The center will be hosted by the Federal University of Ceará and will focus on the use of the Internet of Things, big data, digital transformation and cutting-edge technology in prevention, diagnosis and low-cost therapies (photo: Hapvida NotreDame Intermédica)

FAPESP launches artificial intelligence research center in partnership with health plan operator Hapvida

28 de março de 2023

By Elton Alisson  |  FAPESP Innovative R&D – On March 20, FAPESP and Hapvida NotreDame Intermédica, one of the largest health plan operators in Brazil, launched the Reference Center on Artificial Intelligence (CEREIA) at the Federal University of Ceará (UFC) in Fortaleza.

The center’s mission is to leverage artificial intelligence (AI) to solve health problems and train professionals to work in this field. Its research projects will focus on ways to use the Internet of Things (IoT), big data, digital transformation and cutting-edge technologies in prevention, diagnosis and low-cost therapies.

“All aspects of our lives today are affected by AI, as evidenced by the widespread interest in ChatGPT. The new center will advance discussion of the effects of AI on education, research and extension, and break new ground at the knowledge frontier,” UFC Rector Cândido Albuquerque stated in a press release.

The principal investigator will be Professor José Andrade Júnior (UFC). Besides UFC, the center will partner with the Federal University of Piauí (UFPI), the University of Fortaleza (UNIFOR) and the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio).

There will be six priority research lines: predicting chronic diseases, supporting evaluation of radiological exams, engaging patients in health promotion and chronic disease prevention programs, smart systems for remote patient monitoring, AI-assisted medical history-taking, and high-quality interfaces for data science in health.

The center will occupy an area of 380 square meters on the fifth floor of UFC’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Building. Its activities will also include training in AI, knowledge diffusion and technology transfer. “Healthcare is already supported by advances in AI, and this support will develop even more strongly in the coming years, largely thanks to the massive amount of data continuously collected by the health sector,” said Kleber Linhares, Hapvida NotreDame Intermédica’s Vice President for Technology and Innovation.

Other new centers of AI-based research

CEREIA is one of six new Applied Research Centers (ARCs) in AI selected by FAPESP in partnership with the Brazilian Ministry for Science, Technology and Innovation (MCTI) and the Brazilian Internet Steering Committee ( under a call for proposals issued in 2020 (read more at:

The six new centers will conduct applied research on the science, technology and innovation of AI-assisted solutions to problems in health, agriculture, industry and smart cities.

FAPESP, MCTI and will invest BRL 1 million annually in each of the centers for up to ten years. Partner companies will invest matching amounts, bringing the total to BRL 20 million per center.

The centers follow the model adopted by FAPESP for its program of Engineering Research Centers and Applied Research Centers (ERCs/ARCs).