Third Annual IdeaSpring Conference Launches Bio-Teams Competition

Thursday, 11 March 2010 10:17

The third annual IdeaSpring conference – held at the Biocant Biotechnology Innovation Center in Cantanhede, Portugal on February 19, 2010 – offered MIT-Portugal Program Bioengineering Systems students the most intensive opportunity to date to interact with academics, industry affiliates of the Program, and representatives of other companies.

Each year, IdeaSpring brings together MIT-Portugal’s “Bio-Teams”: groups of first-year Bioengineering Systems students and their faculty advisors. These teams devise go-to-market strategies for emerging technologies that are in development at Portuguese research labs – strategies that could help launch each innovation in the marketplace. This year's competition for the best strategy will be held in July.


Advanced Studies Students Engage Key Energy Issues During MIT Visit

Tuesday, 09 March 2010 11:51

How have the politics of climate change shifted during the past year? What is the current status of carbon sequestration technology? How could energy concerns affect regional and global security strategies? What are the critical business considerations involving solar energy? And how can MIT’s “culture of entrepreneurship” be replicated elsewhere, in the energy sector?

These were just a few of the questions addressed March 1-5, 2010 during a visit to MIT by 20 students in MIT-Portugal’s year-long Sustainable Energy Systems (SES) Advanced Studies course. It was the second year in which the students in this group – each of whom is a mid-career professional – had an opportunity to engage in in-depth examinations of these and related issues with experts from the MIT faculty and from local industry, as well as with MIT students and MIT-Portugal students who are currently doing research at MIT.


MIT Portugal an Influential Presence at Energia 2020

Saturday, 06 March 2010 09:17

Presentations by MIT Portugal faculty and PhD candidates figured prominently at Energia 2020, a conference held February 8-9, 2010 at the University of Lisbon that was aimed at assessing Portugal’s current energy policies, examining current and potential energy technologies, and identifying energy goals to strive for during the next decade.

The wide-ranging talks included one on urban metabolism from MIT Portugal National Director Professor Paulo Ferrão. Other affiliates of the Program, who offered presentations on such topics as smart grids and photovoltaics, included Prof. Miguel Brito (UL), Prof. Manuel Gameiro da Silva (U Coimbra), Prof. António Luiz Moura Joyce (LNEG), Prof. Eduardo Oliveira Fernandes (FEUP), Prof. Joao Pecas Lopes (FEUP), Prof. António Sarmento (IST), Joel Soares, (SES PhD candidate, FEUP), Prof. António Vallêra (UL), Prof. Jorge Vasoncelos (IST), and Prof. Álvaro Martins.

Challenges and Opportunities

One focus of the conference was to review Portugal’s current energy infrastructure, public policies, economic environment, and entrepreneurship and research and development climates – and to look closely at EU and Portuguese goals related to energy efficiency, including Europe’s agreement to meet 20 percent of its energy needs via renewable energy sources and technologies by 2020.

Another emphasis was on Portugal’s goals to establish a leadership position on energy sustainability in Europe as a result of its own increased use of renewable energy; doubling the country’s capacity to produce electricity and reducing imports; incentivizing the Portuguese population to improve energy efficiency at home; stimulating entrepreneurship, competition and innovation; developing new knowledge and tools in the field, as well as new products and opportunities for innovation; and developing energy technologies that will deliver economic growth while lowering carbon emissions.

MIT Portugal affilate presentations:

icon Paulo Ferrao
icon Manuel Gameiro da Silva
icon Filipe Soares
icon Antonio Joyce
icon Miguel Brito
icon Antonio Sarmento
icon Eduardo Oliveira Fernandes
icon Jorge Vasconcelos
icon Alvaro Martins
icon Antonio Valera
icon Joao Pecas Lopes

Workshop on Mobility and Urban Revitalization Connects SOTUR Project with Key Stakeholders

Monday, 08 February 2010 20:17

Researchers in MIT Portugal’s Transportation Systems’ research project SOTUR (Strategic Options for Transport and Urban Revitalization) are bringing their work a step closer to the reality of day-to-day decision-making in Portugal.

On Monday, January 25, 2010, SOTUR – which promotes desirable urban development patterns and travel outcomes – convened a stakeholder workshop in which more than 40 representatives from diverse Portuguese organizations came together to discuss issues of mobility and urban revitalization in Portugal.


MIT Portugal Featured on Falar Global (SIC TV)

Sunday, 07 February 2010 22:08

Falar Global (“Global Talk”) – a program broadcast on the Portuguese network SIC that looks at the ways in which advances in science and technology are changing people's lives – regularly airs stories about the MIT Portugal Program, through an arrangement with Portugal’s Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT).

Several recent stories have focused on the impact of MIT Portugal research:

Stem cell research to fight leukemia and other blood diseases. This February 2010 segment profiled ongoing work by stem cell researchers from MIT Portugal and the Portuguese Oncology Institute (IPO) to develop treatments for patients with leukemia and other blood disorders who have not responded to conventional treatments. Positive results have been achieved in nine such patients. The story includes interviews with Prof. Joaquim Sampaio Cabral (Co-lead, MIT Portugal Bioengineering focus area) and Dr. Manuel Abecassis (Director of the IPO Bone Marrow Transplant Unit).

MIT Portugal’s cross-disciplinary approach to problem solving. This December 2009 segment focuses on the Green Islands project – a major initiative under way to work with government and industry in the Azores to increase significantly the Islands’ development and use of renewable energy; MIT Portugal research on using bacteria to generate electricity (see below); and “intelligent stents” for treating aneurysms. The piece includes clips from MIT President Susan Hockfield's November 2009 visit to Portugal, and the launch during that visit of several MIT Portugal research and training networks. The segment also features a studio interview with FCT President João Senteiro.

Electricity production via bacteria. This November 2009 story focuses on Portuguese researchers' study of bacteria that can produce energy upon contact with waste containing metals – common elements of contaminated waste water. This naturally occurring characteristic suggests it may become possible to produce electricity in an entirely environmentally friendly way – something that was discovered at MIT. (The Portuguese researchers are looking at the process at the molecular level.) EDP (Energias de Portugal) has expressed an interest in the research.

In July 2009, Falar Global profiled the Green Islands project. (Part one describes the goals of the initiative; part two features an interview with MIT Portugal National Director Paulo Ferrão).

Additional MIT Portugal videos are available here.

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