The newest cutting-edge, commercial bio-technologies could be among several presentations given by MIT Portugal PhD students from the Bioengineering Focus Area at the Encontro Ciência em Portugal - Ciência 2008, which takes place July 3 at the Gulbenkian Foundation headquarters in Lisbon.

Twenty-one PhD students in six Bio-Teams will offer presentations of their latest innovations derived from research collaborations with Portuguese universities, companies and research labs.

The teams of students and Principal Investigators will compete for the Biocant Ventures Prize, a 10,000 € prize for use in developing further a commercial project, and the SPI (Sociedade Portuguesa de Inovação) Prize, 5,000 € in services offered by SPI including a SWOT analysis and one work session with consultants from SPI.

"The students have worked hard in their projects during the semester and I think the final outputs are of very high quality, showing that there was an effective understanding of the link between research and innovation," said Prof. Isabel Rocha of the MIT Portugal Program at the University of Minho.

"We were able to have the collaboration of several entities and personalities from industry, academia, funding and interface institutions that shared their experiences with the teams by participating in our classes as invited speakers and also by being part of the panel of experts that was created."

The Bio-Teams project was offered as a course to students in the MIT Portugal Program this year as part of the Bio-Engineering Systems Focus Area PhD program. The project focuses on the development of early stage bio-technologies emerging from universities and companies with the objective of evaluating their market potential. Starting from specific technologies, the joint effort of students and principal investigators is directed towards the identification of relevant market segments.

The project is modeled after a program at MIT, called i-Teams , where these student projects yield new technology start-up companies or indicate that universities or companies involved should license the technology to other established companies. If the technology is not yet mature, then the teams give feedback to the labs to redirect the research - with commercialization as the final goal.

During the Bio-Teams class, the MIT Portugal students have spent the spring semester, from January 30th to June 30th , collaborating with researchers from several leading Portuguese research labs. Each team worked with selected technologies and focused on building a go-to-market strategy for breakthroughs emerging from these pre-eminent labs.

The six teams competing for the prizes are: ProMet, PhIND, DNAMimics, Biolat, Iron Capture, and Safe Surface. The projects cover several fields in Bioengineering, from novel biomedical devices, and new diagnostic tools to commodity products with enhanced properties. The applications of the technologies are mainly in the food, medical and pharmaceutical industries.

The MIT Portugal faculty members involved in the Bio-Teams project include:

Isabel Rocha - University of Minho
Pedro Saraiva - University of Coimbra
Miguel Prazeres - Instituto Superior Técnico, Lisbon
From MIT:
Charles Cooney
Ken Zolot
Luis Perez-Breva

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For more information about the Bio-Teams, contact Isabel Rocha at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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