Leadership Weekend 2017 - How to become a leader

This year´s edition of the Leadership Weekend was the largest ever, with a total of 44 students from the four focus areas of the MIT Portugal Program. This event gathers annually 1st year PhD and Master students at Gerês – Braga, in a weekend dedicated to improve leadership skills, namely through workshops, group dynamics and outdoor activities.

On Saturday morning, the group woke up early and was divided in nine groups after a briefing by the Program Faculty to explain how the weekend would be organized. This first day was dedicated to outdoor activities like slide, rappel, archery or rope climbing. The teams had until 5pm to finish all the tasks so the strategy adopted was a crucial part of the job. In the evening it was time for a new challenge, and all the groups had to participate in a night orientation activity  using  a map to reach some strategic points.

Website day 1 br

The second day started with a Leadership class led by MPP Faculty Isabel Rocha, followed by group activities to test leadership skills but mostly developing skills on how to work in teams to reach common goals. The idea was to test how a good strategy and a cohesive team can help to better achieve objectives, not only in these exercises but also in everyday life.

Website day 2 br

Finally, and to close the activities, each group had to prepare an artistic performance related to their life experience and their MIT Portugal Program PhD. Singing, acting or even juggling were part of the demonstrations which showed their creativity and artistic abilities.

Group Leadership weekend br

This year’s Leadership Weekend, organized by professors Lígia Rodrigues and Isabel Rocha with the participation of professors Eugénio Campos Ferreira, Alexandre Ferreira da Silva, Fátima Lopes and João Bigotte, gave students the opportunity to step out of their comfort zone, test their limits, promote teamwork and also allowed to strengthen bonds between students from the four focus areas. At the end of the weekend everyone was clearly happy with the event and certainly more prepared to face new challenges and apply these useful guidelines in their daily lives.

Pavnext, a MIT Portugal PhD student project, is the BIG smart cities winner

The project Pavnext developed by Francisco Duarte, a MIT Portugal Program Transportation Systems student at Universidade de Coimbra was recognized with a 10.000€ prize at the Big Smart Cities 2017 contest. The prize awarding ceremony took place on July 11 at the Centro Cultural de Cascais.

The student competed with the PAVNEXT project (Pavement Energy Efficient Extractor), which presents a speed reduction system that induces the deceleration of vehicles without causing damage, noise or any discomfort to the passengers. The equipment acts as in a similar fashion to a carpet that when placed on the floor actively reduces the speed of the vehicles by extracting kinetic energy, with a minimal impact on the automobile. Contrary to existing systems, this one absorbs the vehicles’ energy and makes it slow down safely, without any action of the driver and even without being perceptible since it causes no discomfort. By acting directly on the vehicles, this solution can be effective in different places such as crossings, intersections, roundabouts, residential areas, schools and hospital areas, among others where it is crucial to control the speed limits. Drivers who move within the legal velocity limits will not be penalized, and the energy will just be withdrawn according to the necessity of each place.

By winning this national entrepreneurship competition, Francisco Duarte received a 10,000 euros prize, a work space and a 6-month acceleration period, a trip to Ericsson's innovation centre in Europe and access to the experimental city of Cascais to test the pilot of the technological solution he developed in the scope of his nearly finished doctoral thesis.

This is the third prize won by Pavnext since December 2016 when he was honored with the first prize at the Road Safety Innovation Award by  ACP. Since then he already won the Coimbra semifinal of the Big Smart Cities Competition and in June was selected to represent Portugal at the European Final of the ClimateLaunchpad competition in October

The laboratory tests already took place at the University of Coimbra and the project pilot will soon be implemented.

In the Media: Jornal Económico, Motor 24, Press Vodafone, Dinheiro Vivo, Aquelamaquina.pt, Notícias ao minuto.

Francisco Duarte Big Smart CitiesFrancisco Duarte at the Big Smart Cities Final

MIT Portugal Program represented at the Ciência 2017 Conference

Ciência 2017 is a major Science Conference held annually to highlight achievement in science and technology in Portugal. This year's event was held between July 03-07 at Centro de Congressos de Lisboa and counted on the contribution of MIT Portugal Program speakers.

MIT Portugal Program was represented at the event with posters from some of our PhD students, presentations from our test bed projects and an overview on MIT Portugal impact in Sustainable Energy higher education in Portugal.

