MIT President Hockfield Receives First Jointly Awarded Honorary Degree in Portugal

Sunday, 06 December 2009

When MIT President Susan Hockfield visited Portugal November 24-26, 2009 on behalf of MIT, the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI) and the MIT Portugal Program, she was eager to see that country for the first time. Fittingly, during her visit she was awarded a first-of-its-kind honorary degree for Portugal – a doctorate honoris causa jointly presented by three leading universities: the University of Porto, the Technical University of Lisbon (IST-UTL), and the New University of Lisbon (UNL).

Following the award ceremony, President Hockfield visited Prime Minister José Sócrates at his residence in Lisbon, together with Portugal's Minister for Science, Technology and Higher Education, Mariano Gago, and the country's Secretary of State for Science, Technology and Higher Education, Manuel Heitor.

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Critical Challenge Information Sessions in Portugal Through Jan. 12, 2010

Sunday, 06 December 2009

The MIT Portugal Program and Critical Move, S.A. have launched the “Critical Challenge” – a two-and-a-half-year competition for the design and construction of an autonomous electric vehicle for use in cities.

The winning team may receive a prize in excess of 40.000€, in addition to media exposure and a chance to network with other teams and companies. Teams that wish to participate will be able to apply in early 2010. Prior to that time, the main teaching institutions in Portugal that are involved in the competition will offer information sessions.

Each talk is open to the scientific community (students, teachers and investigators), as well as those who are interested such fields as robotics, mechanics, and design. The six sessions are as follows: 

December 4th (14h00)
Universidade de Coimbra – FCTUC (Polo II, block C, 4th floor, room 3)

Speaker: António Cunha
Also present: Prof. Jorge Dias, chair of IEEE’s Robotics and Automation Portugal Chapter (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers)

December 9th (14h00)
Instituto Superior Técnico – Universidade Técnica de Lisboa (Pav. Mecânica II, room 0.08)

Speaker: António Cunha
Also present: Prof. Pedro Lima – ISR/IST and Chair of SPR (Sociedade Portuguesa de Robótica); Prof. Carlos Cardeira - IDMEC/IST; and SPR Prof. Luís Sousa - DEM/IST

December 11th (14h00)

Universidade do Minho
Speaker: António Cunha
Also present: Profs. Estela Bicho and Prof. Fernando Ribeiro, U. Minho and SPR

December 14th (14h00)

Universidade do Porto/FEUP
Speaker: António Cunha
Also present: 
Eng. António Saraiva – COTEC Portugal; Prof. A. Paulo Moreira – INESC/FEUP and SPR

January 7th (11h00)
Universidade de Évora
Speaker: Luís Sousa

January 12th (14h00)
Universidade de Aveiro
Speaker: António Cunha

Additional information about the Critical Challenge is available here:


MIT Club of Portugal Dinner Honors MIT President and MIT Portugal Graduates

Sunday, 06 December 2009

During her visit to Portugal on behalf of MIT, the MIT Energy Initiative and the MIT Portugal Program Nov. 24-26, 2009, MIT President Susan Hockfield had an opportunity to discuss the future of science and engineering research and education – and the critical importance of international scientific collaboration – with a particularly receptive group comprised of 20-plus members of the MIT Club of Portugal; 40 alumni of MIT Portugal (including recent graduates of the Program’s executive master’s courses); Joao Gabriel Silva, Dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology at the University of Coimbra; Dean António Cruz Serra of Instituto Superior Técnico (IST); and MIT Portugal faculty.

MIT President Susan Hockfield and other guests at the MIT Club of Portugal dinner

At a November 26 dinner at Lisbon’s Olissippo Lapa Palace Hotel to recognize her visit and the awarding of certificates to recent MIT Portugal graduates, President Hockfield assured the attendees that MIT will remain on the frontier of global innovation; will continue to undertake targeted, long-term engagements that fit the Institute’s research and educational interests, as well as address critical problems; will dramatically expand the percentage of MIT students who gain global experience; and will deepen the Institute’s engagement with global alumni.

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MIT President Susan Hockfield to Visit Portugal November 24-26

Friday, 20 November 2009

MIT President Susan Hockfield will visit Portugal from November 24–26, 2009. She will meet with MIT Portugal Program faculty, students, graduates and industry affiliates—and spend time getting to know Portugal, on the first visit by a sitting MIT President to the country. She is also scheduled to meet with Portugal’s Prime Minister, José Sócrates, to discuss the achievements of the Program to date and reassert MIT’s commitment to its collaboration with Portugal.  

A Full Agenda

susan_hockfieldPresident Hockfield—who will be awarded a joint honorary degree by three Portuguese universities: Instituto Superior Técnico of the Technical University of Lisbon (IST-UTL), the New University of Lisbon (UNL), and the University of Porto—also will attend the first ceremony to date during which graduates of MIT Portugal executive master’s programs will be awarded their certificates.

In addition, President Hockfield will participate in three high-level forums organized by MIT Portugal. The first will be about a research and development energy initiative to design and implement sustainable energy pathways for Portugal. The second event, hosted by MIT Portugal National Director Professor Paulo Ferrão and MIT Professor John Fernández, will feature the mayors of Lisbon and and Porto along with other municipal leaders and experts, and will address the creation of “sustainable cities” in Portugal and beyond. The third forum will discuss "StemCellnet," an initiative to foster new knowledge in stem cell engineering, in Portugal but with international participation. (Sustainable energy and transportation systems, and stem cell engineering for regenerative medicine, are key components of MIT Portugal research and education programs and projects.)

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A New Group of Student Visitors Pursues Research at MIT

Thursday, 19 November 2009

On the fourth floor of a sleek office building on the MIT campus in Cambridge, in the MIT Design Lab, are an array of mock-ups of building and other designs made from the usual materials, including foam and wood. But out-of-the-ordinary research is behind these designs – and one of the researchers in residence, at least for several months, is Vasco Granadeiro, an MIT Portugal PhD candidate in Sustainable Energy Systems from Instituto Superior Técnico (IST).

Vasco Granadeiro, one of 17 PhD candidates to arrive at MIT this fallGranadeiro and his IST advisor, Prof. José Duarte (who is also visiting MIT), are working with MIT Portugal and MIT Media Lab Professor William Mitchell on an aspect of mass-customization thatinvolves creating a methodology, as well as design and building plans, for a housing development that is at once pre-fab and customizable – and which takes into account energy concerns. The work is not theoretical: their plan is to see a project through construction with a builder in a developing country where building stock is needed and sustainability considerations are welcome.

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