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Home  > Emerging Technologies  > News  > INL and MIT Launch Joint Program for the Recruitment of Senior Researchers

INL and MIT Launch Joint Program for the Recruitment of Senior Researchers

 - 29/05/2009

Logo of INL International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory The International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory (INL), located in Braga, and MIT – Massachusetts Institute of Technology signed an agreement on 30 May 2009 for a joint Program for the recruitment of Senior Researchers and for collaboration concerning particularly promising research leading to scientific contributions of major international relevance for nanoscience and nanotechnology.

This cooperation agreement is the result of detailed preparation work of more than one year which has involved three bilateral meetings (1st INL-MIT Meeting, 2nd INL-MIT Meeting, 3rd INL-MIT Meeting) and numerous other contacts which have involved contacts from MIT and INL and which were mediated by the Ministry for Science, Technology and Higher Education. The agreement foresees the joint hiring of 10 Senior Researchers for the INL who will have periods of working at MIT and at the INL on joint projects and jointly selected themes and which will have major relevance for nanomedicine and nanoscientific applications monitoring the environment, energy systems and control of food quality. The agreement was signed by the Director-General of the INL, José Rivas, and by the Dean of the School of Engineering at MIT, Subra Suresh.

INL is the first nanotechnology laboratory in the world which has the legal status of being an international organisation and is also the first international laboratory in the Iberian Peninsula in any area of science. The decision to set up this first international laboratory in the Iberian Peninsula was decided jointly by Portugal and Spain at the Summit between the governments of the two countries which was held in November 2005.

Given its legal status as an international organisation, established by treaty between countries and whose members may be from States from anywhere in the world, the INL offers an open, flexible environment for nanotechnology for researchers of any nationality working together on projects such as those which are currently being developed in international laboratories such as CERN in Geneva, for particle physics, or IMBL in Heidelberg, for molecular biology.

INL is being set up at an accelerated rhythm. The general plan to establish INL was approved in 2006, the year in which the Committee to setup INL was legally constituted and the location to build the facilities was decided upon, which was given to the State by Braga Municipal Council. The statutes of INL were signed as a Convention between the two countries at the Portugal and Spain Summit of November 2006. The project to set it up took place during 2007, as well as the process of parliamentary approval for the treaty and the statutes in the two countries and the corresponding ratification by the Heads of State. In the Portugal and Spain Summit in January 2008, which was held in Braga, an Headquarters Agreement for the International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory was signed between the Portuguese State and the INL, which laid down the Portuguese conditions under which INL would operate, including the usual privileges and immunities attributed to international research institutions, and the maquette of the premises to be constructed went on public display. Construction work was started in July 2008 and the facilities are due to be opened in the summer of 2009.

The Supreme Governing Body of the INL is its Council, which consists of members representing the Portuguese Ministry for Science, Technology and Higher Education, Luís Magalhães (President of the Council), the President of the Knowledge Society Agency (UMIC), João Sentieiro, President of the Science and Technology Foundation (FCT), Carolina Rego Costa, Advisor to the Ministry for Science, Technology and Higher Education, and representing the Ministry for Science and Innovation of Spain, Montserrat Torné, Director-General of International Cooperation and Institutional Relations, José Manuel Labastida, Director-General of Research and Management of the National R+D+I Plan, and Fernando Briones, Research Professor of the Higher Council for Scientific Research Agency. The Laboratory is run by a Director-General, José Rivas, and a Deputy Director-General, Paulo Freitas.

The 1st meeting of the International Scientific Council of INL took place in December 2007, which was made up of the following members: Roberto G.M. Caciuffo, Research Director for Actinoids, European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Institute for Transuranium Elements, Karlsruhe, Germany; Thomas Jovin, Director of the Department of Molecular Biology, Max-Plank Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen, Germany; Emilio Mendez, Príncipe de Asturias Award for Scientific and Technical Research in 1998, Department of Physics and Astronomy of the State University of New York at Stony Brook, from 1 November 2006, Director of the recently established Center for Functional Nanomaterials at Brookhaven National Laboratory; Christopher B. Murray, American Chemical Society's Nobel Laureate Signature Award in 1997, Richard Perry University Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and Chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania since October 2006, Manager of the Nanoscale Materials and Devices Department, IBM, T.J. Watson Research Ctr., Yorktown Heights, New York, USA, where he has worked since 1995; Aristides A. G. Requicha, holder of the Gordon Marshall Chair in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, Director of the Laboratory for Molecular Robotics, University of Southern California, in November 2006 named editor-in-chief of IEEE Transactions on Nanotechnology, Los Angeles, USA; Mihail C. Roco, Carl Duisberg Award, Burgers Professorship Award, Engineer of the Year Award (1999, 2004), Chair of the Subcommittee on Nanoscale Science of the US National Science and Technology Council, Coordinator of the Engineering and Technology Initiative for Academic Liaison with Industry of the National Science Foundation (NSF), Senior Advisor for Nanotechnology at NSF, he worked on the drawing up of the US National Nanotechnology Initiative which was approved in 2004, in Arlington, Virginia, USA; Heinrich Rohrer, 1986 Nobel Prize Winner for Physics for the invention, along with Gerd Binnig, of the Scanning Tunneling Microscope, when he worked at the IBM Research Laboratory in Zurich, Wollerau, Switzerland.

Regarding the agreement which has been established between the INL and MIT, the Director-General of the INL; José Rivas, has stated: “The INL seeks to promote nanosciences and nanotechnology, developing practical applications and working with reputed companies and prestigious academic institutions. The bilateral cooperation between MIT and the INL is of significance for both institutions as it opens up a series of opportunities which will stimulate its competitivity at an international level, and enable it to develop new research projects, and has the potential to foster the mobility and exchange of experiences between scientists in a area representing the greatest current scientific challenge”.

“This new MIT collaboration provides a singular opportunity for MIT professors and students to start basic research which has the potential to have a major social impact”, said the bio-nanotechnology researcher Subra Suresh, Dean of the MIT Engineering School, adding that “this initiative will contribute towards the international recognition of MIT with regard to Nanotechnology, and will help to create a major new international research centre which will attract talent from all over Europe and the world”.

Professor Paulo Freitas (in Portuguese), Assistant Director-General of the INL, will be the INL-MIT Program Director at INL and will work closely with Professor Anantha Chandrakasan, Director of the Microsystems Technology Laboratory at MIT, who will be the INL-MIT Program Director at MIT, and with Professor Carl Thompson, Director of the Materials Processing Center at MIT, who will be the Subdirector of the MIT-INL Program at MIT.

Last updated ( 19/08/2011 )