MIT Portugal Program discusses the importance of collaborative networks between academia and industry for a more sustainable future
This week, May 17, the MIT Portugal Program (MPP) held the session Linking Research and Industry at Ciência 2022 Summit, which took place at the Lisbon Congress Center.
The goal of this session was to show how Research and Industry can work together, evidencing the benefits of this collaboration, and how MIT Portugal is contributing to Portugal’s socio-economic competitiveness. For the discussion, MPP invited members of academia and industry involved with the MIT Portugal Program.
The session started with some welcome notes from the MPP Directors, Pedro Arezes, MPP National Director, and Doug Hart, MPP Co-Director at MIT.
During his speech, Pedro Arezes spoke about the historical path of the program in linking industry and academia, and about the Program’s current phase which continues to encourage these collaborations. “At the level of research, the most significant examples are our 7 Flagship projects which are led by an industrial partner and bring together researchers working in academia and industry to develop new products, processes, and systems”. Pedro reinforced that “if we want to build a more sustainable economy, environment, and, ultimately, society, the knowledge produced in universities and research centres must be transferred to the Industry or used to create new start-ups that may fuel our innovative ecosystem.”
Doug Hart reminded us about the importance of science in improving our lives but he also shared his concerns about the possible negative effects. “It is not clear yet, at least in my mind, whether science is producing a net positive or negative. Certainly in our lives is a net positive but as climate change becomes worst they may not always be the case.” The MPP co-director at MIT strengthened that the MIT Portugal Program is focused on making sure that science has a positive impact. “Topics such as climate change, plastic, and ocean health are at the forefront of what MPP emphasizes in terms of research.”
Next, was time for the discussion panel led by Zita Martins, MPP National co-director, and starting with: João Faria, MPP alumnus, and Innovation Project Manager, from Dstgroup, the company involved in the MPP Flagship K2D and AEROS projects. João spoke about the DST investments in innovation and research, focusing on the relationship between university and industry in the research projects, namely in MPP projects. João also highlighted the main benefits of this cooperation such as technological development, acceleration of innovation in the company, and the development of HRs with high qualified workers.
From the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) we had the contributions of Elazer Edelman, Director of the Institute for Medical Engineering and Science; Professor in Medical Engineering and Science, and MIT Principal investigator of the MPP flagship Project OPERATOR. Ensuring the well-being (physical and mental) of the industrial worker is the objective of the OPERATOR project. Elazer presented the recent developments of this project and showed how this project is a truly collaborative partnership between academia and industry that will have practical applications in industry and society, improving the life of workers and overall organizational performance.
André Matos, CEO DTx – Digital Transformation CoLAB developing research in digital transformation, presented the role of DTX in leading collaboration between industry and academia. As an example of these collaborations, André presented the project about Collaborative Robotics, which was developed with IKEA.
After each contribution, the panel discussed how collaborations may contribute to enhancing the transfer of knowledge and how society can benefit from them.
For the closing remarks, we had John Hansman, MPP Co-Director at MIT, and the MPP National Co-Director, Zita Martins. John Hansman mentioned that one of the goals of MPP “is to provide a platform for the growth of innovation in the Portuguese academic and industrial ecosystem” and that this session presented how this works.
Zita stated the importance of maintaining these collaborations. “MIT Portugal Program is creating new synergies between the academic, scientific, and industry community, “Building the Future with Science”. It is essential that these collaborative networks between researchers, institutions, and companies, continue to guarantee a more resilient and sustainable future”.
Additionally, the national co-director shared some MIT Portugal initiatives that are being developed to further exchange the knowledge and collaborations between students, researchers, and industry. Zita made also a first-hand announcement:Please Save the Date for the MIT Portugal Annual Conference, which will be on September 20, at Aveiro Congress Center.