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MIT Portugal collaboration enters new phase

MPP2030 is focused on education, research, innovation, and entrepreneurship.
The first MPP2030 conference was held in Lisbon earlier this month.
The first MPP2030 conference was held in Lisbon earlier this month.
Photo: Leah Lovgren

The MIT Portugal Program (MPP) recently held the inaugural conference for MPP2030, which is an effort to strengthen Portugal’s knowledge base and international competitiveness through strategic investments in research, people, and ideas in areas of global relevance and with significant societal impact. The conference theme — “An international partnership toward the challenges of complex systems” — not only recognized MPP's most recent achievements, but more importantly showcased and presented the new scope and targets for coming years.

The event, held on Oct. 1 in Lisbon, was opened by Portugal's Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education Manuel Heitor; Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT, the Portuguese Science and Technology Foundation) President Paulo Ferrão; U.S.-based MIT Portugal Program 2030 Director Dava Newman; and Lisbon-based MIT Portugal Program 2030 Director Pedro Arezes. Other conference presenters included José Moutinho of the Atlantic International Research (AIR) Centre and MIT professors John Hart, Douglas Hart, and Jessika Trancik.

Students, faculty, and principal investigators were also given an opportunity to share their research findings to date and the conference highlighted the importance of innovation and entrepreneurship and its role in the MIT Portugal Program. The day concluded with closing remarks by Professor Bruce Tidor from the MIT Office of the Associate Provost for International Activities, and a student poster session award ceremony.

MPP2030 is a novel strategic collaboration led by Newman, the MIT Apollo Program Professor of Astronautics, and Pedro Arezes, a professor of human factors engineering at the University of Minho. Within the scope of the new collaboration, MPP2030 focuses on fostering research between MIT and Portuguese universities, research institutes, laboratories, companies, and other entities. The research areas are divided into four categories — Climate Science and Climate Change; Earth Systems: Oceans to Near to Space; Digital Transformation in Manufacturing; and Sustainable Cities — all of which include data science-intensive approaches and methodologies. Research activities will be primarily promoted through calls for proposals for large-scale flagship research projects and smaller seed projects.

While MPP2030 is ramping up, the second phase of MPP, which focused on four integrated education (bioengineering, engineering design, energy, and transportation), research, and innovation and entrepreneurship programs, will conclude 2019. Phase 2, which has been led at MIT by Tidor and Doug Hart, has been hosted by MIT’s Institute for Data, Systems, and Society (IDSS).  Promoting innovation, entrepreneurship, and leadership best practices have become a hallmark of MPP, for example by stimulating and facilitating startup formation in Portugal. Building on the success of MPP, MPP2030 will continue to support activities designed to significantly impact the development of the Portuguese innovation ecosystem and work force. 

MPP2030 was launched in June of 2018, continuing MIT’s strong commitment to collaborate with Portuguese institutions to address complex challenges of global and societal impact. Looking toward a long-term partnership through 2030, FCT selected MIT and the MPP2030 collaboration as a top priority. The novel partnership was lauded by Heitor and Prime Minister António Costa during their official visit to MIT in June.  

More information can be found on the MIT Portugal website.

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