University Council decides that remote learning will start on 31 August

24/07/2020 18:17

On 21 July, the University Council (CUn) of Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (UFSC) approved the Exceptional Supplementary Calendar, which will be in force at UFSC as the university transitions to remote learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The CUn has decided that there will be a period of five weeks of preparation for the resumption of the academic semester, which is scheduled to restart from 31 August. The semester will last 16 weeks and is expected to end between 14 December-19 December.

The University Council discussed the Draft Resolution regarding the resumption of learning in a session that lasted three days, starting on 17 July and totalling more than 20 hours. All the session videos are available on Youtube.

Exceptional Supplementary Calendar

Following the publication of the Resolution in the University’s Official Gazette, the Student Administration Department (DAE) will prepare the final draft of the Calendar.

The university community will have five weeks to prepare for the resumption of the semester after the Resolution is published. During this period, the Academic Programs and Departments will make their arrangements concerning the course syllabi and the selection of courses to be offered at the undergraduate and graduate levels, as well as the procedures for enrollment cancellation and leave of absence. Other measures to be taken during the period include training for the use of digital learning technologies and the implementation of policies for access to equipment and Internet resources.

The remote semester will last 16 weeks. The dates for the academic break and the beginning of the 2020.2 academic semester are to be confirmed.

 

Translated by SINTER.

Read the full original article here.

UFSC coordinates development of vaccine for the new coronavirus

17/07/2020 18:32

The development of a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine will be coordinated by the researchers André Báfica and Daniel Mansur, both from the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Parasitology at Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (UFSC). The funding for the project is from the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq), which released a call for proposals on ‘Research to confront COVID-19, its consequences, and other severe acute respiratory syndromes’, whose results were announced on 7 July. The project is a partnership between UFSC faculty and researchers from Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (Brazil), University of Cambridge (United Kingdom), as well as from the Instituto Butantan (Brazil) and the Karolinska Institutet (Sweden).

The proposal is to produce a recombinant BCG: to take advantage of the BCG vaccine platform (an old and safe vaccine) for the new coronavirus by expressing proteins that induce an effective immune response against SARS-CoV-2 for a longer period of time. “One of the recent findings in the (medical) literature is that immune responses against this virus also involve T lymphocytes cells, such as CD4 and CD8. With a recombinant BCG, we assume that there will be induction of this type of response. If this is true, when we look into the future, we would have a double vaccine in the same injection, which would act against tuberculosis and against COVID-19, and children would take it when they are still in hospital. Clearly, this is a long way off. We are in the early stages, drawing the targets from a molecular point of view” explained Professor Báfica. “In a conversation with researchers from Australia, I just learned that mixing BCG with purified SARS-Cov-2 proteins increases the immune response against the virus. This preliminary data indicates that we are on the right track.”

The expectation is that the first experiments will be carried out in January 2021. “Initially, we will work on the vaccine vectors. This first part, constructing the recombinant bacteria, takes about six months to be completed. Then we need to test whether this vaccine prototype induces an immune response against the coronavirus. We have some ways to measure it, for example, whether the vaccine induces neutralizing antibodies against the viruses that are circulating in our region”, said the researcher.

In parallel to these investigations, the researchers will look at the basic science in the dynamics of the immune response: what antibodies have been generated and where they bind. “For the virus to enter the human cell, it needs a receptor, a kind of molecular binding. What do we want with a vaccine? That the antibodies block this binding, so it won’t infect the cell. The neutralizing antibodies have high affinity for these virus proteins”, explains Báfica. “The pro of using BCG is that it is a vaccine administered to 500 million people a year around the world. If the first goal of the project works according to plan, the vaccine will express virus proteins in a safe vector and, in our hypothesis, it will induce a more efficient T-cell response than some of the vectors that are circulating around. However, to be really sure of it, we need to test it, this is science”, points out the Professor.

