Following previous meetings at MIT and Portugal, Manuel Heitor, the Portuguese minister for science, technology, and higher education, recently visited MIT to discuss and plan the development of a new phase of the partnership between Portugal and the American university. The president of the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT), Paulo Ferrão, and a representative of Portuguese universities, António Cunha, accompanied the Portuguese minister.
During the two-day, visit the Portuguese delegation met with the Richard Lester, associate provost at MIT; Dava Newman, the Apollo Professor of Astronautics and Engineering; David Miller, the Jerome Hunsaker Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics; and Douglas Hart, professor of mechanical engineering. Last May, the same MIT team had been in Portugal to assess MIT Portugal's role in the academic and business communities but also to analyze areas where this partnership actions can be more critical in the future.
This recent visit of the minister is part of a series of contacts established between the Portuguese stakeholders and the American universities — namely MIT, Carnegie Mellon University, and the University of Texas at Austin — involved in science and education international partnerships aiming to reinforcing the continuity of the scientific and technological cooperation that has marked the relationship between Portugal and the U.S. in recent decades. They've also served to define a new and more ambitious framework for these impactful international partnerships.
Based on many areas of research and development — including bioengineering, sustainable energy, transportation, engineering, and manufacturing — the partnerships established between Portugal and the U.S. are a success story, as they have allowed the development of collaborative scientific research projects between higher education and industry. They are also associated with a range of innovation and technology initiatives that have resulted in business projects and new technology-based businesses.