A chief goal of MIT Portugal research is to create competitive advantage for Portugal in Europe through directed inquiry in advanced areas of science and technology that show great potential. During the Program’s initial two years, our four focus areas – Bioengineering, Engineering Design and Advanced Manufacturing, Sustainable Energy Systems, and Transportation Systems – each launched a robust portfolio of research projects, many of which are ongoing. In addition, we developed a number of integrative research projects under our Engineering Systems anchor program. We have subsequently identified promising new areas of inquiry, however, and now focus our research in the following areas:

Stem Cell Engineering for Regenerative Medicine

Through research projects on stem cell engineering for regenerative medicine, the MIT Portugal Program addresses the development of novel therapies for an aging society, and their clinical implementation.

Sustainable Energy and Transportation Systems

The development of sustainable energy and transportation systems addresses the global challenge of providing critical services to increasingly urban populations under significant resource constraints. Through sustainable energy and transportation systems research projects, the MIT Portugal Program aims to enhance the sustainability of social activity as well as the natural and built environments. We focus on the challenges of regional sustainability, and are developing new tools, such as urban metabolism, to evaluate and design complex local systems.

Materials and Design-Inspired Products

MIT Portugal Program research on materials and design-inspired products targets products and associated services resulting from the integration of science and technology (including advanced modeling tools) into competitive solutions for niche markets in the mobility industries (e.g., automotive and aeronautics) and the health sector (medical devices).

Fundamentals of Engineering Systems

The MIT-Portugal Program has its intellectual foundations in engineering systems and systems thinking. Engineering systems is an emerging field that integrates engineering, management and social sciences to achieve the best possible understanding, design, and implementation of the highly complex, technology-based systems on which society is increasingly dependent. Further, Engineering Systems account for multiple stakeholder perspectives, by exploring flexibility, robustness, scalability, safety, security, durability, sustainability, reliability, quality, recyclability, and maintainability – the "ilities" often left out of traditional analysis, but critical to developing lasting solutions.

Research within fundamentals of Engineering Systems is grouped into the following four clusters of methodologies: