MIT Portugal PhD alumna was awarded with the L'Oréal Portugal Medal for Women in Science

Patrícia Baptista developed the concept of an assessment tool that vulnerable users can use to choose the more accessible and sustainable routes.

Elderly, pregnant women, children and people with reduced mobility, are more susceptible to high risk events and are the groups which will benefit the most from the proposal presented by Patrícia Baptista, Researcher at Instituto Superior Técnico and MIT Portugal Program alumna in Sustainable Energy Systems, recognized with the the L'Oréal Portugal Medal for Women in Science and a 15 000€ prize.

The main objective of this work is to improve urban mobility, by developing an assessment tool to compare relevant trip indicators (such as travel time, human effort, local pollutant inhalation, energy consumption and emissions, etc.) for the same journey. This innovative approach is relevant and adequate for all types of users, but will be particularly helpful for people with reduced mobility by allowing them to choose the best route and transportation to minimize time, cost, effort or inhalation of pollutants, and also avoid risk events such as traffic hot-spots, slippery sidewalks or accentuated slopes. The use of such a planning tool will allow all users to make more informed decisions regarding trip arrangements.

In addition, the transportation sector is a major contributor to energy consumption and to air pollution, so the development of this platform will permit the correct quantification of urban trip energy, environmental and health impacts which has a crucial importance in a context of ambitious EU targets for reducing emissions in urban centers.

The 14th edition of the L'Oréal Portugal Honor Medals for Women in Science recognizes and supports the work of some of the most promising young Portuguese scientists working in national institutions, in a partnership between L´Oréal, the Portuguese National Commission for UNESCO and the Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT). This year the Award Ceremony was presided by the Portuguese President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa and the former First Lady, Maria Cavaco Silva who honored the four researchers with a L´Oréal Medal and a financial prize of 15 thousand euros each.

Patricia BaptistaAna Rita Marques, Patrícia Baptista, the former First lady Maria Cavaco Silva, the Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, Isabel Veiga and Maria Inês Almeida

MIT Portugal Program 2017 Call for Exploratory Proposals

Purpose and overview

[Informação em Português: Programa MIT Portugal - 2017 Concurso para Projetos de Investigação ExploratóriaConcurso para Projetos de Investigação Exploratória]

The MIT Portugal Program is a partnership between Portuguese Universities, Research Centers, Industry and The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to promote the investment in science, technology and higher education as a catalyser for social and economic development in Portugal.

The Program celebrated in 2016 its 10th anniversary and has been, throughout this decade, strengthening and developing a research platform for cutting-edge concepts in emerging areas of science and technology such as Bioengineering, Sustainable Energy and Transportation Systems and Integrated Product Design.

A Call for Proposals for Exploratory Research is opened within the MIT Portugal Program framework. This call is guided towards research projects with the potential to contribute towards the long-term objective of developing innovative products and services, demonstrating international competitiveness and innovative capacity in science and technology amongst public and private sectors and the entities of the National Scientific and Technology System (SCTN) under the following themes:

1. Integrative research based in the context of the Atlantic International Research Center (AIR Center);
2. Sustainable and data driven urban systems;
3. New industrial concepts and smart factories;
4. Bio & Medical Devices;
5. Sustainable Transportation Systems.

These projects will be also used to assess emergent scientific domains that could be considered in the design of a potential 3rd phase of the MIT Portugal Program. The projects developed should also contribute to the Azores International Research Center (AIR Center) scientific developments and objectives, as stated in the document “Towards a Science and Technology agenda for an integrative approach to the Atlantic: Climate Change and Energy Systems, Space and Ocean Sciences, through North-South cooperation”, available at FCT website.

What’s included

Under this call, a maximum of 18 (eighteen) exploratory projects are expected to receive funding. The actual number of exploratory projects funded will depend on the scale and scope of the proposed Initiatives and the quality of the proposals submitted.

The total amount available for Portuguese research institutions, as part of this research call, will be up to €1,800,000 (one million, eight hundred thousand euros), depending on proposal design and budget justifications.

Eligibility

Only the following entities are eligible to receive funding from FCT through the present call for proposals: Higher Education Institutions, their institutes and R&D centers; State or international Laboratories with headquarters in Portugal; Private non-profit institutions whose main objective is to carry out R&D activities; other private or public non-profit institutions that develop or participate in scientific research activities.

This call is for funding of research and development projects applied to Exploratory Research proposals by entities of the National Scientific and Technology System (NSTS), public and private partners.

The proposals submitted should include:

  • "projects in co-operation" carried out in a consortium, with the participation of two research teams from different entities as identified in section 2 of the  Announcement of the Call. One of them must be an entity referenced on Point 2.1 – “Higher Education Institutions, their institutes and R&D units”. The consortium may also include any other public or private entities, profit or not for profit, that may also invest in the exploratory research project and that may bring relevant competencies to the project;
  • A MIT researcher, who can be any person from the MIT research staff (faculty or research scientist). This participation should be confirmed by a “letter of collaboration”, to be submitted with the proposal.

How and when to apply

Applications must be submitted online, from January 18th, 2017 until March 8th, 2017 at 17:00 (Lisbon time), through the FCT website following the Announcement of the Call for Proposals.

Applicants should fill in the on-line FCT form according to the guidelines provided in the MIT Portugal Program: 2017 – Terms of Reference for the Call Proposals and after also reading carefully the Proposal submission Guide and the Announcement of the Call.

Evaluation

The selection and ranking of the applications will be as described at the MIT Portugal Program: 2017 – Terms of Reference for the Call Proposals, namely based on the following criteria:

  1. Scientific merit and innovative nature of the project, preferably within the scope of the priorities developed by the Atlantic International Research Center (AIR Center) initiative;
  2. Scientific merit of the research team;
  3. Feasibility of the work plan and reasonability of the budget;
  4. Contribution to the body of knowledge and competence of the National Science and Technology System;
  5. Potential economic value of the technology.

Contacts

Information on the scientific matters of the application form can be obtained from: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Information on the contents of the application form can be obtained from: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The information on this page does not replace or override any requirements set forth in the Regulations or the Announcement of the Call for Proposals.

StartMIT, an initiative to inspire Students to become Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurship and Innovation are once more the main focus of StartMIT, a two-and-a-half-week workshop at the MsMIT Boston, which exposes undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdocs to various entrepreneurial pathways. Between January 9th and 23rd, MIT Students will learn from leaders in innovation, participate in activities to refine their projects, and attend events with alumni and other leaders in the Boston entrepreneurial ecosystem. The MIT Portugal National Director, Pedro Arezes and Nuno Arantes Oliveira, Assistant Professor of the MIT-Portugal Program, attended as guests the first week of the workshop and engaged with entrepreneurs, innovators, and investors to explore and discuss the future of innovation.

How to launch a startup, make a good pitch, develop a funding strategy, contribute to a successful team or company, are some of the themes that will be under discussion. The event program includes nearly 70 high-profile speakers including Robert Langer, the MIT’s professor and MIT Portugal Faculty Member, who holds 1,100 issued and pending patents, being the most patented engineer in history. Professor Langer has also a h-index of 228, the highest of any engineer in history and his patents have licensed or sublicensed to over 300 companies.

StartMIT is a unique opportunity to work closely with MIT team of entrepreneurs and innovators, develop ideas and approach problems that need solving. Throughout the workshop students will be able to work alongside mentors to seek for advice and ideas and travel to several field trips to experience the startup culture. The initiative gives students an understanding of the resources and opportunities available to them during their time at MIT and beyond.  

StartMITDoug Hart (Professor at MIT's Department of Mechanical Engineering and E&I Faculty Lead for the MIT Portugal Program), Pedro Arezes and Nuno Arantes Oliveira (MIT Portugal) and Christina Chase (MIT’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Professor)

U.S. Ambassador to Portugal and the Portuguese Minister of Economy visited MIT to discuss transatlantic cooperation with Europe in the biotechnology sector

The U.S. Ambassador to Portugal, Robert Sherman, and the Portuguese Minister of Economy, Manuel Caldeira Cabral, traveled to Boston on December 19th and 20th to discuss transatlantic synergies with Europe in the biotechnology sector. They were joined by a first-class group of representatives from Portuguese biotech companies and investors in a visit co-organized by AICEP-Portuguese Trade and Investment Agency, Portugal Ventures, the U.S. Embassy in Portugal, and the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council—with the participation of the MIT Portugal Program.

