Experiments aboard the International Space Station (ISS)

A joint research team from Institute for Systems and Robotics (ISR-Lisboa), Instituto Superior Técnico (IST), and from the Space Systems Laboratory from MIT (SSL-MIT), was responsible for an experiment aboard the International Space Station (ISS) that took place in August 17th, 2018.


This experiment was developed under two MIT-Portugal Seedling projects, coordinated by Prof. David Miller from MIT and involving both institutes. The experiment, called ReSwarm, involved the evaluation of two methodologies for formation control of the NASA SPHERES free-flying robots, in microgravity. This is the first of (at least) two sessions, where more complex scenarios are planned. From ISR-Lisboa, the research work is coordinated by Prof. Rodrigo Ventura and Prof. Pedro U. Lima, both faculty at IST, together with the researchers Pedro Roque (currently at KTH in Stockholm) and Duarte Dias (currently at EPFL in Lausanne). From the SSL-MIT side, the research is coordinated by Prof. David Miller, faculty at MIT, and Danilo Roascio, postdoc at SSL-MIT.

The first session, performed in August 17th, was overall quite successful, allowing for the collection of a significant amount of data, currently being thoroughly analysed. The team was supported by astronauts Cmd Drew Feustel and Ricky Arnold on ISS, who helped not only setting up the robots, as well as replacing batteries and the CO2 bottles that provide thrust to the robots.

Article written by Rodrigo Ventura

IN+ Summer School brings together students and practitioners to discuss Urban challenges and solutions

SC 02Courtesy of Patricia Candeias

Cities are responsible for 80% of wealth creation, 60% of total energy consumption and 70% of greenhouse gas emissions. Urban analytics enables us to better understand what happens and ensure better management and planning of city environments.

Lisbon, August 3rd, 2018

Urban environments face several challenges, such as rising population, high pollution, and growing mobility issues. Urban analytics can play a crucial role to mitigate the risks associated with these challenges. We know now how to measure and store great volumes of data, but we must apply relevant tools to make sense of the results.

SC 01Courtesy of Olga Savchuk

The IN+ Summer School of Urban Analytics team brought together 22 researchers and professionals from fifteen different countries for a week-long experience in mid-July. This year’s edition was focused on the energy in buildings and urban transportation dimensions of urban environment. During the School, the invited keynote speakers Paulo Ferrão (FCT), Rui Fragoso (ADENE), Tiago Farias (CARRIS) and Claudia Soares (ISR-Lisboa) shared their experiences of how to extract value from data and improve sustainability. IN+ center researchers conducted interactive tutorials and leisure visits to the cities of Lisbon, Cascais and Sintra.

SC 03Courtesy of Patricia Baptista

Together with the Summer School team, participants explored several design techniques and tools to create and conduct a scientifically relevant research. To help make sense of urban data, several software tools were introduced during the School: a geographic information system tool (ArcGIS), a programming language for data analysis (Python), an energy modelling tool (EnergyPlus), an urban mobility tool (UMT), and a data visualization tool (Tableau). The tools were applied to better understand the behavioral patterns of groups of citizens using energy and transport systems. Recommendations were formulated to improve the sustainability of each citizen group.

Our participants say:

  • ‘It is an opportunity to get acquainted with the basic data analysis software, get inspiration for further work, work in multidisciplinary team.’
  • ‘Fantastic and very interesting approach!’
  • ‘It’s an opportunity to learn software that help to manage data.’
  • ‘Great atmosphere, excellent presentations!’

The IN+ Summer School team is grateful for the support from our partners to CIUL - Centro de Informação Urbana de Lisboa, the Sharing Cities Project  and Altice Labs for providing their comfortable and educative spaces.

After this successful experience, the second edition of the IN+ Summer School is foreseen in 2019. If you would like to be informed about the second edition – check our page [http://in3.dem.ist.utl.pt/summerschool] or write to us [This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.]!

About IN+ Center for Innovation, Technology and Policy Research

It is a cross-disciplinary research venue, acting to integrate scientific research in technology, innovation and public policy, striving to promote the sustainable application of science. Institutionally, IN+ operates at Técnico Lisboa. The activities bring together researchers from various research areas – from Engineering to the Social and Economic Sciences – who join efforts to achieve a sustainable society, by cooperating with industry and fostering a scientific culture in our spaces, fellows and communities. Particularly, research in Industrial Ecology and Sustainability aims to improve urban sustainability through the design of complex sustainable systems that help understand and model the links among: population dynamics, energy and materials’ usage, ecosystem services, environmental impacts of human activities, economic growth.

More info: http://in3.tecnico.ulisboa.pt

Article written by the team of IN+ Summer School

University of Coimbra shows the way for a sustainable energy future

The growing need to contribute for a sustainable and low-carbon economy has created pressure for a better energy harvesting and usage, thus resulting in challenges for the current state of the energy sector.

Contributing to mitigate these challenges, 16 scientists from the Energy for Sustainability Initiative of the University of Coimbra, mostly current and former PhD students of the Sustainable Energy Systems Doctoral Program published last Friday, July 27, the result of a broad-based research marking the path to a more sustainable energy future. The work was approved for publication in the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews international journal and is available in the following link (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rser.2018.07.023).

This research results from a multidisciplinary collaboration through which interconnections between various energy systems were considered, taking into account social, economic and environmental aspects. This work addresses the need and the importance of investing in energy efficiency, and indicates as well the interest in developing new technologies and increasing the use of renewable energies.

Topics covered include:

  • the adaptation of electricity markets and associated infrastructure to the growing contribution of renewable energy;
  • the evolution of city dynamics, looking at transport, buildings and commuting;
  • the implementation of energy communities;
  • the spread of electric vehicles and the importance of bioenergy and biofuels.

This broad, factual and multidisciplinary research contributes for the frontier of knowledge advance on a set of themes that can aims to achieve a more sustainable future, with relevant content for scientists, companies, policy makers and entrepreneurs. This research also contributes to strengthening the value of multidisciplinarity that moves the Energy for Sustainability Initiative of the University of Coimbra founded 12 years ago.

Full Paper:

Soares, N., Martins, A., Carvalho, A., Caldeira, C., Du, C., & Castanheira, É. et al. (2018). The challenging paradigm of interrelated energy systems towards a more sustainable future. Renewable And Sustainable Energy Reviews, 95, 171-193. doi: 10.1016/j.rser.2018.07.023


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.

portuguese entrepreneurs at mit s international workshop on innovating 1

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