President of FCT Visits Carnegie Mellon University

Aiming at consolidating the good relations between the Portuguese scientific community and Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), in the beginning of June a delegation from the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT), led by its president Miguel Seabra, visited CMU, with whom Portugal has had a partnership since 2006. The FCT delegation, led by its president Miguel Seabra, included Pedro Carneiro, vice-president, and Emir Sirage, coordinator of FCT’s Technology Office.

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During the two-day visit, Miguel Seabra chaired a meeting of the Board of Directors of the CMU Portugal Program, and met with Subra Suresh, president of CMU, as well as with the deans of the College of Engineering and Heinz College, and with the heads of several departments. The goal was for Miguel Seabra to get to know how CMU has been involved in the partnership, which started in 2006 and was renewed in 2012 for an additional five-year period until 2017. 


 
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Meeting with the dean of CMU's Heinz College, 
Ramayya Krishnan.
 
During the meetings, the president of FCT had the opportunity to get to know more closely the opportunities that the scientific community from Portuguese institutions has benefited from within the Program, such as the collaboration with internationally renowned research groups and the exposure to U.S. companies, among others. The internships of dual degree Ph.D. students in companies such as Google, Apple, or Qualcomm, are a tangible example. Other highlights of the visit were the meetings with current students and alumni of the dual degree Ph.D. programs, with researchers from Portuguese universities who are currently participating in the Faculty Exchange Program, as well as with CMU faculty involved in research projects carried out in the scope of the CMU Portugal Program.

 
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“We feel that Carnegie Mellon University is very committed to and involved in the partnership,” Miguel Seabra stated, adding: “What I had the opportunity to see during this visit confirms that the CMU Portugal Program is well on its way in terms of supporting projects that strengthen the relationship between university and industry in the domain of innovation and entrepreneurship, as planned for the second phase of the Program.” Miguel Seabra also stated that “it is clear that the collaboration between the Portuguese scientific community and Carnegie Mellon University has led to very interesting initiatives. Examples of that are the 10 startups created within the CMU Portugal Program, or the test beds that paved the way for more ambitious projects capable of obtaining European funding, such as the communication network between vehicles that is being used by over 400 taxis in the city of Porto.” 

For the directors of the CMU Portugal Program, “this is a relevant moment for the partnership, a moment of acknowledgement and added motivation.” João Claro and José M.F. Moura believe that “this visit gave a more global and improved perspective of the CMU Portugal Program, and its real and potential impact in the scientific community in Portugal and at CMU.” According to the directors of the Program, this “visit is key for the partnership to be able to continue to grow in a consolidated way, launching new lines of research funding and promoting faculty exchange.” The leaders of the CMU Portugal Program also stressed that the partnership will continue to develop innovation and entrepreneurship initiatives, such as “inRes, a business acceleration program in Information and Communication Technologies.”

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Miguel Seabra also met with several Portuguese faculty members at Carnegie Mellon University, namely José M.F. Moura, also director of the CMU Portugal Program at CMU, Irene Fonseca, president of the largest scientific society dedicated to Applied Mathematics, and Pedro Ferreira, professor of Engineering and Public Policy.

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[l-r] Pedro Carneiro and Miguel Seabra, having as background the Hammerschlag Hall.  [l-r] Pedro Carneiro, Miguel Seabra and Emir Sirage, with a view of the CMU's cut. 

The Board of Directors of the CMU Portugal Program is chaired by Miguel Seabra, president of FCT, and composed by José Marques dos Santos, rector of the Universidade do Porto, representing CRUP – Conselho de Reitores das Universidades Portuguesas (Council of Rectors of the Portuguese Universities), Subra Suresh, president of Carnegie Mellon University, Jim Garret, dean of the College of Engineering, and Rogério Carapuça, chairman of Novabase.

 

July 2014