Portuguese Entrepreneurs at MIT's International Workshop on Innovating

This June, MIT’s 2018 International Workshop on Innovating (IWI2018) attracted more than 30 entrepreneurs from Portuguese and other European universities.

IWI is a residential, hands-on program, supported by the MIT Portugal Program (MPP) and co-organized by MIT and MPP faculty, focused on exposing participants to critical elements that lead to an understanding of innovation and mastering of entrepreneurial challenges that are central for translating innovation into solutions for real-world problems and demands. The workshop is primarily designed for aspiring entrepreneurs who are planning to start entrepreneurial activities in the near future and entrepreneurs who have started or are in the process of starting their business.

Instructors and participants from ten different nations, representing novel entrepreneurial ideas as well as emerging and new start-ups, jointly transformed the classroom into a space of collaborative exchange and translational innovation, combining entrepreneurial theory and practice through interactive seminars, hands-on exercises, and selected guest lectures by entrepreneurs and visionaries, who have successfully brought ideas to market. More than twenty of the participants were from Portugal and MPP, including current MPP students and alumni.

Thiago Sobral Marques da Silva, an MPP PhD student in Transportations Systems, was one of the participants and commented that “IWI was a great opportunity for me to learn and practice tools for developing and pitching my business idea. It was highly valuable to have a team of instructors and speakers who have actual hands-on experience in translating research and ideas into innovation and startups. I found the workshop to be of great value for those who wish to start a company as well as for those who plan stay in academia and foster partnerships with companies.”

The International Workshop on Innovating is one of the many annual activities supported by MPP to strengthen Portugal’s innovation ecosystem and jumpstart new entrepreneurial initiatives. Over the years, MPP has been inspiring, stimulating, and facilitating the formation of more than 80 start-ups in Portugal through different channels, a testimony of the strong commitment of the program to innovation and entrepreneurship in Portugal.

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Prime Minister António Costa of Portugal champions innovation in MIT talk

Visit follows renewal of popular MIT Portugal Program.

Source: Peter Dizikes | MIT News Office

Prime Minister António Costa of Portugal heralded the importance of science and innovation in a visit to the Institute on Monday, days after his country formally renewed the popular MIT Portugal Program.

‘The future arrives quicker than expected,” said Costa, in remarks to a filled lecture hall in MIT’s Stata Center, adding: “There is no better way to prepare our modern society and economy for the unexpected path of innovation and technological development than to invest in the education of younger generations.”

Costa’s visit came about 10 days after the official renewal of the MIT Portugal Program, a joint endeavor to push forward scientific research and innovation while creating collaborations between industry and academia.

MIT Provost Martin A. Schmidt, speaking just before Costa, said Institute leaders were “pleased and thrilled” to have seen “MIT Portugal develop across a range of programs and projects in research, education, and innovation.”

Costa also had a one-on-one meeting with MIT President L. Rafael Reif, who told the Portugese leader that it was a “tremendous honor” to meet him. ‘There is much to admire about your country,” he said.

The MIT Portugal program provides opportunities for exceptional students to study at MIT and in Portugal, working with faculty from both MIT and Portugese  universities. Now entering its third phase, the program will have an emphasis on research in earth sciences, climate studies, data science, digital design and manufacturing, and urban studies.

The program was created in 2006 and renewed for the first time in 2013, with this year’s long-term renewal of support by Portugal being made official on June 1. The program has had over 1,000 students over the last 12 years.

Prime Minister of Portugal António Costa Prime Minister of Portugal António Costa

“MIT Portugal has had a huge impact on our scientific system and universities,” Costa said.

MIT’s faculty lead for the new phase of the program will be Dava Newman, the Apollo Professor of Astronautics and Engineering Systems at MIT, who praised Portugal on Monday for having “the vision to invest in their work force.”

Costa, a native of Lisbon, has been prime minister of Portugal since 2015. He served the federal government in Portugal in a variety of ministerial roles for about a decade before serving as mayor of Lisbon from 2007 through 2015.

Costa was accompanied by a delegation of Portugese officials, including Manuel Heitor, the Portuguese minister for science, technology, and higher education.

“MIT Portugal is about the future,” said Heitor, an engineering professor by trade who has written extensively about science and technology policy, and also spoke at the event. Heitor added: “We want to address new challenges.” 

