Blue Origin Student Payload Competition Finalist Team Announced!

Congratulations to the finalist Team EM²C on being selected to represent the MIT Portugal Program in space!

The experiment, officially named Effect of Microgravity on Microbial Chlorophyll, was created by MIT Portugal students Lígia Fonseca Coelho, PhD, Bioengineering, Instituto Superior Técnico and Manuel Almeida, PhD, Bioengineering, Instituto Superior Técnico, with the help of Jeremy Stroming, Masters candidate at MIT’s Human Systems Lab in The Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Team EM²C describes their experiment: The experiment will be on the effects of parabolic flight (such as altered gravity) on the photosynthesis and survival of microorganisms. This is relevant to the current aims of the European Space Agency (ESA), and related to current/future European Programme for Life and Physical Sciences in Space (ELIPS) space missions, such as Exocube. Two photosynthetic microorganisms will be used, a cyanobacterial and a microalgal strain, i.e. one prokaryotic and one eukaryotic, respectively. A heterotroph will also be selected as a non-photosynthetic control sample. This experiment “Effect of Microgravity on Microbial Chlorophyll (EM2C)” _will allow comparisons on: 1) How cell compartmentalization affects the ability of photosynthetic cells to cope with microgravity (prokaryotes versus eukaryotes), 2) Whether there is any adaptability difference to microgravity between non-photosynthetic and photosynthetic and 3) How microgravity affects one of the most important biological phenomena: photosynthesis.

Thank you to Team EM²C and their faculty mentors for all of your hard work. We can’t wait to see your experiment in action! We’d also like to thank the other competition teams who worked hard over the past several months. It was a difficult decision to select the finalist but we learned so much and can’t wait until the next competition opens!

Ligia e Manuel PayloadPhoto of: Lígia Fonseca Coelho and Manuel Almeida, IST

JeremyStromingPhoto of: Jeremy Stroming, MIT

PAPS meets MIT Portugal, DTx and COTEC Portugal

PAPS Meets are informal gatherings that provide the opportunity for both PAPS members and relevant Portuguese entities who are visiting North America, to meet, interact and engage in fruitful discussions. These gatherings stimulate and strengthen the relationship between the Portuguese graduate community studying/working in North America and Portugal.

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On this scope, the last meeting of PAPS counted with the presence of MIT Portugal Program director Pedro Arezes (left side of the picture), CoLab DTx president António Cunha (top right side of the picture) and COTEC Portugal president Isabel Furtado (bottom right side of the picture), both also on MIT Portugal Governing Committee, to address key topics in innovation, technological cooperation and collaborative research.

MIT Portugal Program director Pedro Arezes stated the main outcomes of the past 2 phases of the program and also revealed the main directions and strategies of the actual third phase, reinforcing the commitment and investment of Portugal Government and MIT in Research, People and Ideas with the goal of strengthening Portugal’s knowledge base and international competitiveness, having the full potential to address complex new challenges of global and societal impact.

António Cunha presented the collaborative laboratory he directs, Colab DTx, highlighting the value of a multidisciplinary team and resources to enhance technological development and social impact that will foster the knowledge economy and a more sustainable society.

Isabel Furtado, president of COTEC Portugal, presented this platform, the biggest in the country related to technologic cooperation and innovation, promoting action strategies and answers to the Portuguese business community.

The discussion brought to the table topics such as the research areas of the future, the development of a scientific career in Portugal and the main differences of the financial and motivational support given to entrepreneurship and the development of new ideas and products between EUA and Portugal.

MIT Portugal Co-Director, Dava Newman, honored by Mattel Portugal with "Astronaut Barbie" on International Women's Day

To celebrate the International Women's Day, a session was held at the Pavilion of Knowledge – Ciência Viva with a tribute to several women with outstanding roles in the scientific panorama and the presentation of the latest Barbie Scientist, inspired by Dava Newman, director of the MIT Portugal program.

During the morning, Ciência Viva launched the new edition of the book "Muheres na Ciência" (Women in Science).This edition focuses on successful stories from women in a variety of scientific areas, from Biology to Mathematics, from Chemistry to Social Sciences, from Physics to Archeology, from Neurosciences to Geography, from Engineering to History, from Space Sciences to Philosophy that significantly contributed to strength the role of science in Portuguese society , “so that they continue to inspire the new generations in the search for knowledge", states Rosalia Vargas, president of Ciência Viva. The content also exists in digital form on a permanent exhibit in the Pavilion of Knowledge.

On this International Woman’s Day, using the motto: "Dava Astronaut powered by MIT Portugal” Ciência Viva, in association with Mattel Portugal, also honored the director of MIT Portugal Program, Dava Newman, the inspiration for the most recent Barbie Scientist due to her work and recognition in spacial science worldwide.

Dava Newman is a Professor of the Apollo Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston and Harvard-MIT Health, Sciences and Technology Researcher in Cambridge.  She is specialist in aerospace biomedical engineering, focusing her studies in the performance of the human body subjected to different gravity conditions. In 2007, she was awarded with Time Magazine's "Best Invention" for the development of the BioSuit, a space suit that allows the astronaut a better mobility. Dava Newman was also the first woman to assume the duties of deputy administrator of NASA, having been named by Barack Obama. 

During her intervention, she stated that the most important message to pass this day was that every child needs to know that they belong, as science needs diversity and passion from all, from engineering to art.

At the beginning of the day, Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education, Manuel Heitor, highlighted the importance of creating a “more balanced, mature and open society to different attitudes and stereotypes”. The session also counted with the contribute of women with a relevant role in science, namely Chiara Manfletti, from European Space Agency and Zita Martins, the inspiration for the first Portuguese Barbie Scientist, last year.

Flagship Project Call just opened

COMPETE2020 just annouced (04/SI/2019) the opening of the call for flagship projects proposals for international partnerships, namely MIT Portugal.

These are large projects in co-promotion for 3 years in the new MIT Portugal research areas:

The call is open until May 30, 2019.

Please visit "2019 Call for Flagship Projects" for further details.

International Workshop on Innovating—applications now open

The 2019 edition of the International Workshop on Innovating (IWI) at MIT is a hands-on program designed to expose participants to the critical elements that lead to venture creation and the realization of the commercial potential of technologies. This workshop is primarily intended for aspiring and early-stage entrepreneurs, as well as researchers that seek to explore the application and business prospect of their ideas and research.

IWI includes seminars by MIT and other faculty, innovators, and visionaries, who have successfully brought ideas to market. Participants will have the opportunity to learn and interact with experts from the MIT ecosystem and with successful entrepreneurs, who will share their insights on critical skills for translational and entrepreneurial success. The workshop will include interactive seminars and activities designed to help participants apply their learning to their own ideas, technologies, and ventures. As a participant, you will learn essential skills and how to combine them for venture creation, including:

  • The entrepreneurial mindset
  • Tools and frameworks to evaluate the commercial potential of your idea/research
  • Selecting your initial target market
  • De-risking product/market fit
  • Finding Partners and Co-Founders—Building Great Teams
  • Defining the Next Steps for Your Venture

The 2019 workshop will take place at MIT, June 10-14.

The applications deadline is April 2, 2019. Please apply here. Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you have further questions.