MIT Portugal Sponsored Event, EarthHack 2019

The second annual EarthHack event brought together 30 people committed to mitigating climate change to work for a full day to develop quick, actionable insights using data and design. Held at MIT, the mini hackathon was hosted by the EarthSpeaks team from the Human Systems Lab and sponsored by the MIT Portugal program. Participants came together from MIT, Harvard, Georgetown, the Parsons School of Design, Columbia, the Rhode Island School of Design, and the Knight Science Journalism Fellowship. Participants broke into two teams for the day: those focused on data and those focused on design. The data group was assisted by Dr. Cait Crawford, a Distinguished Engineer at IBM who specializes in using data and code to solve societal problems such as maternal deaths in childbirth. The design group was assisted by Gui Trotti, an architect and industrial designer with expertise in designing for extreme environments.

The mini hackathon ran from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Participants took a break from working sessions to hear from retired astronaut Dr. Cady Coleman and glass artist Josh Simpson. Dr. Coleman talked about how her experience working with astronauts from other countries taught her how to work better in teams, a skill that was key for the hackathon participants as they formed teams to tackle the problem of climate change. Simpson shared stories about his career as an artist, highlighting his passion for making miniature worlds inside glass globes.

At the end of the day, six teams presented their ideas for mitigating climate change. The judges voted on the presentations and selected the top three teams:

  • First place went to a team from the MIT/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program (MIT-WHOI) who were joined by a student in MIT's Operations Research Center (ORC). This team consisted of Joleen Heiderich, Julie Jakobski, Sam Levang, and Sebastian Essink of MIT-WHOI, as well as Angi Orfanoudaki of ORC. They advanced interpretable AI for climate disasters, creating a prototype of an app that would allow a user to input their country and year and return mortality risk and contributing factors, all based on climate data.
  • Second place went to a team from the MIT Sea Grant who were joined by a student from Harvard's Graduate School of Design (GSD). This team consisted of Ben Bray, Dr. Luca Bonfiglio, José del Águila Ferrandis, and Ellery Rajagopal of Sea Grant as well as Vaishnavi Magar of GSD; the group built on research being done by the MIT Sea Grant. They worked on modeling and understanding ocean temperature using machine learning, where a major challenge is that the trends in temperature change over time, making it difficult to predict future temperatures.
  • Third place went to a team named One Small Step, which consisted of Deepa Rao, Craig McLean, Caroline Rozendo, and Gabriel Pereira of MIT as well as Ada Shaw of Harvard. They worked on developing a survey that would aggregate a user's lifestyle choices and contextualize it against statewide averages to increase awareness about how peoples' lifestyle impacts climate.

The prizes awarded were $250, $150, and $100 respectively.

The event built upon the existing community engaged in the conversation about climate change. The EarthSpeaks team will stay in touch with their new contacts and look forward to working together to mitigate climate change.

 earthhack 1The leadership from EarthHack pose for a photo with retired astronaut Dr. Cady Coleman and glass artist Josh Simpson. (L to R: Coleman, Simpson, Dr. Dava Newman, Trotti, Elle Carberry. Not pictured: Crawford)

earthhack2EarthHack participants continue to work on their projects during lunchtime.

How SMART is Lisbon? - MPP Student evaluates projects on this theme

As part of an EY (Ernst & Young) induction program, which involved a group of 75 new graduates, the MIT Portugal PhD Student, Mariza Queiroz, joined the panel of judges who evaluated projects on the theme: How SMART is Lisbon?

LisbonPhoto by Andreas Brücker on Unsplash

Within this question and the new paradigms of the Smart Cities, the new graduates had as goal to identify already implemented projects and essentially new opportunities that could be developed and integrated as proposals to be made to the city of Lisbon.

Each team had a geographic area for exploration and a set of profiles to be considered as basis for the analysis of the terrain:

  • Geographical areas: Saldanha / Bairro Alto / Chiado / Rossio / Av. Da Liberdade / Terreiro do Paço / Cais do Sodré;
  • Profiles: Resident / Daily user; Tourist of Leisure; Business Traveler; Old man; Disabled Citizen.

Throughout this prospect, on the ground, the teams developed a plan/proposal to present to a panel of juries composed of EY and external entities (Lisbon City Hall, Turismo de Portugal, APPADCM Lisbon and MIT Portugal / IST).

news article - PCGuia

Minister Manuel Heitor Visits MIT to Announce Call for Flagship Proposals

Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education, Manuel Heitor, visited MIT on February 4th for a full day of activities around the MIT Portugal Program, MPP2030. The primary objective of his visit was to announce the call for flagship project proposals at MIT. Minister Heitor was accompanied by FCT President Paulo Ferrão, AIR Centre Director, Joaquin Brito, and a delegation of Portuguese guests from various industries and higher education institutes.

Following his morning announcement to the MIT community, Minister Heitor enjoyed presentations of current seed and testbed research projects. Presenters included Prof. Brian Wardle, Introduction of Advanced Materials Technologies into new product development for the mobility industries; Prof. Christoph Reinhart, SusCity—Urban data driven models for creative and resourceful urban transitions, and many others. The day concluded with Portuguese guests touring several labs on the MIT campus including the Media Lab’s Open Ocean Initiative and Prof. John Leonard’s Marine Robotics Group. Thank you to all of the students, faculty, staff and guests who made the day so impactful.

Find more information on the call for flagship proposals here.

Minister Manuel Heitor Visits MIT

ANI prepares to announce a competition to International Partnerships

This month, FCT, Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia, and ANI, Associação Nacional para a Inovação, will launch a competition to fund projects as a collaboration between companies and non-corporate entities of the R&I system, with a planned budget of 18 M€.

The launch of this competition marks the beginning of the third phase of MIT Portugal Program, and the other international partnerships with Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) the University of Texas in Austin (UT Austin).

The research areas for projects under the MIT Portugal Program are:

The competition will follow a model in which Portuguese companies lead the process to modernise the economic fabric, by strengthening the innovation ecosystem in Portugal. This way, the initiative is focusing on increasing the value of Portuguese companies into a dynamic force in collaborative networks and projects, with support from Portuguese R&D institutions, drawing on the experience and knowledge of North American universities.

The call will be launched trough the Balcão Portugal 2020 platform and applications will be allowed from collaborative projects led by Portuguese companies, implemented in partnership with Portuguese academic bodies that contribute to consolidating the intergovernmental “Atlantic Interactions” initiative.

Details will be announced soon.


Flagship ProInterface ANI FCT

Blue Origin Payload Competition

The MIT Portugal just launched the Blue Origin Payload Competition.

Please click on the image for more details.

BO Competition Image vHOMEPAGE