The funding approved by CNPq will provide for technological development grants to support the research groups. The Santa Catarina State Foundation for the Support of Research and Innovation (FAPESC) will open a Call for Applications to award graduate scholarships and postdoctoral grants to those receiving the CNPq funding in the state. “The funding will establish a platform to develop these vaccines here at UFSC, and it will involve advanced training in molecular biology, immunology, virology and microbiology for the people who will be selected”, explains the researcher.

The funds allocated by CNPq will not guarantee a complete biosafety level III (BSL-3) laboratory – the lack of laboratories and funding obstructed research on the new coronavirus. From R$ 2 million, the amount has been reduced to R$ 1.7 million, and it still needs to be shared with partner institutions. “The experiments with the vaccine require a BSL-3 laboratory. We won’t have a complete BSL-3 laboratory, but a good part of it. We have yet to attract resources to purchase one last equipment, and we are doing this by applying for funds from other agencies”, said Báfica, who recently visited the new building of the School of Biological Sciences (CCB). A company specialized in BSL-3 laboratories, approved by the Ministry of Health, has already analyzed the space destined for the facility in the building. The new laboratory would also enable UFSC to advance in other science aspects. “It will be a facility built with public money and it can contribute with other biomedical research projects, as well as provide a faster response for our society”, concluded the researcher.

By Caetano Machado ‒ Agecom/UFSC | Translated by SINTER/UFSC

Read the original article here.

 

UFSC is ranked 9th best university in Latin America

10/07/2020 18:31

The Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (UFSC) moved from the 12th to the 9th position in the Latin America University Rankings 2020, published by Times Higher Education (THE). Among the top 10 universities in Latin America, UFSC was ranked the 3rd best Brazilian federal university, behind the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG) and the Universidade Federal de São Paulo (Unifesp), both tied at the 5th position.

In this year’s edition of the ranking, Brazil has seven out of the top 10 universities in Latin America. In 2019, it had six. Among the Brazilian institutions, UFSC is the only one from the South region.

“Since the beginning of our administration, our work has always been focused on improving the quality of UFSC. And this is being done in an environment of budget restrictions and reductions and attacks on public universities. I have never had doubts about the capacity of our faculty, the dedication of our staff and the competence of UFSC in research, teaching and outreach. We are all very proud of this growth”, said the Rector Ubaldo Cesar Balthazar.

The top 10 Universities in Latin America

1 – Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Chile
2 – Universidade de São Paulo (USP), Brazil
3 – Universidade Estadual de Campinas (Unicamp), Brazil
4 – Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, Mexico
5 – Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG), Brazil *
5 – Universidade Federal de São Paulo (Unifesp), Brazil *
7 – Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio), Brazil
8 – Universidad de Chile, Chile
9 – Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (UFSC), Brazil
10 – Universidade Estadual Paulista (Unesp), Brazil
*Both universities are ranked 5th.

Times Higher Education uses 13 performance indicators to evaluate the universities, including teaching (learning environment), internationalization, innovation, research volume and citations (research influence). The methodology is the same used in the THE World University Rankings, but the weightings have been recalibrated to reflect the characteristics of Latin America’s universities.

Further information:
Latin America University Rankings 2020
UFSC performance in the Times Higher Education Rankings

Translated by SINTER

Read the original article here.

Official Announcement: UFSC will not resume on-campus learning in 2020

30/06/2020 13:11

The Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (UFSC), aware of Ordinance no. 447/2020 enacted by the State Health Department (SES), announces that on-campus learning will not be resumed in 2020, while there are still no adequate sanitary and epidemiological conditions that can guarantee the safety of the university community.

Bearing in mind the university autonomy, guaranteed by the Constitution, as well the Ordinance no. 544/2020 enacted by the Ministry of Education, and based on current studies carried out by its scientific community, UFSC will be favoring remote learning, which will be regulated according to the University Council’s decision scheduled for 17 July.

Any resumption will be done gradually, cautiously and respectfully. The university will not resume in-classroom learning before an effective vaccine or medication is available to everyone. We are more than 40 million people at UFSC, a population that would certainly have a major impact on public health systems if on-campus classes were resumed without the proper epidemiological indications. Therefore, there is no expected date for on-campus return.

