MIT Portugal Program Conference: Engineering for Better Jobs

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

On Tuesday, July 7, 2007, the MIT Portugal Program will hold a high-profile conference at the Centro Cultural de Belém in Lisbon for members of Portugal's scientific and entrepreneurial communities—leaders from research centers and universities as well as CEOs and R&D executives from companies, innovation and engineering centers.

Engineering for Better Jobs, which is supported by the Fundação para a Ciência e a Technologia (FCT), will feature lectures, discussions and poster sessions on the areas of research that MIT Portugal will emphasize going forward: sustainable energy and transportation systems, stem cell engineering for regenerative medicine, and materials and design-inspired products. It also will convey key aspects of the systems-thinking approaches that have undergirded MIT-Portugal research to date and will continue to do so in the future.

A number of MIT Portugal’s industry affiliates will participate in the panel discussions at the day-long conference, and will help to demonstrate some of the benefits to industry in Portugal and elsewhere from partnering with MIT Portugal on research that addresses pressing challenges having to do with energy, transportation, bio-engineering, sustainability, and economic development.

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SES Students Perform Outreach at Cambridge High School

Sunday, 10 May 2009

In an effort to help raise the next generation’s consciousness about sustainability, two MIT students doing MIT Portugal-funded work with the Sustainable Energy Systems (SES) focus area, Carrie Brown and Steve Ray, recently shared their research with students at the Prospect Hill Academy (PHA), a charter high school located not far from MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

“The aim,” said Ray, “was to inspire a class of seniors to learn more about sustainability—and how to incorporate it into their own lives.”

Green Roof Technologies: Sorting Out the Benefits

Brown and Ray, who are working with MIT Professor of Architecture and Mechanical Engineering Leon Glicksman, jumped at the chance to reach out to PHA’s innovative class on “Green Roofs for the 21st Century,” in which students collaborate with a non-profit organization to help design a green roof for a nearby building.

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MIT Portugal Program Governing Committee Approves Revisited Strategy

Thursday, 30 April 2009

On April 27, 2009, the MIT Portugal Program’s Program Governing Committee (PGC) met at MIT to consider a mid-term program review and a strategic white paper drafted in recent weeks by leaders of the Program’s focus areas. The Committee approved the revisited strategy, which calls for three interrelated approaches:

  • An emphasis on three application areas for targeted research: sustainable urban and regional systems; regenerative medicine; and materials and design-inspired projects. 
  • Continuous development of new knowledge based on scientific research in three clusters of methods and models that foster systems thinking: design and implementation; uncertainty and dynamics; and networks and flows. 
  • Continued efforts to foster change in university education and promote leading international graduate programs and competence-building initiatives, through MIT Portugal’s four focus areas. 

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MIT and Government of Portugal Strengthen Joint Research Agenda in Light of Global Economic Crisis

Monday, 27 April 2009

CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts (April 27, 2009) — The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Portuguese Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education today announced plans to strengthen the joint research agenda they initiated with the launching of the MIT-Portugal Program in 2006. The revisited strategy aims at a longer-term collaboration focused on three main areas: sustainable urban/regional systems; stem-cell research for regenerative medicine; and materials and design-inspired products.

The MIT-Portugal Program is a major initiative undertaken by the Portuguese government to strengthen the country’s knowledge base at an international level through a strategic investment in people, knowledge and ideas.

Emerging global challenges, including those resulting from the current international economic crisis, create new opportunities for the MIT-Portugal Program. These challenges call for new solutions requiring a systems-thinking perspective. The new solutions reflected in the revisited strategy will be diverse, but they will share four main features: they will be designed for complexity, uncertainty, and emergence following ‘engineering systems’ principles, in order to significantly expand research and education in engineering systems across many of Portugal’s top national universities, in close collaboration with MIT. 

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Bio-Engineering Students Balance Laboratory Rotations and Innovation Team Projects

Monday, 20 April 2009

All first-year students in the MIT Portugal Bioengineering Advanced Study program undergo nine-week laboratory rotations during the spring term. This overlaps with their participation in BioTeams—in which each of several teams of students develop a go-to-market strategy for a promising technology brought to them by MIT Portugal affiliate companies. (Read more about MIT Portugal BioTeams.)

Most of the host laboratories are in the participating engineering schools of the Bioengineering program; this spring, as a new initiative, three students will also spend nine-week rotations in the biodiesel laboratory of SGC Energia, a new Research Affiliate company of the MIT Portugal Program.

MIT Portugal interviewed Filipe Gracio and Roberto Gallardo Marusich, two students conducting their lab rotation at the Department of Biological Engineering at the University of Minho, about the opportunities and challenges inherent in juggling both activities. We also spoke with Dr. Manuela Gomes, who supervises another Bioengineering student, António Vicente.

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