Roundtable: The future of Automotive - Challenges and Opportunities in Design and Technology


Roundtable: The future of Automotive - Challenges and Opportunities in Design and Technology
Mon, 15. May 2017
Coimbra - Coimbra,


Date: May 15, 2017.

Location: Coimbra (Portugal)

The automotive industry is nowadays one of the most exciting industries to work on – grand societal challenges claim for groundbreaking solutions, emerging technologies spur the development of disruptive products, services and business models, and new industrial players are leading to an increase in the pace of innovation.

All stakeholders must innovate constantly. In fact, the auto industry is of the largest industrial R&D investors in the world. Typically, the annual investment in R&D surpasses 30 billion in Europe only.

The automotive industry is also one of the most important industries in Portugal, being a top contributor for value creation and generation of jobs. It represents around 8% of the country’s GDP, 11% of the country exports and more than 30.000 direct jobs.

The first major steps were given in the 60s and since then the country has acquired and built important competences across the automotive value chain, from molding and components to car manufacturing.

The MIT-Portugal Program has been deeply concerned with these matters as well. Several PhD thesis have addressed challenges in this industry and many collaborations in R&D projects have resulted in important outcomes for the industrial players.

This round table will bring together a group of industry leaders, entrepreneurs, expert researchers and graduate students to look ahead to the next 5-10 years and discuss major challenges and opportunities. 

The main goals of the round table are to identify common objectives, new technologies and innovative ideas that are of particular interest for the participating stakeholders, bridge the views between academia and industry, promote networking and facilitate eventual collaborations.

This roundtable will be a day-long event and will be organized around approximately six main 20-minute talks, which are expected to provide the motto for six 40-minute discussion sessions, during which the audience is invited to present their own ideas, challenge the speakers’ views and propose ways forward, in particular for the growth of the technological field in discussion. A final 1-hour “wrap-up” discussion leading to take-home messages and recommendations may also take place. The event will be followed by an informal networking cocktail or similar.

Subsequent monitoring of roundtable outcomes will be carried out through direct contact with the participants, in order to assess how many (and what type of) new business or technological collaborations may have stemmed from the event.