The is a very nice article in Nature discussing, why the state of SP is so good in science. Indeed, the state alone is responsible for more than 50% of Brazilian science production and the leading place in South America.
That this is of great importance for the country and the society is shown on the example of the Zika virus. As we have an excellent existing infra-structure, the scientist here were one of the leading groups figuring out, what was going on and how to fight it!
The foundation for this is laid by the excellent founding conditions – mainly FAPESP – and with this allows to run two of the best universities of South America (Unicamp and USP), which provide highly qualified people for industry, governmental research institutes like the CNPEM and independent research institutes in the private sector.
We should always remember that all solutions for our society problems are based on a good and rigorous understanding enabled by organized and well founded academic research – independent if done in academic institutions or outside in the private sector.