Student Profile: Lia Oliveira


This article profiles FEUP-based Leaders for Technical Industries doctoral student Lia Oliveira, who returned to Portugal in the summer of 2010 after a four-month research stay at MIT.

 LiaOliveiraMITDome_forweb2How did you learn about MIT Portugal and what motivated you to apply for the LTI PhD of the MIT Portugal Program?

When I finished my MSc, I was strongly motivated to go on studying, as a way to increase my knowledge and personal skills to work for technology-based companies, in the development of new products and processes. Another interesting challenge was the possibility of contributing to start a small company in Portugal, capable of producing technology-based products, with new, innovative methodologies. The LTI PhD Program represented a unique and challenging opportunity to improve the knowledge and skills previously obtained at UM (University of Minho).

I had already listened about the MIT Portugal Program, but it was a professor I had at UM (Manuel Lopes Nunes) that encouraged and helped me with this idea. He played a fundamental role in my decision to apply to the LTI Program.  


FCT Announces Six Winning Projects in 2009 MPP Open Call


1.2M Euro total awards to support joint efforts by Portuguese, MIT researchers and industry partners

The Portuguese Science Foundation (FCT) has announced the six projects that were selected to receive funding totaling 1.2M Euros in the 2009 FCT open call for research and development projects in the framework of the MIT-Portugal Program.

The areas of emphasis of the selected projects range across the Program’s four targeted application areas of Sustainable Energy and Transportation Systems, Stem Cell Engineering for Regenerative Medicine, Materials and Design-Inspired Products, and Engineering Systems Fundamentals.

The table below indicates the Portuguese and MIT principal investigators (PIs) for each awarded project, along with industry and other non-academic participating institutions:

Click to enlarge

The official announcement by FCT is also available.


Transportation Systems Faculty Present Research Achievements at 12th World Conference on Transport Research


A special session highlighted the achievements of MIT-Portugal research in Transportation Systems at the 12th World Conference on Transport Research, chaired by MIT-Portugal Transportation Systems co-coordinator José Viegas in Lisbon from July 11-15, 2010.

Viegas, in presenting an overview of this research alongside MIT co-coordinator Chris Zegras, pointed to the group’s pioneering of new analytical techniques and new applications to the Portuguese transport sector, in the context of a robust trans-Atlantic collaboration built upon many long-term visits in both directions by PhD students of MIT and Portuguese institutions.

Separate presentations addressed the work of Integration projects and those in the high-speed rail and air networks arenas. These projects have attracted the support and collaboration of relevant transport operators and private companies, including RAVE, Lisbon taxi operators, and a consortium exploring Germany’s airport expansion priorities.

Click here to download the full presentations made at the MIT-Portugal session.aWCTRS


SOTUR Team Convenes Key Transport Stakeholders to Link Development Scenarios to Local Realities


What does the future hold for Portugal’s cities?  Will national policies spark a renewed economy? Will population and economic growth stagnate?  And given the possible scenarios of the future, what strategies should cities adopt today?

The MIT-Portugal Program’s Strategic Options for Integrating Transportation Innovations and Urban Revitalization (SOTUR) team raised these questions on July 9th, 2010, as it convened a group of Portuguese engineers, architects, politicians, and other experts in Lisbon to continue ongoing discussions of urban and transportation planning and policy in Portugal.  In the last of three stakeholder workshops, the research team presented the results of two-plus years of work in urban systems modeling, developed under the SOTUR project, which aims to identify possibilities for leveraging the land use-transportation interactions to enhance urban revitalization in Portuguese cities.

The analysis presented built on the ideas developed during the previous SOTUR stakeholder workshops, which began early this year. The series of three workshops was designed to collaboratively develop scenarios of the future; identify possible intervention measures; and, ultimately, better link the integrated urban development-transport models developed by the SOTUR team with local reality and stakeholders.  In the first two workshops (held in Coimbra in January and Porto in March), participants helped to construct three potential future scenarios—subsequently named “New Dynamics,” “Social Crisis,” and “Technology as a Way of Development.”  The research team used these narratives of the future as the background parameters in applying integrated quantitative models, the methodology and results of which were presented last Friday.

The SOTUR team hoped that, after seeing the demonstration of modeling techniques, stakeholders would consider how the methods might benefit their organizations and, more generally, planning in the country.


Energy business leaders provide “Windows on Companies” to MIT Portugal Sustainable Energy Systems Students


Executives from leading energy companies and initiatives in Portugal brought their know-how about their projects and about the energy market to a series of discussions with MPP Sustainable Energy Systems students called the Windows on Companies Sessions, held weekly at the MPP offices in TagusPark from June 17-July 2.

The main objective of the Windows on Companies sessions was to provide MIT Portugal energy students new insights from business leaders about the main challenges being faced by energy companies, both in terms of technology and engineering systems, and how new or existing research areas can tackle them within a business environment.GALP_WindowsOnCompaniesJoaoNunoMendes

The first session, conducted by António Vidigal, showcased the latest developments from EDP Inovação in technologies associated with the exploration and development of renewable energy resources. Rogério da Ponte, representing energy services company SelfEnergy, talked about the view of a medium sized company in the energy sector that is growing rapidly due, in part, to its bet on a innovative business model and internationalization.

João Nuno Mendes explained how Galp is addressing new ways to approach the consumer, and the services it is offering. Alexandre Alves, from RPP Solar, talked about Portugal’s largest current private investment in the energy sector – the Integrated Project of Solar Energy – in Abrantes, in central Portugal, and the challenges and opportunities that arise from this investment.

As an effort to create new understandings and synergies among students and corporate leaders that can lead to career opportunities and research links, the Sustainable Energy Systems students appreciated the Windows on Companies sessions. It will be repeated in Fall 2010 and subsequently as the MIT Portugal Program seeks to deepen the connection among its students and industrial partners.

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