Prime Minister António Costa of Portugal champions innovation in MIT talk

Visit follows renewal of popular MIT Portugal Program.

Source: Peter Dizikes | MIT News Office

Prime Minister António Costa of Portugal heralded the importance of science and innovation in a visit to the Institute on Monday, days after his country formally renewed the popular MIT Portugal Program.

‘The future arrives quicker than expected,” said Costa, in remarks to a filled lecture hall in MIT’s Stata Center, adding: “There is no better way to prepare our modern society and economy for the unexpected path of innovation and technological development than to invest in the education of younger generations.”

Costa’s visit came about 10 days after the official renewal of the MIT Portugal Program, a joint endeavor to push forward scientific research and innovation while creating collaborations between industry and academia.

MIT Provost Martin A. Schmidt, speaking just before Costa, said Institute leaders were “pleased and thrilled” to have seen “MIT Portugal develop across a range of programs and projects in research, education, and innovation.”

Costa also had a one-on-one meeting with MIT President L. Rafael Reif, who told the Portugese leader that it was a “tremendous honor” to meet him. ‘There is much to admire about your country,” he said.

The MIT Portugal program provides opportunities for exceptional students to study at MIT and in Portugal, working with faculty from both MIT and Portugese  universities. Now entering its third phase, the program will have an emphasis on research in earth sciences, climate studies, data science, digital design and manufacturing, and urban studies.

The program was created in 2006 and renewed for the first time in 2013, with this year’s long-term renewal of support by Portugal being made official on June 1. The program has had over 1,000 students over the last 12 years.

Prime Minister of Portugal António Costa Prime Minister of Portugal António Costa

“MIT Portugal has had a huge impact on our scientific system and universities,” Costa said.

MIT’s faculty lead for the new phase of the program will be Dava Newman, the Apollo Professor of Astronautics and Engineering Systems at MIT, who praised Portugal on Monday for having “the vision to invest in their work force.”

Costa, a native of Lisbon, has been prime minister of Portugal since 2015. He served the federal government in Portugal in a variety of ministerial roles for about a decade before serving as mayor of Lisbon from 2007 through 2015.

Costa was accompanied by a delegation of Portugese officials, including Manuel Heitor, the Portuguese minister for science, technology, and higher education.

“MIT Portugal is about the future,” said Heitor, an engineering professor by trade who has written extensively about science and technology policy, and also spoke at the event. Heitor added: “We want to address new challenges.” 

The Portugese leaders also toured workspaces at MIT, including an extended stop at the Robot Locomotion Group led by Russ Tedrake, the Toyota Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Aeronautics and Astronautics, and Mechanical Engineering at MIT.

Costa and Heitor also talked to a group of about a dozen Portugese graduate students currently at the Institute as part of the MIT Portugal Program. The students discussed their fields of study, which included clean energy, civil engineering, management, and medical research.

“These people are leaders — who represent our own ambition,” said Heitor, referring to the students.

At one point, Costa also asked the students, “What can we do to improve the program?” In response, Luiz Lisboa de Silva Cardoso, a graduate student in mechanical engineering, simply quipped, “Keep going.”

Costa affirmed his desire to do so in his talk, concluding, “We are proud to have MIT as our partner because, we believe, with MIT, the sky is not the limit.”

Original Article at

Remembering Joseph Sussman

Joe SussmanThe MIT Portugal Program celebrates the life of Joseph Sussman, MIT Portugal Transportation faculty member, and Professor at MIT’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) who passed away in March 2018 at the age of 79.

Dr. Joseph M. Sussman was the JR East Professor (endowed by the East Japan Railway Company) in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Institute of Data, Systems and Society (IDSS) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he served as a faculty member for 50 years.

He joined the MIT faculty in 1967 and from 1977 to 1979, worked as Associate Dean of Engineering for Educational Programs. In 2006, he initiated the transportation systems focus area for the MIT Portugal Program, where he participated  in the development and teaching, in collaboration with three Portuguese universities, of the new international masters in Complex Transportation Infrastructure Systems, in the foundations of the new Doctoral Program in Transportation Systems, and in research connected to transportation systems in general. Sussman also worked on ITS (intelligent transportation systems) to help build a U.S. national program and served as the first Distinguished University Scholar at ITS America from 1991-92.

