MIT Portugal's 2018 Annual Conference - the follow-up

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.

Hear from our Visiting Students

As phase two of the MIT Portugal Program winds down and the new MIT Portugal ramps up, our visiting students are getting the most out of their time on campus. Our current cohort of students hails from all over the world - from Porto to Pakistan.

Their areas of study include management of engineering systems in times of organizational transformation and rapid change, machine learning and AI as applied to the critical care services in hospitals, sustainable energy systems and much more.


What is your area of research and how will that research change the future?

Maria Raimundo, Instituto Superior Técnico (Lisbon)
Maria RaimundoI'm just half way through my PhD in Bioengineering Systems. My research focuses on the value proposition and adopted strategies of genetic testing companies worldwide. For that I've looked into how the improvement of next generation sequencing technologies contributed to emergence and development of the genetic testing market, especially wellness genetics. And, how the regulatory gap contributed to the growth of the wellness genetic testing market. Hopefully, it will help genetic testing companies adapt their business models more effectively and improve their value proposition, according to the regulatory environment and the customers' perception and needs. This will ultimately trigger the increased use of genetic tests as a routine personalized medicine tool in the healthcare system.

André Filipe Duarte da Silva, Instituto Superior Técnico
André Filipe Duarte da SilvaI am currently finishing my PhD and I’m working in machine learning and artificial intelligence applied to the critical care services in hospitals. I believe very strongly that artificial intelligence is the way forward for many different areas of science and of society. We are generating more data than ever before, and human analysts just cannot analyse it all in a useful amount of time. This data can contain a lot of useless information but more often than not it also contains incredible nuggets of knowledge that we would be wasting if we don’t find a better way to organize and analyse it. This is where artificial intelligence comes in, by training these algorithms to identify useful information we can easily integrate it in whatever systems we need, creating dynamic solutions for everyday problems.

Olga Savchuk, Instituto Superior Técnico
Olga SavchukI am half way through my PhD in Sustainable Energy Systems. To retain and improve our level of comfort, we need to practice sustainable and resilient ways to fuel our society. Renewable energy comes at a cost of great uncertainties for the system, which means higher risks of failures. Machine Learning can create value by improving consistency of operation and reducing the need for maintenance routines of power systems. 

Fernando Caixeta Lisboa, University of Coimbra
Fernando Caixeta Lisboa My area of research is Sustainable Energy Systems. I am in the second year of my Ph.D. For myself, sustainability should lead the world forward. Therefore, if you increase the Sustainable Energy Systems use, it is possible to have more sustainable actions.


Which lab or professor are you working with? What knowledge or skills will you bring back to your university?

Aldo Robles Arevalo, Instituto Superior Técnico
I am working with Stan Finkelstein (IDSS) and Leo Celi (IMES). I will bring back the skill of how to work and lead projects with colleagues having different backgrounds and to share knowledge. But mainly, confidence and to not be afraid of expressing your ideas and point of views.

Benjamin Meindl, Instituto Superior Técnico
Benjamin MeindlAt MIT my host is Daron Acemoglu, an Economist, who developed a method to "Modeling Automation." Due to the high interdisciplinary nature of my work I am also reaching out to people from other departments.
I will bring back three things: Contacts- to many people I am meeting here, who work on related fields and might become great partners to discuss ideas and get feedback. Methods- MIT offers a variety of classes or lecture series that I can attend, which allows me to extend my knowledge in, e.g., Natural Language Processing or Economics. Ideas- discussing my work with different people gives many ideas for future research directions, and feedback of how to frame my work to maximize impact.

André Mendes de Carvalho, University of Minho
André Mendes de CarvalhoHere at MIT I’m working with Eric Rebentisch, at the Sociotechnical Systems Research Center. More than anything, I developed new, broader perspectives and acquired a new approach to science and research. I feel like I am now more capable of going straight to the point and addressing a problem in a more practical way, even when considering a wider set of variables in a system. I have also learned a lot on how important it is to have an innovative and entrepreneurial perspective over science in general and our research projects in particular; and how communicating it efficiently is vital.


What are your plans for when you return to your home university?

Olga Savchuk
I plan to expand my model to better fit the use cases in a European context.

Kashif Mushtaq, University of Porto, Portugal
Kashif MushtaqResearch Area is Energy Storage and he is completing his PhD in Sustainable Energy Systems.
Working with Prof. Dr. Donald Robert Sadoway at Group Sadoway Laboratory of Department of Materials Science & Engineering (DMSE).
I will be an ambassador of carrying forward the MIT mission to advance knowledge and educate students in science, technology and to invent key solutions of the problems that will best serve the nation. I seek to develop in each member of my community the ability and passion to work wisely, creatively, and effectively for the betterment of humankind. And obviously last but not the least, I will try to finish my PhD research ????.

