing a strong position. We will look at how the country is meeting its energy requirements and how this could affect its industrial development.



Following several months of Cambridge-based research, the team of manufacturing engineering students and staff will make a two-week visit to Brazil between 29 June and 13 July, visiting a selection of multinational and Brazilian companies and research centres.


Report and presentation

The detailed findings of the project will be communicated in two ways:

  • A comprehensive written report
  • A presentation of the findings at the Institute for Manufacturing

Download brochure.

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