During his professional life he worked on the development of an “intelligent corridor” in Bangkok; a comparison of ITS programs in Western Europe, Japan, and the U.S.; building regional architectures in Massachusetts; and emergency response and institutional issues concerning ITS and the provision of “flexibility” in surface transportation through intelligent technologies. He was the program chair of the ITS America annual meeting in 2000. In his last years he served as the chairman of the Intelligent Transportation Systems Program Advisory Committee for the U.S. Department of Transportation, advising the department on all facets of its Intelligent Transportation Systems Program. In 2015 Professor Joseph was elected to the Intelligent Transportation Society of America Hall of Fame.

According to Professor Luís Picado Santos who worked closely with him and others in the enhancement and development of the transportation focus area of the MIT Portugal Program, Joe was an exceptional human being and an outstanding Professor and Researcher that delivered a robust contribution for the success of the initiative.

Some of his friends and co-workers left their online testimony to honour his life and work, who will surely be greatly missed.

Obituary in Boston Globe

Engineering Design Roundtables at UMinho: The route to SMART IMPLANTS: a glimpse into 2028

The EDAM focus area at the University of Minho ended the year of 2017 with an Engineering Design Roundtable entitled “The route to SMART IMPLANTS: a glimpse into 2028”, jointly organized with the research center CMEMS-UMinho (through the Project HAMaBICo), which was held on December 15th, at the Campus of Azurém - University of Minho.

Following the trend from the previous roundtables, this one discussed the recent developments on the field of medical implants in an attempt to foresee its next 10 years. The reason for choosing the year of 2028 to name the roundtable was due to a quote from John Maynard Keynes:

“[in 2028] for the first time since his creation, man will be faced with his real, his permanent problem – how to use his freedom from pressing economic cares, how to occupy the leisure, [….], to live wisely and agreeably and well”

This was written in 1928 (he was looking 100 years ahead), and in very simplistic manner he predicted that by 2028, men will be free from the daily burden. He made this essay from an economical perspective, but this Roundtable brought it to the implants’ scope.

With four major talks, given by:

  • Inês Pinto, Cell Mechanics Laboratory, INL (Portugal);
  • Michael Gasik, Department of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering, Aalto University (Finland);
  • Lia Rimondini, Department of Health Sciences, University of Piemonte Orientale (Italy);
  • Filipe Silva, Department of Mechanical Engineering, CMEMS-UMinho (Portugal);

The roundtable bridged cell physiology, concepts, design and manufacturing throughout the day, promoting large periods of discussion. The debates were also focused on understanding cells behavior around implants and on materials, concepts and new hybrid subtractive-additive technology for development of new type of implants. The idea was the development of implants able to interact with host tissues rather than just being accepted by host tissues, e.g. active implants rather than passive implants. It is expected that these new ‘smart’ implants are able to constantly interact with surrounding cells redirecting their response (even remotely controlled, when needed), thus increasing their long-term survival. Implants should survive during the whole life of the patients instead of existing implants whose life is about 10 to 15 years.

The roundtable led to the discussion of some interesting ideas that researchers from different companies and universities will now try to put into the form of innovative solutions.   

Overall, more than 40 persons actively participated in the roundtable, including PhD students, researchers and faculty members.

The EDAM-UMinho team is already planning the next Roundtable that will take place in February 7, 2018, and will be dedicated to the “Engineering Education in the 21st Century”. Further details will soon be given.