UFSC Central Administration

Read the original announcement here

UFSC is ranked 15th among Brazilian Universities in Sustainable Development Ranking

25/06/2020 20:11

The Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (UFSC) was ranked 15th overall among the 30 Brazilian Universities which participated in the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2020. The Impact Rankings assess universities against the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations 2030 Agenda. This was the first time that UFSC participated in the ranking, and it was ranked 301-400th worldwide.

The Times Higher Education Impact Rankings uses carefully calibrated indicators to provide comparisons across three broad areas: research, outreach and stewardship. In 2020, the list includes 768 universities from 85 countries. In the Overall Ranking, the University of Auckland, in New Zealand, had the best performance, followed by the University of Sydney and the Western Sydney University, both in Australia. Among the Brazilian universities, the Universidade de São Paulo (USP) had the best performance.

Score

A university’s final score in the overall ranking is calculated by combining its score in SDG 17 with the score in three other SDGs selected by the institution. The SDG 17 ‒ Partnerships for the Goals looks at the broader ways in which universities support the SDGs through collaboration with other countries, the promotion of best practices and the publication of data. It accounts for 22% of the overall score, while the other SDGs carry a weight of 26% each. This means that different universities are scored based on a different set of SDGs.

Among Brazilian Universities, regarding performance against SDG 17, UFSC was ranked 17th. In the SDG 3 ‒ Good Health and Well-Being, it was ranked 10th; in the SDG 4 ‒ Quality Education, it got the 7th place; and in the SDG 12 ‒ Responsible Consumption and Production, it had the 5th best performance in the country.

See the complete ranking results here.

For further information about UFSC’s participation, access the UFSC Sustentável website.

UFSC keeps activities suspended and sets deadline for decision on the academic calendar

02/06/2020 14:27

Last Friday, 29 May, the Central Administration of the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (UFSC) has announced that the university’s in-person academic and administrative activities will remain suspended. According to the Normative Ordinance no. 364/2020/GR, the suspension is now for an indefinite period, but a deadline of 30 days has been set for the university to decide on the continuity of the 2020-1 semester and on the rearrangement of the academic activities.

“Our intention is to act in accordance with the state and federal decrees, which is why the extension is for an indefinite period”, explains the Rector Ubaldo Cesar Balthazar. “However, we have urgency in making decisions about the academic calendar, as our community waits for answers, so we have set a 30-day deadline for the University Council to reach an agreement, and I hope that these decisions will come out before that deadline.”

Until 30 June, the university will complete diagnostics, collect data and produce indicators that shall demonstrate full conditions for the implementation of alternatives to the regular teaching activities, at all levels and of all types, on all UFSC campuses, based on the work of committees and subcommittees, and will produce a regulation to be evaluated by the relevant bodies and approved by the University Council.

According to the Ordinance no. 364/2020, teaching activities at all levels and of all types are suspended indefinitely, except for those which were already carried out remotely (full-time distance learning courses). Any other in-person academic activities, such as defenses, recruitment examinations and meetings, as well as the in-person technical and administrative activities, except for health, security and other urgent and essential services, remain suspended on all UFSC campuses.

UFSC Institutional Repository is among the 15 most viewed in the world, according to international ranking

22/05/2020 19:43

The UFSC Institutional Repository (RI/UFSC) is among the fifteen most viewed repositories of its kind in the world and the third in Brazil, according to the latest edition of the Ranking WEB of Repositories (April/2020). In 2019, the Repository had more than 6 million views.

Currently, RI/UFSC contains more than 120 thousand documents, including 38 thousand theses and dissertations and more than 26 thousand academic papers, in addition to other documents.

To access UFSC’s scientific production, visit our Repository.

Actions taken by UFSC to fight COVID-19

19/05/2020 19:40

The Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (UFSC) has been taking an active role in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

To keep you updated on what we are doing, we have gathered information about our latest projects, actions and campaigns targeted at fighting COVID-19, assisting healthcare workers and minimizing the pandemic’s impacts on the local community and the greater society.

