MPP 2022 Annual Conference Wrap-Up
The MIT Portugal Program held its Annual Conference on September 20th at Aveiro Congress Center. This year the event returned to an in-person format: we had over 100 participants, 25 speakers; 1 keynote, 3 main sessions, 2 special sessions for PhD students and researchers; 82 research posters presented, 5 awardees, and many amiable networking moments.
Under the motto “Education, Research, and Innovation: tomorrow’s pillars” the MPP Annual conference sought to discuss the importance of science and technology and its pillars, namely research, education, and innovation for building the future and to clarify all the contributions that the MIT Portugal Program has been making in these areas.
“As we are ending the celebrations of the 15 years of the MIT Portugal Program, we want to discuss with all of you the contributions that the MIT Portugal Program has been making in terms of research, education and innovation and their impact for society. But we also want to look ahead and fine-tune the MIT Portugal’s direction to better answer the challenges that the future will bring”, explained the MPP National Director, during his welcome notes.
John Hansman, MPP Co-Director at MIT, highlighted the MPP contributions in key areas such as sustainable energy, climate, and environment. He also lauded the collaborations between Portugal and MIT with the involvement of Portuguese students in many research projects. “The community that we are building will address some of the challenges of the future. I’m looking forward to maintain this collaboration with Portugal” John added.
The morning proceeded with the Keynote session from Brent Minchew, Professor at Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (EAPS), MIT. Brent’s talk focused on today’s problem: The Sea-level rise and its impact on our lives. He also presented the Stratospheric Airborne Climate Observatory System (SACOS) a project that will help monitor and forecast climate change. This project emerges from collaborations enabled by MIT Portugal Program. Rita Cardoso from IDL, Faculty of Sciences, University of Lisbon moderated the session.
The session Research: The building blocks of innovation joined on stage Program’s past and ongoing research projects, namely: Green Island (Paulo Ferrão); Operator 4.0 (Ana Barros, Fraunhofer); K2D (Eduardo Pereira, UMinho); AEROS (João Faria, Dstelecom), sharing their research contributions for Portugal’s development.
The first-afternoon session focused on the MIT Portugal Program’s contribution to Education, the engine for a thriving community. In this session we had the opportunity to learn more about the work being conducted by our current PhD candidates, and also the professional paths followed by some of our Alumni.
Then, it was time for Building the Future and discussing the Program’s actions to better accommodate the future needs of the country.
The Portuguese Minister Mariana Vieira da Silva shared the Government envisions for the next few years, and how science and technology can have a role in this process. The session continued with a roundtable with some esteemed members of the MIT Portugal Community, to discuss how the MIT Portugal program can support tackling the future challenges that our society will face.
During the day, all the participants had the opportunity to engage with the MPP community and find out more about the MPP Projects and work plans of Ph.D. Candidates that showcased over 82 Conference Posters. We also had a VIPS – Very Important PhD Students – meeting with the MPP PhD Candidates selected in the 2021 PhD call and an Informative session on available funding opportunities for Climate Action and Environment with The Portuguese National Innovation Agency (ANI).
Nearing to the end of the day, we had the announcement of the 5 MIT Portugal Poster awardees and we closed out the day with remarks from Doug Hart, MPP Co-Director at MIT; Zita Martins, MPP Co-Director in Portugal and Amélia Polónia, Board Member of the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT).
Doug started his speech by telling the incredible changes and progress that is being made since this partnership between Portugal and MIT started. “This partnership is a wonderful opportunity to grow together” he stated. He also highlighted that the students are the energy of the program and that if there is something that the program is proud of is to have this community.
From FCT, Amélia Pólonia emphasizes that research, education, and innovations are really the tomorrow pillars. She states further that these international partnerships, such as MIT Portugal, are essentials to tackle real word problems and that FCT is “looking forward to continuously work with MIT Portugal to maximize the Portuguese investment, fostering the creation of scientific and qualified jobs and technological companies with impact in our society”.
Zita shared some of the next program’s activities to foster further exchange among our community and wrap up the day by stating that the “MIT Portugal Program will continue reinforcing its position as an active player in bringing together the right stakeholders to take on the challenge of asserting Portugal as a competitive ecosystem.”
MIT Portugal Poster Award
This year and for the first time, MIT Portugal opened a competition for posters from Portuguese and MIT Students showcasing their work in one of the strategic research areas of the MPP.
The winners were:
1: Climate Science & Climate Change: Annick Dewald
Poster title “Integrated Vehicle, Payload, and Trajectory Design for a Stratospheric Climate Observatory”
2: Earth Systems: Ocean to Near Space: Cadence Payne/Marcos Tieppo Poster title “The AEROS Mission: Characterizing Multi-Spectral Ocean Measurements through Small Satellite Connectivity”
3: Digital Transformation in Manufacturing: João Alves Ribeiro
Poster title “SimuStruct: Simulated Structural Plate with Holes Dataset with Machine Learning Application”
4: Sustainable Cities: Leilah Sory
Poster title “Modeling Lisbon using integrated benchmarks of operational energy and embodied carbon”
5: Data Science: Vinicius Santana
Poster title “Advancing Scientific Machine Learning in Physical Sciences: Applications in Process Systems Engineering
Thank you for joining us! We count on you for future MIT Portugal events.