Ceremony Honors Faculty Winners of 2009 Education Innovation Awards


The seven Portuguese faculty judged as winners of the 2009 MIT-Portugal Education Innovation Awards were honored at a ceremony at the Luso-American Foundation in Lisbon on 4 May 2010.

These awards are an important element of the Program’s efforts to recognize and reward excellence in the design and delivery of educational programs in Portugal. The Program leadership, through the awards, seeks to give greater incentive to outstanding teaching as part of its desire to ensure the quality of its degree programs.Mário Mesquita presents awards to Jorge Pinho de Sousa (FEUP) and António Pais Antunes (FCT-UC)

At the award ceremony, Prof. António M. Cunha, the Rector of the University of Minho, offered his impressions of the educational achievements of the MIT-Portugal Program, what he thought would be its enduring contributions to the Portuguese higher education system, and how a second phase of MIT-Portugal might come to pass. Prof. Cunha said that the MIT-Portugal educational programs had demonstrated that it is possible in Portugal to conduct such high-level training at an internationally rigorous scientific level while also meeting the real-life challenges of industry, and said he hoped that this higher expectation for graduate education would be preserved in a second MIT-Portugal phase and in Portugal’s universities as a whole.


A Virtual Day of Lisbon Traffic Provides Vision for Mobility Decision Tools


A unique partnership of students and faculty in the MIT-Portugal CityMotion project, a Portuguese design atelier, and two major taxi operators in Lisbon has produced a series of innovative visualizations of Lisbon traffic that points towards future mobility decision tools for individuals and industry.

These visualizations, by University of Coimbra Master’s student Pedro Cruz, map the GPS coordinates and velocity of 1534 taxis circulating in Lisbon during October 2009. This information is condensed in one single virtual day, grouping the data by second and displaying it as an animation. Each experiment explores a different way to visualize and express information.


Unlocking "Septic Shock" : An Engineering Systems Approach to Design Better Hospital Practices


A team of students and researchers at MIT, IST, and two hospitals in Lisbon and Boston are using Engineering Systems approaches to address a life-or-death issue: improved survival rates for critically ill hospital patients.

André Fialho and Federico Cismondi, MPP Bioengineering doctoral students, are visiting MIT for 18 months in order to work with doctors and informatics staff at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BI) to analyze data from the Intensive Care Unit at BI. Their goal is to improve survival rates for intensive care patients by using advanced quantitative analysis techniques to identify aspects of the hospital system that may be linked to worsened health outcomes while in the hospital. In the first instance they are looking at contributing factors to “septic shock,” a syndrome that commonly forces hospital patients into intensive care.

PhD  students André Fialho and Federico Cismondi


Multimillion Dollar Grant for Bus Rapid Transit for MIT, IST and Global Partners


MIT-Portugal Program Transportation Systems collaborators at MIT and IST are partners in a consortium that has been awarded a multimillion dollar, five-year grant from the Volvo Research and Education Foundation (VREF) for a Center of Excellence on Bus Rapid Transit.

The consortium is headed by Juan Carlos Muñoz of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (PUC), who will spend his sabbatical at MIT next year, hosted by the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department.  MIT collaborators will be Nigel Wilson, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering; Chris Zegras, Assistant Professor in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning; and Fred Salvucci, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Another member of the new consortium is the Instituto Superior Técnico of the Technical University of Lisbon, a main partner in Transportation Systems of the MIT-Portugal Program. The IST team is led by Profs. José Viegas and Rosário Macário.


Student Profile: Érica Castanheira


Érica Castanheira, a PhD candidate in MIT-Portugal's Sustainable Energy Systems program, recently earned an FCT grant to study the assessment of biofuels. She will present some of her results at the 25th Mini EURO Conference at the University of Coimbra (April 15-17, 2010) as co-author of a paper titled "GHG Emissions Assessment of Palm Oil: Uncertainty and Scenario Analysis for Increased Production." This interview, conducted by the university's Energy for Sustainability (EfS) initiative, first appeared on the group's website.

EfS: What motivated you to apply for the PhD in Sustainable Energy Systems of the MIT-Portugal Program?

Erica_Castanheira2EC: I have learned about the PhD in Sustainable Energy Systems (SES) in 2008 through Professor Fausto Freire, after applying for a research position in the FCT Project “Biofuel systems for transportation in Portugal: An "well-to-wheels" integrated multi-objective assessment” at ADAI- LAETA, University of Coimbra. During the interview we have also discussed that it could be an excellent opportunity for my future career to apply for the SES doctoral program. At that time, I was finishing my master’s on Energy and Environmental Management at the University of Aveiro. My MSc thesis was about environmental life cycle assessment of agricultural products. A PhD on Sustainable Energy Systems permits to extend my previous research experience towards an emergent field integrating engineering, energy, economics and environmental systems analysis. Furthermore, the Energy for Sustainability (EfS) initiative at the University Coimbra brings together faculty from various teaching and research institutions, and offers an interesting and diversified number of courses.

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