The Alberto Santos Dumont Association for Research Support (AASDAP) is a private non-profit institution created in April 2004 to manage public and private resources for the implementation of social projects and scientific studies. Recognized and approved by the Brazilian Ministry of Justice, AASDAP obtained certification as a Civil Society Organization of Public Interest (OSCIP), promoting human and social development.
Promote scientific research aimed at the development of technologies and techniques that aid in the treatment of neurological diseases.
Is based on the conception that cutting-edge science can be a powerful agent of social and economic transformation in developing countries such as Brazil.
Our history begins in 2002, with the conception of the project of the International Institute of Neurosciences of Natal (IINN), in Brazil.
Led by Dr. Miguel Nicolelis, the IINN project provided for the establishment of a brain city with centers specializing in scientific research, education, sports, and maternal and child health care, in order to (i) produce cutting-edge science, comparable to that carried out in large centers, (ii) repatriate Brazilian scientists, (iii) provide conditions for the creation of a technological center in the region, (iv) and, above all, provide the local community with care from gestation through literacy up to specialized education in science, thus ensuring long-term community development and sustainability.
The place chosen for the establishment of the IINN was greater Natal, in the Brazilian northeast, a region with low human development indexes (HDI), and located outside the "Rio - São Paulo" axis of investments in Science and Technology (S&T).
In 2003, the IINN project was presented to the rector of the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN), and this university was committed to donate a piece of land in the municipality of Macaíba (29km from Natal) to house the “Brain Campus”. In the absence of a legal structure of the IINN, UFRN also undertook to receive and manage public resources for the construction of the Brain Campus, obtained by Dr. Nicolelis from the Federal Government.
In March 2004, the IINN project was officially launched during the First International Symposium in Neuroscience of Natal, with resources donated by the Duke University Dean and Dr. Alan Rudolph, American scientist, friend of Dr. Nicolelis and partner of the Project until today. This event brought together 40 neuroscientists from all over the world who came to Natal to present the latest scientific findings and to support the IINN.
In April 2004, the legal framework for the IINN was created, named as Alberto Santos Dumont Association for Research Support (AASDAP) in honor of the great Brazilian scientist and with the mission of using science as an agent of social transformation. AASDAP, a private not-for-profit organization certified by the Ministry of Justice as a Public Interest Civil Society Organization (OSCIP), became responsible for the fundraising of public and private resources, establishment of partnerships, and management of scientific-social rights.
In 2005, in view of the delay in the construction of the Brain Campus, AASDAP strategically began the implementation of pilot units so that research, education, and health activities could be started.
The Dream That We Realize Together
In 2020, AASDAP completes 16 years of existence. Throughout its history, it has established and managed eight units in Natal, Macaíba, Serrinha (BA), and São Paulo, and eight scientific and scientific dissemination projects. This is due to the work of Dr. Miguel Nicolelis - voluntary president of AASDAP since its foundation - and Neiva Paraschiva, Dora Montenegro, Anselmo Pecci (in memoriam), Reginaldo Freitas, and many other collaborators who, sharing the dream of a more just and inclusive society, have made a commitment to put into practice the ideas of Dr. Nicolelis.
The establishment of partnerships with Brazilian and international institutions was also important for the implementation and maintenance of our projects. They are: Avina Foundation, Brazilian Ministry of Health, Brazilian Ministry of Science and Technology (current MCTIC), Duke University, École Polytechnique Féderale de Lausanne (EPFL), Edmond J. Safra Philanthropic Foundation, Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN), Financing Agency for Studies and Projects (FINEP), International Neuroscience Network Foundation (INNF), Itaú Unibanco S/A, Municipal Health Fund / Municipality of Macaíba (RN), National Council for Scientific and Technological Development – CNPq, Sabara Children’s Hospital, Secretariat for Science, Technology and Innovation (SECTI) - Government of Bahia, Sírio- Libanês Hospital (HSL), Social Service of Commerce - Rio Grande do Norte Reg. Adm. (SESC-AR / RN), State Funding Agency of Rio Grande do Norte (FAPERN).
The Walk Continues
In order to guarantee the sustainability of its projects, in 2014 AASDAP signed a Scientific Cooperation Agreement with the recently created Institute of Education and Research Alberto Santos Dumont (ISD). From then on, ISD started to manage the units that were under the responsibility of AASDAP, including the Brain Campus, which started activities in 2017.
Currently, AASDAP manages and develops the Walk Again Project, whose results demonstrate the great potential of brain-machine interfaces in the rehabilitation of persons affected by neurological diseases.
The detailed history of AASDAP and its projects is told in the book Made in Macaíba, authored by Miguel Nicolelis.