FGV initiative encourages research by outstanding young female mathematicians

EMAp project aims to promote greater gender equality in the academic area and has already included a scientist

In honor of International Women's Day, celebrated this Friday (8), the Fundação Getulio Vargas School of Applied Mathematics (FGV EMAp) presents an initiative that offers Postdoctoral scholarships in the areas of Applied Mathematics, Statistics or Science Data. The institution's project is named Chair Marília Chaves Peixoto, precisely with the purpose of increasing the representation of female scientists.

Débora de Oliveira Medeiros ganhou bolsa de Pós-Doutorado em Matemática Aplicada na FGV EMAp - Foto: Divulgação

Débora de Oliveira Medeiros won a postdoctoral scholarship in Applied Mathematics at FGV EMAp


FGV EMAp sees the sudden growth of its department and aspires to reach the top of the ranking of the most reference universities in the area. At the same time, it seeks to boost the number of young women at the highest qualification levels in Mathematics and Computer Science.

In this context, the Marília Chaves Peixoto Chair is part of a policy that opens up a new position for young researchers. The position holder receives a grant of R$12,000.00 in a contract initially lasting two years, with the possibility of renewal for another year.

EMAp's priority is directed to candidates whose research interests intersect with the agenda of other members of the department. The researcher is expected to develop collaborative lines within FGV, supporting continued expansion in the areas mentioned above.

The first contemplated

At the beginning of 2024, Débora de Oliveira Medeiros, from São José do Rio Preto, was awarded the first grant from the FGV EMAp project. She graduated with a degree in Mathematics from UNESP in 2014, with a sandwich period at the University of Coimbra, in Portugal.

In 2017, he completed his Master's degree in Applied and Computational Mathematics also at UNESP and, later, his PhD in Computer Science and Computational Mathematics at the Institute of Mathematical and Computational Sciences (ICMC) at USP, in São Carlos.

At the end of her Post-Doctorate in São Carlos, under the guidance of Professor José Alberto Cuminato, Débora received a call from the FGV EMAp project. He chose to complete the cycle at USP, but the proposal in Rio de Janeiro was reinforced by one of his professors still in the interior of São Paulo.

“I was doing my Post-Doctorate at ICMC, but at the same time I was looking for other opportunities, from competitions to other Post-Doctoral opportunities. Then, Professor Cassio Oishi, who was my Master's advisor, sent me the link with the FGV call. He spoke highly of Professor Maria Soledad (Aronna), who headed the project. I had already heard about Professor Marília Peixoto and, when I saw the scholarship proposal for young researchers, I recognized an opportunity there”, says Débora.

FGV EMAp became reality

FGV’s tribute to the pioneer of women in the field of Science in Brazil ‘shook’ Débora. But there was one more detail to worry about: leaving the interior of São Paulo and heading to Rio de Janeiro, one of the largest metropolises in Latin America.

Débora entrou para o Pós-Doutorado da FGV EMAp em janeiro; período pode ser estendido até 2026 - Foto: Ronnie Stein

Débora joined the FGV EMAp Post-Doctorate in January; period can be extended until 2026


“It was a very interesting proposal, as it always followed projects related to encouraging women in research. But I confess that I was reluctant to change cities, to come to Rio de Janeiro, a much larger city. Then, Professor Cássio sent me another email encouraging me to register. So, I looked fondly and read more about Professor Marília, who also left the countryside in search of her dream. I thought: ‘Why not?’”, reveals Débora, who was inspired by Marília’s work in the area of ​​Differential Equations.

Representation for young researchers in Brazil

Nowadays, Débora prioritizes her line of research in the areas of Numerical Analysis, Control and Optimization and Epidemiology, highlighting the interdisciplinarity of Applied Mathematics with related areas. The fact that she is the first scientist to be included in the FGV project gives her the exact dimension of responsibility for young students starting out in academia.

“It hasn’t sunk in yet that I’m at FGV EMAp. I am really happy. I want to delve even deeper into the lines of epidemiological modeling and optimization and contribute to the University, which is investing in me. And this initiative is very important, as we, women, know that there is still a long way to go for gender equality in the market and in academia, especially in the area of ​​Science. So, I am fully aware that being in this position can encourage thousands of girls who start out and have the dream of becoming researchers”, explains Débora.

Who was Marília Chaves Peixoto?

The researcher after whom the FGV EMAp Chair is named was an influential mathematician and engineer in the area of ​​Dynamic Systems. Marília was the first Brazilian to receive a PhD in the field of Mathematics.

His work on convex functions had international repercussion and, in 1951, he joined the Brazilian Academy of Sciences (ABC). Marília's contributions did not stop there, as she became the first Brazilian woman to be an effective member of the ABC, until then composed only of male scientists.


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