MPP Workshop wrap-up: Oceans to Space: the new deep-blue economy
The workshop “Oceans to Space: the new deep-blue economy” organized by the MIT Portugal Partnership 2030 (MPP2030) was held from July 12-14th at Fundação Casa de Mateus in Vila Real, Portugal.
Created to facilitate discussion around two of the new strategic areas of MPP2030, the informal workshop was held in close proximity to its major partners in Portugal. Surrounded by the historical beauty of Casa de Mateus, a small group of researchers from both MIT and Portugal joined with leaders from various Portuguese institutions (industry, academia and R&D) to participate in a unique opportunity to establish new relationships. The workshop helped to facilitate the discussion of two crucial research areas for the MPP 2030 partnership: Oceans and Near Space.
During the morning session, participants had the opportunity to visit UTAD – University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro – to learn about the research being performed around remote sensing R&D competences in the field of precision agriculture. The presentation was followed by a demonstration of the equipment used in the projects they are currently developing.
Returning to Casa de Mateus, the afternoon session was kicked off by Prof. Pedro Arezes, Director of the MIT Portugal Program, opening up the floor for the first keynote given by Miguel Miranda, director of IPMA – The Instituto Português do Mar e da Amosfera. Mr. Miranda emphasized the need, now more than ever, of models with the potential to analyze the enormous amount of data received every day. The oceans panel was moderated by Prof. Doug Hart, Co-Director of the MIT Portugal Program at MIT, and sparked a lively conversation on the main challenges and possible solutions for the positive exploitation of the ocean as well as the future goals to best utilize the oceans’ rich resources.
The second topic of discussion – Near Space – began with a keynote by Chiara Manfletti, Director of the Portugal Space Agency. Ms. Manfeltti shared the exciting plans for the new agency and its ongoing initiatives. She also spoke about the possibility for future partnerships, reinforcing the need for the sustainable development of earth and space together. The space panel, moderated by Prof. Zita Martins, Co-Director of the MIT Portugal Program, all agreed on the key element of cooperation and the need for world-wide organizational behavior change. The conversation wrapped with the sharing of ideas for solutions on how to increase engagement around this issue.
The final keynote was delivered by Elsa Henriques, the Executive Administrator of FLAD – Fundação Luso-Americana para o Desenvolvimento – an institution that plays a fundamental role in the connection between Portugal and United States of America. Ms. Henriques shared important updates on the organization’s transatlantic relations and plans for the future.
The workshop concluded with closing remarks from António Cunha, member of the program governing committee, and Artur Cristovão, Vice Rector of UTAD for Planning and Internationalization, both highlighting the importance of these conversations and this event for providing a platform for actionable discussions which will lead to the emergence of new ideas between the MIT community and Portugal.
The event was supported by the Fundação Casa de Mateus and the MIT Portugal team is deeply grateful for the foundation and its leader, Director Teresa Albuquerque. The program would also like to thank the welcoming staff of Casa de Mateus and all of the invited guests for their engagement.