Doctoral Program in Engineering and Public Policy

Engineering and Public Policy (EPP) is on the rise as a scientific field at the intersection of engineering and social sciences. EPP addresses unstructured and complex problems that are best tackled by combining fundamental and applied knowledge from various traditional research fields using the appropriate multidisciplinary research mechanisms and tools.

Unstructured problems include issues from everyday life that are, at first only fuzzily defined. They require more data and information to fully grasp their scope and impact. Only with the presence of such data can one provide the accurate intelligence for informed decision making. To tackle unstructured issues, one must identify the appropriate research questions to be answered and select the best research methodologies from a vast and diversified suite of tools and methods.

Complex problems are those in which several agents have stakes in the issues at hand. Only by understanding the incentives and position of each stakeholder can the full set of possible outcomes be appreciated. Often, agents hold different views on the same problems and therefore aim to achieve conflicting goals. The outcome or emergent behavior in complex systems, must be studied at the proper level of abstraction and be tracked with the appropriate research tools and methods.

Research in EPP is further complicated as it explores real world problems that are typically part of very large scale systems that span international borders. Examples include Information and Communication Technology (ICTs) systems and energy systems. This observation raises challenging questions for the design, implementation, operation and maintenance of such systems as well as for defining methodologies, methods and tools for evaluating their impact, both in social, cultural and economic terms.

The EPP-Portugal Ph.D. Program is an interdisciplinary program focused on the technology management and policy issues that arise when designing, developing, implementing and managing networked infrastructures, with specializations in ICTs policy and in energy policy. The program encourages students to conduct research in a unique interdisciplinary environment. Research projects can apply to nations and/or companies at various stages of development and will focus on innovative approaches to solve today’s problems of networked infrastructures as well as to anticipate future challenges.

Research to fulfill the requirements to obtain a PhD in EPP must make fundamental and generalized contributions toward the definition, understanding and solution of problems of networked infrastructures that include issues of both technology and policy. Such research is characterized by applying and extending methods developed in the context of more conventional disciplinary problems to problems that lie in the field of technology management and engineering policy.

The Engineering and Public Policy (EPP) Department is the leading department at CMU to host students for the EPP-Portugal Ph.D.. There is only a limited number of doctoral and research programs in the field of engineering and technology policy around the world. EPP’s long tradition in graduating first-rate students in this field provides the appropriate basis, and a unique opportunity, to install the EPP-Portugal PhD also as a leading initiative in this area in Europe. Other academic units engaged in the EPP Ph.D. program at CMU include the Heinz College, the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, the Mechanical Engineering Department, the Tepper School of Business, the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department.

In Portugal, the leadership of the program is assured by Instituto Superior Técnico (IST), which has accumulated vast experience in engineering and technology policy research through enduring collaborations with first-rate schools in this field around the world such as CMU, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Delft University and Cambridge University, UK. Departments involved in developing this program at IST include the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, the Department of Engineering and Management, the Department of Computer Science and Engineering and the Department of Mechanical Engineering. The Faculdade de Ciências Económicas e Empresarias, Universidade Católica Portuguesa (FCEE-UCP), also participates in this program providing valuable insight and experience in matters related to economics and management. The Instituto Superior de Economia e Gestão (ISEG) also participates actively in this program by providing valuable experience and insight in issues related to quantitative research methods, applied to public policy making, and to managing energy systems. Upon completion of all the requirements to graduate with the EPP-Portugal PhD students will obtain a PhD diploma from EPP-CMU and from IST. For more information go to the EPP dedicated website. 

On 2011, the Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto launched a Doctoral Degree in Engineering and Public Policy offered by Universidade do Porto (Faculdade de Engenharia), and a dual degree with Carnegie Mellon University (funded by Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia through the Carnegie Mellon Portugal Program). More information available at