Read more here.

UFSC project will plant and donate agroecological food to vulnerable families

08/05/2020 16:42
Ressacada Farm

UFSC Ressacada Experimental Farm. Photo: Councilman “Marquito” and Edaciano Leandro Losch.

During and after the new coronavirus pandemic, social inequality in Brazil tends to increase dramatically. At this juncture, it is essential to look for alternatives and ways of producing and providing healthy and quality food, especially to the most vulnerable social groups.

The outreach project titled “Production of agroecological food for socially vulnerable families in Florianópolis, Santa Catarina: food security in times of COVID-19 pandemic” was born from an unprecedented partnership between the Agroecology Research and Outreach Center of the Ressacada Experimental Farm (FER)  at Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (UFSC), the Florianópolis City Council – through the office of the councilman Marcos José de Abreu (“Marquito”) – and the civil society organizations Marmitas Veganas [Vegan Lunch Boxes], Campeche Solidário (Solidary Campeche), International Society of Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON  South Brazil), Compassos Institute, Community Garden of Campeche Cultural Park (Pacuca), C0vid-19 Floripa and Grupo Comida e Vida Alegre [Happy Life and Food Group]. The meals and food baskets prepared in the project will benefit poor residents of Florianópolis and the surrounding area, as well as UFSC students and employees.

The initiative aims to strengthen existing solidarity campaigns focused on food collection. Faculty, students and staff from UFSC and external volunteers are participating in the project, which is coordinated by Patrizia Ana Bricarello, a professor in the Department of Animal Sciences and Rural Development (ZOT) at the School of Agricultural Sciences (CCA).

Methodology

The project aims to go beyond the collection and distribution of food: it aims to help building the agri-food autonomy of the segments involved. The planting of vegetables will take place in the Agroecology Research and Extension Center at the Ressacada Farm, from April to December 2020. Seedbeds of 20×1.2m each will be prepared in an initial area of 600m² (in Tapera neighborhood, Florianópolis), which can be expanded to double the size depending on the demand for food and the availability of labor.

The beds will firstly receive a fraction of limestone and will be fertilized with poultry litter and cattle and sheep manure. Afterwards, the seedlings will be planted according to the Biodynamic Calendar that governs the favorable and unfavorable days for planting flowers, fruits, leaves and seeds, as well as for pruning, grafting and harvesting.

The seedlings will be made available through the support network and solidarity campaigns that are part of the project, with the mediation of the councilman Marcos José de Abreu and his assistants, as well as with the help of volunteers who will assist in the operational tasks and in taking care of the plants.

During the autumn/winter period, vegetable species will be planted: broccoli, cauliflower, kale, beet, carrot, and herbs. Whereas in the spring/summer, annual crops such as sweet potatoes, cassava, corn, yams, leafy vegetables, among others, will be planted.

The crops will be planted with spacing according to literature recommendations, in an intercropping and alternation scheme, so that every week there is a species to be harvested. During crop development,  biodynamic preparations and homeopathic and herbal medicines will be applied for the control of insects and pathogens. Chemical fertilizers and pesticides will not be used.

Donation

The food produced will be directed to solidarity campaigns. Some items will be delivered fresh and others will be processed in community kitchens to be delivered in the form of lunch boxes and meals to the target audience.

Translated by SINTER.

Read the original article here.

 

Coronavirus: UFSC extends suspension of in-person activities until 31 May

30/04/2020 12:38

The Central Administration of the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (UFSC) has extended the suspension of the university’s in-person academic and administrative activities until 31 May, according to the Normative Ordinance no. 359 published this Wednesday, 29 April.

The teaching activities, at all levels and of all types, remain suspended on all UFSC campuses. The Ordinance also extends the suspension of other on-campus academic activities such as defenses, recruitment examinations and meetings.

In-person technical and administrative activities, in all UFSC units, remain suspended as well, except for health, security and other urgent and essential services.

The document stresses, however, that these measures may be changed upon occurrence of new events.

Read the Normative Ordinance no. 359/2020/GR, click here.

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