Madeira-ITI Wins European Grant of €2.35 Million to Boost Research 

The Madeira Interactive Technologies Institute (Madeira-ITI), created under the auspices of the CMU Portugal Program, funded by the Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia, ends 2013 with two major accomplishments: the inauguration of its new facilities, and an European Research Area (ERA) Chairs grant of €2.35 million for the next four years.

Nuno Nunes, president of the Madeira-ITI and scientific director of the Carnegie Mellon Portugal Program, explains that these two outcomes are the result of the hard work carried out by the Madeira-ITI researchers, students, partners and friends. “They all believed in a project, and were able to actively contribute to its success,” said Nuno Nunes, adding that “nevertheless, we need to continue to work very hard.” Nuno Jardim Nunes 

The grant of €2.35 million for the next four years, under the pilot program of the European Commission’s (EC) Horizon 2020 Framework Program, was given to the Portuguese project LEAPFROG HCI-DI (HCI standing for Human-Computer Interaction, and DI for Design Innovation), presented by the Madeira-ITI. This was the only grant awarded to Portugal. This funding will be used "to expand and to maximize the potential of the Institute, particularly in terms of interdisciplinary research in interactive technologies, so that we can strengthen innovation, technology and knowledge transfer, in close collaboration with local and global business partners," explained Nuno Nunes.

The LEAPFROG HCI-DI project aims at unlocking the full potential of interdisciplinary research in interactive technologies, and contributing to the smart specialization strategy of the Madeira Island. “Through this approach, it will be possible not only to transversely demonstrate the impact of open innovation and crowdsourcing, but also to extend the capabilities of creative research, and contribute to the international positioning of the Madeira-ITI," Nuno Nunes stressed.

The €2.35 million funding will help upgrade the Institute’s Research and Technological Development (RTD) capacity and capability by expanding human potential and fostering a critical mass of researchers with interdisciplinary expertise in human-computer interaction. It will also be used to improve M-ITI’s innovation potential and impact at regional, national and European levels, by promoting design-driven innovation. “Finally, the grant will raise international awareness about the Institute and connect M-ITI and its industry affiliates to global knowledge networks,” said Nuno Nunes. 

Madeira-ITI: An Outgrowth of the Carnegie Mellon Portugal Program 

The Madeira-ITI is a not-for-profit innovation institute of the Universidade da Madeira, founded by this university, by the Madeira Tecnopolo and by Carnegie Mellon University, as an honorary partner. Since its creation, in 2009, the Madeira-ITI has been carrying out its mission of expanding the understanding of human experience and interactive technologies through basic and applied research that is innovative and responsive to manifest real-world needs using multi-disciplinary collaboration drawing on varied perspectives.

On March 22, 2013, M-ITI opened its new facilities. During this ceremony the national director of the CMU Portugal Program, João Claro, stated that M-ITI is “an exemplary realization of the mission of the Carnegie Mellon Portugal Program,” adding that “M-ITI’s perseverance in investing in Professional Master’s and in finding sustainable solutions for their future is unique and is an example that many other institutions should follow.” This institute is one of the six research units of the associate laboratory LARSyS.

The ERA Chairs initiative  

The ERA Chairs initiative aims at helping universities and other eligible organizations to achieve the level of research excellence required to be competitive at an international level. Operating with €12 million provided by the current Seventh Framework Program for Research (2007-2013), the pilot stage of ERA Chairs will test the concept. If successful, the Commission will fund a larger number of ERA Chairs, depending on the budget of the future Framework Program Horizon 2020 (2014-2020).

December 2013

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Features:

DN Madeira online (November 28, 2013); Jornal da Madeira online (November 28, 2013); NetMadeira online (November 28, 2013); Diário da Cidade online (November 28, 2013); ComputerWorld (November 28, 2013); Portugal News (November 28, 2013); Tek (November 29, 2013); BIT (December 1, 2013); Fibra (December 2, 2013); Local.PT (December 2, 2013); Rádio Renascença (December 5, 2013).