EDAM Roundtable

EGOS FORUM workshop: a MIT Portugal Program Bioengineering event to help students better know and develop themselves

Do you really know yourself and of the world around you? Are you fully aware of your working skills? Do you have the means to effectively transform your personal and professional life? These are some of the topics that the 1st EGOS Forum, a top-level workshop for the faculty, researchers and students from the Bioengineering Systems focus area of the MIT Portugal Program, addressed. The event took place on two separated dates and locations, 4th and 5th December in Braga and on the 13th and 14th December in Lisbon (FCTUNL Caparica Campus) and was led by Professor Adriano Freire, the President of EGOS Institute, an international management consulting and training organization.

Over the last 20 years, Adriano Freire has conducted many top-level projects for multinational, large and medium-sized companies focused on behavioural development, strategy and innovation. Adriano Freire earned his Ph.D. in Business Administration in Tokyo, Japan, and he is Professor at the Lisbon MBA (American-European MBA Program from MIT, Portuguese Catholic University and Nova University). Following Prof. Richard Thaler’s Nobel Prize for his pioneering work on “Behavioral Economics”, the EGOS Forum has incorporated leading-edge knowledge from behavioural sciences into the MIT Graduate Programs in order to help participants analyse their personal and professional lives and find answers to their questions. By better understanding themselves and others, in both academic and professional contexts, they are better able to understand who they want to be.

This method defines and combines four core psychological profiles (Entrepreneur, Governor, Operational and Social), which are positioned on the EGOS Map, an innovative personality model based on solid biological, psychological, sociological, and managerial foundations. Before the EGOS Forum participants filled out an online questionnaire and received their own EGOS Maps, so they could leverage the results during the two days’ event and apply all topics (communication, teamwork, time management, stress, decision making, change management, etc.) to themselves. And with the support of the EGOS Map they were able to set their own transformation goals and determine the change paths.

At the end of the event all 23 participants were undoubtedly pleased with the outcome of the workshop, here are some of their testimonies:

The EGOS Forum was a truly revealing experience. In order to understand how we can perform at our finest and put our true potential to the best use, we need to be fully aware of our strengths and weaknesses. During the EGOS Forum, Prof. Adriano Freire taught us the EGOS methodology and gave us the tools to understand our personality more deeply and identify opportunities for personal development. The self-discovery journey that the EGOS Forum provided will help me strategize my next professional challenges and improve my adaptation skills to settings and teams.

António Vicente

I would like to say that the EGOS Forum made me realize that I need to understand my personality first, where did I come from, who I am now and what do I want in life, regarding my personal and professional life. It also called my attention to my virtues and flaws which I need to work on to become a better person with my family as well as with my colleagues at work.

Emingarda Castelbranco

The difference between having a tool such as the EGOS Map and using it in our daily and professional life, and not having it, is like making a puzzle seeing each piece of it and knowing the final picture, against making this puzzle blindly. Only when we know the shape and colours of each piece of the puzzle (i.e, when we know who we are and how we behave) we can then fit each piece (i.e, build coherent, constructive and successful teams) in its right place. No team building activities and efforts will succeed if each team member fails to first know who he/she is and how he/she relates with the others. Prof. Adriano did not just design this tool; he is also great at explaining it! I advise all research groups, departments, companies willing to boost their success to learn this tool and use it!"

Fátima Lopes

Egos Forum

A CALL is open to 2017-2018 MIT Portugal Program Scholarships

If you want to apply to a PhD Scholarship under the MIT Portugal Program, you can submit your online application by January 3rd. The 40 PhD scholarships, to study in Portugal and at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), are funded by Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT) and are available in the Program´s four areas:

  • Bioengineering Systems – PD/526/2012 (10 scholarships)
  • Leaders for Technical Industries – PD/76/2012 (10 scholarships)
  • Sustainable Energy Systems – PD/395/2012 (10 scholarships)
  • Transportation Systems – PD/539/2012 (10 scholarships)

The call is open to applications for individual scholarships for the doctoral programs, according to the regulations of the Research Grant Holder Statute (Law 40/2004, of August 18), and according to the FCT Regulations for Advanced Training and Qualification of Human Resources, Decree Law 234/2012, changed by the Decree Law 339/2015 of June 17.

For more information on the application process, please check the Apply page.

Good luck!