The Portugese leaders also toured workspaces at MIT, including an extended stop at the Robot Locomotion Group led by Russ Tedrake, the Toyota Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Aeronautics and Astronautics, and Mechanical Engineering at MIT.

Costa and Heitor also talked to a group of about a dozen Portugese graduate students currently at the Institute as part of the MIT Portugal Program. The students discussed their fields of study, which included clean energy, civil engineering, management, and medical research.

“These people are leaders — who represent our own ambition,” said Heitor, referring to the students.

At one point, Costa also asked the students, “What can we do to improve the program?” In response, Luiz Lisboa de Silva Cardoso, a graduate student in mechanical engineering, simply quipped, “Keep going.”

Costa affirmed his desire to do so in his talk, concluding, “We are proud to have MIT as our partner because, we believe, with MIT, the sky is not the limit.”

Original Article at news.mit.edu

Remembering Joseph Sussman

Joe SussmanThe MIT Portugal Program celebrates the life of Joseph Sussman, MIT Portugal Transportation faculty member, and Professor at MIT’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) who passed away in March 2018 at the age of 79.

Dr. Joseph M. Sussman was the JR East Professor (endowed by the East Japan Railway Company) in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Institute of Data, Systems and Society (IDSS) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he served as a faculty member for 50 years.

He joined the MIT faculty in 1967 and from 1977 to 1979, worked as Associate Dean of Engineering for Educational Programs. In 2006, he initiated the transportation systems focus area for the MIT Portugal Program, where he participated  in the development and teaching, in collaboration with three Portuguese universities, of the new international masters in Complex Transportation Infrastructure Systems, in the foundations of the new Doctoral Program in Transportation Systems, and in research connected to transportation systems in general. Sussman also worked on ITS (intelligent transportation systems) to help build a U.S. national program and served as the first Distinguished University Scholar at ITS America from 1991-92.

During his professional life he worked on the development of an “intelligent corridor” in Bangkok; a comparison of ITS programs in Western Europe, Japan, and the U.S.; building regional architectures in Massachusetts; and emergency response and institutional issues concerning ITS and the provision of “flexibility” in surface transportation through intelligent technologies. He was the program chair of the ITS America annual meeting in 2000. In his last years he served as the chairman of the Intelligent Transportation Systems Program Advisory Committee for the U.S. Department of Transportation, advising the department on all facets of its Intelligent Transportation Systems Program. In 2015 Professor Joseph was elected to the Intelligent Transportation Society of America Hall of Fame.

According to Professor Luís Picado Santos who worked closely with him and others in the enhancement and development of the transportation focus area of the MIT Portugal Program, Joe was an exceptional human being and an outstanding Professor and Researcher that delivered a robust contribution for the success of the initiative.

Some of his friends and co-workers left their online testimony to honour his life and work, who will surely be greatly missed.

Obituary in Boston Globe

Manuel Heitor at MIT to discuss the 3rd phase of the MIT Portugal Program partnership

The Portuguese Minister for Science, Technology and High Education, Prof. Manuel Heitor, has visited the MIT on February 27th with the aim of defining the final terms of the agreement signed between the Portuguese Government and MIT. This new contract aims at extending the MIT Portugal Programa to a third phase, until 2030. 

During this visit, Prof. Manuel Heitor was received by the MIT Vice President for Research, Prof. Maria Zuber (see photo), as well as by Prof. Richard Lester, the current MIT responsible for all the institute major international efforts.

The meeting held during the day included also a meeting principal investigators of the some of the MPP seed projects, recently announced by MIT, and  a work lunch with more nearly 20 PhD students from the MIT Portugal Program that are currently doing a research stay at MIT.

Among other decisions, it was established that there will be two kickoff events for this new phase, one to be held in Portugal, in mid-April, and another one in Boston, in early June.

In the Media: Diário de Notícias, Jornal Económico, Tek sapo online, Notícias ao Minuto.

Manuel Heitor at MIT 3rd phase br(from right) Prof. Maria Zuber (MIT Vice President for Research), Prof. Richard Lester (MIT Associate Provost for international activities); Prof. Manuel Heitor (Portuguese Minister for Science, Technology and High Education); Prof. Dava Newman (MIT Portugal Program Director at MIT); Prof. António Cunha (Member of the MIT Portugal Program Governing Board); Prof. Pedro Arezes (MIT Portugal Program National Director).

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