The National Council of Scientific and Technological Development, created in 1951 and headquartered in Brasilia, formulates and coordinates Brazil's scientific and technological policies. The Brazilian Academy of Sciences was founded in 1916 is headquartered in Rio de Janeiro. In 1996, there were 25 specialized learned societies and 52 research institutes covering virtually every area of scientific and technological endeavor. Among the most important scientific institutions are the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation for biological research in Rio de Janeiro and the Butantan Institute in São Paulo, which produces serums for the bites of venomous snakes, a field in which Brazil leads the world. Government expenditures on research and development in 1994 amounted to 1.2 billion reals. In 1987–97, Brazil had 168 scientists and engineers and 59 technicians per million people engaged in research and development.
Brazil entered the space age in 1973, with the launching of the SONDA II rocket as part of a program to determine electron density in the low ionosphere, a question of practical importance for aircraft navigation. Under the government's Amazon development program, Humboldt City, a scientific and technological center, has been established in Mato Grosso. Atomic research is conducted at the Energetics and Nuclear Research Institute of São Paulo; other research reactors are located at Belo Horizonte and Rio de Janeiro. The Nuclear Energy Center for Agriculture was established in 1966. A total of US $550 million was allocated to the nuclear energy program under the 1975–79 development plan, but the program languished in the 1980s.
In 1996, Brazil had approximately 100 universities and colleges offering courses in basic and applied science. In 1987–97, science and engineering students accounted for 27% of college and university enrollments.