Francisco José Nibau Antunes, University of Coimbra, Portugal
Francisco José Nibau AntunesTransportation Systems, PhD student working with Professor Christopher Zegras, MIT Department of Transportation and Urban Planning.
I plan to continue my research this time, however, enhanced by the contacts, knowledge and experience I have acquired at MIT. The idea is that this link to MIT is not broken at all with my return to Portugal. Quite the contrary, it should be maintained and strengthened not only for the sake of my current work, but also for future research collaboration projects.


What would you recommend to other international visiting students who are at MIT?

Maria Raimundo
Once you know you'll be able to come to MIT, start looking for accommodation by sending out emails through MIT's housing database and schedule the viewings the week before starting you studies here, or even earlier. This will give you a better chance of finding a nice place to stay and not needing to move very often. Also, if you're staying during the winter, invest in a good winter jacket. You'll definitely need it!

Francisco José Nibau Antunes
Live the MIT experience fully! Meet professors, experts, other students, staff, people in general, get acquainted with ongoing and future research projects, attend to classes and talks, do sports, travel...the list of possibilities is virtually endless. Oh, I almost forgot: in the process get some free food to unsure that you have enough energy to handle this multidimensional experience.

Kashif Mushtaq
MIT is full of events, probably like a big buffet of dishes and one cannot eat all the dishes at once. So, one should choose according to his/her tastes. My advice is to be focused and choose the events which are yummier as per your taste.


What is your favorite thing you have eaten in Boston/Cambridge? Or your favorite place to eat?

André Filipe Duarte da Silva
There is this very small and cute Chinese restaurant in Boston called Mary Chung’s and there they serve the best Chinese spicy food that I have eaten anywhere else! Don’t forget to bring a big appetite (the doses are pretty large) and cash, they don’t take cards.

Francisco José Nibau Antunes
Oh, so many things and places. Do we really need to talk about that? I just hope that I do not gain weight, that's all :)

André Mendes de Carvalho
Any good brunch will do… But I always recommend the lobster and the clam chowder!

Benjamin Meindl
Burger, Barbecue and Steak, even though I try to keep it for special occasions and stay with healthy food otherwise.

Maria Raimundo
As a healthy food lover, I really enjoy going to By Chloe to eat the best healthiest burger ever, with the air-fried sweet potato fries. Delicious!


What is the one thing someone should not miss in your hometown?

Aldo Robles Arevalo, Mexico City, Mexico
Visiting the National museum of Anthropology, Chapultepec castle, colonial palaces and numerous cathedrals in the downtown area to appreciate Hispanic baroque art. For those who love Frida Kahlo, I highly recommend a visit to the Coyoacan neighborhood, it is where she and Diego Rivera used to live. Of course, try the real tacos there.

Olga Savchuk, Kiev, Ukraine
Historical artifacts from the time of Kievan Rus, together with the art museum are the places one should visit in Kiev.

Maria Raimundo, Lisbon
Walk alongside the Tejo river or the Atlantic Ocean to see our beautiful coastline full of amazing beaches.

Kashif Mushtaq, Karachi, Pakistan
I have been living in Porto for the last two years, but my hometown is Karachi, Pakistan- nicknamed the “City of Lights.” One should never miss a chance to taste the delicious dish named as “Biryani” and it is best to eat it at “Do Darya”. This street is full of restaurants with facades on the beach and Arabian Sea.

Fernando Caixeta Lisboa, Uberlândia, Brazil
Certainly, the food. In my city, it is possible to eat the famous and unique Pão-de-queijo (Brazilian Cheese Bread ball).

MIT Portugal features on the MIT News

The new phase of the MIT Portugal Program, codename "MPP2030", featured on the MIT news website.

news header

The full article can be read here.

The MIT Portugal is preparing to step up to the new global challenges, with innumerous new initiatives being prepared and announced shortly. Continue to visit the website for news, and for any inquires, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Host an MIT student Intern

The MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI) in collaboration with the MIT Portugal can help you host a MIT student in your institution.

Click on the imagine for more details.

MISTI websiteMPP

Atlantic International Satellite Launch Programme

Atlantic International Satellite launch Programme: Launch services to Space from the Island of Santa Maria, Azores (PT)

Image Atlantic Space

This is a Joint Initiative of the Government of Portugal and the Regional Government of the Azores, through the Portuguese Science and Technology Foundation (FCT) and the Mission Structure of the Azores for Space (EMA-Space), with the technical support of the European Space Agency (ESA) and will be addressed at the welcome session by the Minister for Science, Technology and Higher Education. 

The document below provides insights into the initiative and provides details for interested parties on how to submit an expression of interest. The initiative will be also presented in a “Breaking News Event” on the 2nd of October, 11am, during the International Astronautically Congress, IAC 2018 in Bremen,

pdf ATLANTIC I S L PHASE 1 e book (3 MB)