From Research to the Market Debate at the Orientation Day in Portugal

 2011 Orientation Day in Portugal

The 2011 Orientation Day was held in Portugal on September 24, 2011, at Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto (FEUP). More than 20 newly enrolled students who started their academic year 2011/2012 in Portugal, as well as students that came to Portugal for the first time, attended the event.

The welcome to Porto was presented by Sebastião Feyo de Azevedo, dean of the Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto, one of the Portuguese schools involved in the partnership. Feyo de Azevedo pleased the new Carnegie Mellon Portugal students, and emphasized that it is very important to increase the capacity to do research in Portugal. Currently, the Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto has more than 7000 enrolled students.

The Carnegie Mellon Portugal Program overview was made by João Barros, national director of the partnership, who highlighted that this was a top down initiative which was well received by the academic and industrial partners. Barros spoke about the several achievements in five years: research projects which involve researchers, companies and end users like taxi drivers, firemen and non Portuguese students; the growth in the number of partner companies from three in the beginning to more than 80 currently; provided Portuguese faculty the opportunity to spend at least one semester at CMU; among several others.

Francisco Veloso, researcher and scientific director of the partnership, spoke about proper attribution. Veloso gave guidance to the students based in an Engineering and Public Policy (EPP) memo by Granger Morgan, department head of EPP at CMU, that was distributed to all incoming students. There were several examples and information from Indiana University Plagiarism Resources, and Veloso started his presentation by explaining the basic rules like “if you use any text written by someone else in your work, you must place it in quotation marks and provide a citation for the source,” and “if you use someone else's ideas or arguments but place them in your own words, then you must cite the original source.” After giving some examples, Veloso finished his presentation by reiterating that the Portuguese universities and Carnegie Mellon University take “proper attribution Very Very seriously,” adding that “failure to follow proper procedures for attributing the words, illustrations or ideas of others is a very serious violation of the norms of good professional practice.” Veloso explained that the rules are applied “to all homework assignments, papers, and examinations produced while you are a student.”

After this presentation, two doctoral students, Vikram Gupta and Rui Meireles, spoke about their expectations and experiences in the program. Vikram Gupta talked about the story of a student over three continents: Asia, Europe and USA. Rui Meireles gave a broad presentation, greeting all the new students with the statement: “you made onto a great program that will change your life forever.” Meireles compared both countries, Portugal and the USA, and emphasized that in Portugal the student has a more relaxed environment and more time to focus on research, saying that in the US, namely at Carnegie Mellon, there are more talks and other events, more demanding courses and a bigger research “buzz”. At the end, Rui Meireles encouraged the newcomers to : “choose a project that truly motivates you and keep your advisors in sync with your work and with each other.”

Nuno Seixas, alumni and one of the mentors of the Carnegie Mellon Portugal Alumni Chapter, made a brief presentation about the importance of this initiative to maintain the network among the alumni.

The afternoon was dedicated to the theme technology transfer and entrepreneurship. It started with a presentation about the role of the science and technology park UPTEC as an interface between the university and the market, followed by a presentation entitled “Differentiation through Innovation in a Global Market,” made by Paulo Ferreira dos Santos, CEO of the Tomorrow Options. Hugo Gonçalves, doctoral student of the Program and co-founder of Efisenergy, talked about “From Research to the Market.” Francisco Fonseca, CEO of the AnubisNetworks, spoke about Innovation and Competitiveness. All the presentations were focused on research projects that conducted to products and services that are currently in the market, and about the support given by UPTEC in all this process.

The goal of the event was to give the opportunity to these students to learn more about the partnership, the alumni chapter, and also about the role of a Science and Technology Park as an Interface between the University and the Market in Portugal.

October 2011