The two-day visit started with an event entitled, “Portugal Day at MassBio,” at the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council (MassBio), in which Portuguese partners from startups in the life sciences sector, including FASTinov, Stemmatters, Gene PreDiT,  Immunethep and doDOC, together with Portuguese and American investors, discussed how Portugal is developing a vibrant biotech industry and creating a successful startup ecosystem with partners around the globe. Dr. Elazer Edelman, from Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, was the keynote speaker at the event, presenting a superb overview of the efforts and work done in the European and American healthcare systems, their impact on age distribution and the changes in the care delivery paradigm—focused on an aging population—that will require new medications, devices and methods. Dr. Edelman highlighted the improvements that the Portuguese scientific and entrepreneurial communities are doing to adjust to this new paradigm. The event also featured Robert Coughlin, President & CEO of the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council; Bruce Tidor, Director of MIT Portugal, Ambassador Robert Sherman, Minister Manuel Caldeira Cabral and José Velez Caroço, Consul General of Portugal in Boston.

On the second day of the official visit, the group of entrepreneurs visited Sanofi Genzyme, a world-class pharmaceutical company with facilities in Allston. The group made a tour to the premises and interacted with different stakeholders in conversations about the dynamics of the American market, while Ambassador Sherman, Minister Caldeira Cabral and Consul Velez Caroço went to different labs at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Their visit started at “Beaver Works,” an entrepreneurial initiative led by Professor Douglas Hart, who is also the E&I faculty lead for the MIT Portugal Program. Joost Bonsen, lecturer in Human Dynamics at the Media Lab, presented the evolution of MIT from its academic conception to an entrepreneurial institution.

The tour continued later at the Langer Lab, where the delegation had the chance to discuss firsthand with researchers topics such as groundbreaking techniques for controlled drug release and nano-biomaterials. The next stop was at the MIT Stata Center, where the group joined researchers to design and develop robots for industrial, military and space activities. The visit ended with a meeting hosted by the dean of the School of Engineering at MIT, Ian Waitz—bringing together the community of MIT Portugal faculty and PhD students currently staying at MIT. Attendees had the chance to share their experience of their time at MIT, as well as the evolution and impact of their research.

“Companies in Boston are strongly interested in investing in Portugal and this trip allowed us to demonstrate—right at the largest research centers in the health and biotechnology sector,—the vitality of Portuguese startups in these areas,” said Minister Caldeira Cabral. “This was also an opportunity to disclose the work in progress at Portuguese universities and hospitals, and to open a door for future collaborations and joint ventures to endorse knowledge and consequently transform it into innovative products and services.”

U.S.Ambassador and PT Minister of Economy at MITMIT Portugal faculty and PhD students with the Portuguese Consul General in Boston, José Rui Velez Caroço,  Minister of the Economy Manuel Caldeira Cabral, Dean of the engineering school at MIT Ian A. Waitz, Ambassador Robert Sherman,  and Bruce Tidor of MIT Portugal in the front row.

Innovative proposal in the wind energy sector won the Portuguese Association of Renewable Energies Award

Renewable energy was responsible for producing this year around 59% of the total amount of electricity in Portugal and it is expected that 1/3 comes from wind energy sources, according to data disclosed by APREN. It becomes more and more crucial to support alternative solutions to produce energy, a topic that was highlighted on the 2016 Portuguese Association of Renewable Energies Award which has honoured Bernardo Marques Amaral Silva, a INESCTEC researcher and a MIT Portugal Program Sustainable Energy Systems Phd doctorate at the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto with the first prize for his thesis “Multi-terminal HVDC Grids: Control Strategies for Ancillary Services Provision in Interconnected Transmission Systems with Offshore Wind Farms, a pioneering approach to take the best profit of Wind farms (WF).

Wind Energy (WE) has largely contributed to the de-carbonisation of the energy sector and consequently to the definition of the European Commission (EC) targets on renewable-based electricity generation. During the last decade, massive investment has culminated in the substantial installation of Wind Farms (WF). Moreover, the ambitious plans for increasing these targets on renewable-based electricity generation demand the deployment of more WF. However, the European Union has settled the goal for the level of greenhouse gas reduction by 40% (by comparison with 1990 levels) until 2030 and the share of renewable energy to 27% in terms of energy consumption.

Simultaneously, the Fukushima incident has put pressure on European governments regarding the use of nuclear power plants which, although not considered as renewable, have reduced emission of greenhouse gases (compared to conventional power plants based on fossil fuels).

In order to meet the new goals, it is expected a significant contribution from offshore wind farms (at sea). From a technical point of view, the adoption of High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) is crucial to allow the installation of high power PE and to manage high connexion distances from the mainland. Recent procedures intend to adopt direct current networks rather than connections “point-to-point” since they may also support the connection between mainland AC networks, allowing a greater integration of renewable sources and enabling the development of a European electricity market.