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Bell Laboratories in Portugal

 - 20/06/2008

On 20 June 2008, at a ceremony held between 10:00 and 11:30 in the Pavilion of Knowledge and chaired by the Minister for Science, Technology and Higher Education, José Mariano Gago, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the Science and Technology Foundation (FCT) and The Knowledge Society Agency (UMIC), with Alcatel-Lucent Portugal and Bell Labs (Bell Labs), which is also part of the Alcatel-Lucent international group.

This agreement establishes a framework for collaboration to promote short-term, on-going and systematic cooperative action between Bell Labs, Alcatel-Lucent Portugal and Portuguese R&D institutions. To do this has required the establishment of a Steering Committee composed of representatives from the four institutions working together with the aim of providing researchers and students from Portuguese institutions with the opportunity to apply for research internships at the prestigious Bell Laboratories and encourage scientific cooperation between national scientific institutions.

Additionally, the cooperation agreement with Bell Labs opens the door to new forms of collaboration between the scientific community in Portugal and one of the largest private R&D laboratories in the world, particularly in areas important for the country’s socio-economic development, including emerging areas in information and communications technology, following selection in a public tendering process.

Bell Labs were represented at the ceremony by the Vice-President of the Chief Scientist’s Office, Debasis Mitra, who also gave a presentation on the strategy of the laboratories and their research activities.

Dr. Debasis Mitra also visited several Associated Laboratories and Electrotechnical and Computer Engineering research centres on 19 and 20 June at IST, the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon, and the Faculty of Science and Technology of the New University of Lisbon, where she also was in contact with individuals from research units from the Algarve, Aveiro and Porto, with the aim of getting to know the main research activities in these laboratories. Also Included in the program were contacts with the Knowledge Networks MIT – Portugal Program and CMU – Portugal Program, and the enterprises Portugal Telecom YDreams.

Alcatel-Lucent Portugal also signed an agreement with FCT for the creation of an Invited Chair at a Portuguese university, or a consortium of Portuguese and foreign universities, for 5 academic years, in an area of mutual interest for Alcatel-Lucent and the universities to be selected by this company and the hosting institutions. The agreement establishes the commitment of Alcatel-Lucent Portugal to financing 75% of the cost of this "Alcatel-Lucent Chair".

The Invited Chairs programme was launched by FCT on 12 May, under the scope of the Ciência 2008: More Scientists for Portugal initiative, with the aim of attracting leading experts living abroad to Portugal to promote knowledge in emerging areas, particularly through training activities at a PhD level and research projects. In a little over a month now since the launch of the programme that set up the Invited Chairs programme, to be co-financed by FCT and by enterprises, and four of these chairs have already been set up, with co-financing by Martifer, Nokia-Siemens, Delta Cafés and, now, Alcatel-Lucent Portugal as well.

Bell Labs has its headquarters in Murray Hill, New Jersey, USA and for more than 80 years they have been the main source of new communications technologies. They have produced more than 33 000 patents since being founded in 1925, more than 3 000 of which were granted in 2007, and played a key role in inventions of great importance, such as transistors, information theory, digital networks and signal processing, lasers and fibre-optical communications, the C programming language, the UNIX Operating System, communications satellites, mobile phones, electronic telephone call exchange, and modems.

They have been awarded six Nobel Prizes for scientific work done at Bell Labs, in areas as diverse as the demonstration of the wave nature of matter (Davisson, 1937), the invention of the transistor (Bardeen, Brattain, Shockley, 1956), the electronic structure of glass and magnetic materials, cosmic microwave background radiation (Penzias, Wilson, 1978), cooling and trapping atoms with laser light (Chu, 1997) and the discovery and explanation of the Hall effect (Stormer, Laughlin, Tsui, 1998).

Investment in R&D at Bell Laboratories in 2007 was over 2.7 billion euros. Bell Labs is one of the largest and most prestigious private research institutions in the world.

Last updated ( 04/08/2011 )