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Home  > Knowledge Networks  > News  > 1st Annual Conference of the MIT-Portugal Program: "Engineering for Better Jobs"

1st Annual Conference of the MIT-Portugal Program: "Engineering for Better Jobs"

 - 07/07/2009

Logo of MIT – Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyResearchers and entrepreneurs met in Lisbon on July 7, 2009, at the Belém Cultural Centre, for the 1st Annual Conference of the MIT-Portugal Program to discuss the balance of the Program since its launch in 2007 and to present its main activity areas for the next few years. Those present included Portuguese and international representatives from universities, research centres and enterprises, along with Staff and Faculty from MIT.

Among other aspects, the MIT-Portugal Program already involves a total of 154 PhD students in joint programs between several Portuguese universities in the areas of Energy, Transportation, Bioengineering and Engineering Design. These programs have been supported through their connections with enterprises and encouraged the implementation of programs dynamising R&D within an international context in areas of known interest and potential, particularly in the areas of sustainable energy and transportation systems, the application of stem cells and tissue engineering in new forms of regenerative medicine, as well as the development of new products for mobility systems and medical equipment.

The MIT-Portugal Program also includes the development of specific Postgraduate initiatives which possess high international recognition, which have an impact on specialized training for senior management in Portugal and in developing research clusters, involving the largest enterprises operating in Portugal. In particular, the MIT – Portugal Program has already trained a total of 77 students in Executive Master's Courses in the areas of sustainable energy and transportation,  as well as in product development and advanced manufacturing systems. In addition, the Lisbon MBA program was launched in January 2009 to train top managers.

The MIT – Portugal Program is now clearly associated with rapid scientific and technological development in Portugal and the reform of higher education associated with it and the program has been developed over the last few years, and represents an important milestone in the growing internationalization of its academic and scientific institutions, especially in enabling their international credibility.

The Conference Program includes sessions with guest speakers followed by discussion with experts from Portuguese enterprises and R&D centres, and students from the MIT – Portugal Program. There will also be a parallel “posters” exhibition showing the involvement of students in on-going R&D projects working under the framework of the partnership between Portuguese universities, research centres and enterprises and MIT.

This conference presented and discussed the MIT – Portugal Program strategy for the coming years resulting from the growing involvement of research centres and companies with the aim of focussing the program on three main application areas, namely:

  1. Sustainable systems for energy and transportation;
  2. Stem cells and tissue engineering for new regenerative medicine therapies;
  3. Product development and engineering design, with particular application to electrical motorisation systems.

The strategic reformulation of the MIT-Portugal Program, which was analysed in the 6th Meeting of the Board of Directors of the MIT–Portugal Program, on April 27, 2009, at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, and which led to the Strategy Paper (MIT-Portugal - A Strategy Re-examined), has the aim of focussing efforts to confront the challenges which have emerged out of the context of the present international crisis, through targeted research and advanced industry-scientific relations with the potential to foster comparative advantages for Portugal. These challenges call for new solutions and offer great opportunities for investment in knowledge, people and in new skills as leverage for economic and social competitiveness.

The MIT-Portugal Program focuses on the area of Systems Engineering, in which MIT is a world leader, so this program gives Portugal comparative advantages in Europe in an emerging area of increasing importance in modern societies. The area of Systems Engineering considers complex systems, often large-scale, which combine technical, social and human aspects, and the increasing interaction of social and economic aspects with engineering. This area includes sustainable energy and transportation systems, the development of new products, including those linked to electric vehicles, and new medical therapies, including those involving stem cells and tissue engineering. There are areas of potential employment growth in coming decades, including skilled employment, in which Portugal has to evolve and differentiate itself within the European context.

The 1st MIT-Portugal Program Conference is a milestone in strengthening national capacity in science and technology in promoting engineering as a means of stimulating employment.

The MIT-Portugal Program was started about two and a half years, on 11 October 2006, under the scope of the Knowledge Networks activities integrated within the Commitment to Science for Portugal’s Future initiative and is run by a Program Governing Committee chaired by the President of the Science and Technology Foundation (FCT), João Sentieiro, and which also includes the MIT Chancellor, Phil Clay, the Dean of the MIT Engineering School, Subra Suresh, the President of The Knowledge Society Agency (UMIC), Luis Magalhães, and the respective directors of the program at MIT and in Portugal, Daniel Roos and Paulo Ferrão.

Last updated ( 28/09/2011 )