ConfAnnual MIT Portugal conference on October 1 in Lisbon. [photo by Leah Lovgren]

The MIT Portugal Partnership 2030 (MPP2030) was launched in June of 2018, continuing MIT’s strong commitment to collaborate with Portuguese institutions to address complex challenges of global and societal impact. This unique and novel partnership was lauded by Prime Minister António Costa of Portugal and Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education, Prof. Manuel Heitor, during their official visit to MIT on June 11th.  Looking toward a long-term partnership through 2030, the Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT, the Portuguese Science and Technology Foundation) selected MIT and the MPP2030 collaboration as a top priority.

The MIT Portugal Program (MPP) held an annual conference, the inaugural for MPP2030, on October 1st in Lisbon.  The conference theme “an international partnership towards the challenges of complex systems” not only recognized the most recent achievements, but more importantly showcased and presented the new scope and targets for coming years. The event was opened by Minister Manuel Heitor, Paulo Ferrão, President of FCT, Prof. Dava Newman, MIT Portugal Partnership 2030 Director at MIT, and Prof. Pedro Arezes, MIT Portugal Partnership 2030 Director in Portugal. Other conference presenters included José Moutinho, of the Atlantic International Research (AIR) Centre, Prof. John Hart, Prof. Doug Hart and Prof. Jessika Trancik, all MIT faculty.  Students, faculty and principal investigators were also given an opportunity to share their research findings to date.  The conference also highlighted the importance of innovation and entrepreneurship and its role in the MIT Portugal Program. The day was concluded with closing remarks by Prof. Bruce Tidor, MIT Office of the Associate Provost for International Activities, and a student poster session award ceremony.

While MPP2030 is ramping up, the second phase of MPP, which focused on four integrated education (bioengineering, engineering design, energy, and transportation), research, and innovation & entrepreneurship programs, is concluding in 2019. The phase 2 of MPP, which has been led at MIT by Professors Bruce Tidor, Program Director, and Douglas Hart, Co-Director, has been hosted by MIT’s Institute for Data, Systems, and Society (IDSS).  Promoting innovation, entrepreneurship, and leadership best practices have become a hallmark of MPP, e.g., by stimulating and facilitating startup formation in Portugal. Building on the success of MPP, MPP2030 will continue to support activities designed to significantly impact the development of the Portuguese innovation ecosystem and work force.  

MPP2030 is a novel strategic partnership led by Prof. Dava Newman, the MIT Apollo Program Professor of Astronautics and Pedro Arezes, Full Professor in Human Factors Engineering at the University of Minho. The goal of MPP2030 is to strengthen Portugal’s knowledge base and international competitiveness through strategic investments in research, people, and ideas in areas of global relevance and with significant societal impact. Within the scope of the new partnership, MPP2030 focuses on fostering research between MIT and Portuguese universities, research institutes, laboratories, companies, and other entities in the areas of Climate Science & Climate Change, Earth Systems: Oceans to Near to Space, Digital Transformation in Manufacturing, and Sustainable Cities, all of which include data science-intensive approaches and methodologies. Research activities will be primarily promoted through calls for proposals for large-scale flagship research projects and smaller seed projects, with the first call for flagship proposals expected to launch Fall of 2018. More information can be found on the MIT Portugal website.