IAMAT Test-bed project was presented by Ana Póvoa at Ciência 2017. During a 10m talk, the researcher address the aims and objectives achieved so far of the project that is focused on the introduction of advanced materials technologies into new product development for the mobility industries, namely aeronautics.

Ana PóvoaAna Póvoa - IAMAT Project Presentation

Carlos Silva, MIT Portugal faculty, intervention was entitled “Shaping the energy systems of tomorrow”, an overview of the past and current contributions of the MIT Portugal Program for the Sustainable Energy Systems research domain. After the session the researcher was interviewed for the event´s youtube page about his perspective for the next 20/30 years of the energy sector in Portugal and the work done by the MPP Program in this area.


Samuel Niza, MIT Portugal researcher presentation was focused on the work developed under the Suscity project - Urban Data Driven Models for Creative and Resourceful Urban Transitions – a MIT Portugal test bed projects which addresses the development and integration of new tools and services to increase urban resource efficiency with minimum environmental impacts, mainly in buildings. Samuel Niza was also interviewed by the Ciência 2017 team about the work done under this project and its results.


During the 3 days of Ciência 2017, it was also possible to find at the e-posters session the research work by  Andreia Santos, Miguel Neto, Raquel Figueiredo, Sara Freitas, Sónia Cunha under the theme "Engineer sciences and technology” representing also their host institutions at this event.

The event also counted with the participation of Diogo Pinto. As an high school student, Diogo developed a reseach study in Sustainable Energy Systems with the MIT Portugal and Pavilhão do Conhecimento - Centro Ciência Viva under the framework of the M2CE project - Promoting Engineering at High Schools. He was also present at Ciência 2017 to share his experience woriking with our reseachers. 

This year´s meeting celebrated the 50th anniversary of the creation of JNICT (Junta Nacional de Investigação Científica e Tecnológica) and the 20th anniversary of FCT (Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia), and highlighted once more the main challenges of the Portuguese scientific community by bringing together researchers and invited participants from all sectors of society.

MIT Delegation in Portugal to discuss the future of the MIT Portugal Partnership

Representatives of the Portuguese partner universities, MIT, FCT, and the Portuguese government have had an increasing number of meetings to constructively discuss and assess ideas for a potential future phase of collaboration within the scope of the MIT Portugal Program. Last May, following previous meetings at MIT, MIT Portugal in collaboration with the Portuguese Minister for Science, Technology and Higher Education, Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia and the Council of Rectors, hosted a delegation from MIT to further enhance the discussions on the vision, lines of action and affiliated initiatives that could be further developed in the future.

The MIT delegation was headed by Richard Lester, Associate Provost at MIT, where he oversees the international activities of the Institute. Richard Lester was accompanied by Dava Newman, Apollo Professor of Astronautics and Engineering; David Miller, Jerome Hunsaker Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics; and Douglas Hart Professor of Mechanical Engineering.

MIT Portugal would like to express its gratitude to the over 50 faculty members and companies’ representatives that have participated in this two-day event. The high level of participation of the interlocutors and the discussion that followed was highly appreciated by the delegation and a clear indicator of the relevant role that MIT Portugal has played in the academic and business communities but also the areas where this partnership actions can be more critical in the future.

Meeting 3rd phase br

MIT Portugal hosts Skoltech Representatives at UMinho

Last June, MIT Portugal hosted a Delegation from Skoltech Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology at Braga, University of Minho, in a visit promoted by Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia and Ministério para a Ciência, Tecnologia e Ensino Superior.

The Russian delegation was composed by Alexander Safonov, Vice-President for Academic Development; Lawrence Stein, Vice-President for International Affairs and Development; and Eric Achtmann, Advisor to the President for Innovation. At the University of Minho, the delegation attended a  presentation of the 10 years of the MIT Portugal and the Program Governance Structure by Pedro Arezes, MIT Portugal National director. Afterwards, Professor Eugénio Ferreira, MIT Portugal faculty member, led the Skoltech Representatives on a brief tour to the Bioengineering Research facilities. The visitors were interested in the governance model and activities of  International Partnership, such as MIT Portugal, and the management model of Portuguese Universities and research institutes.

MPP Skoltech RepresentativesMIT Portugal Program and Skoltech Representatives at University of Minho