CMU Portugal Program: Engaging the Industry

By Rogério Carapuça*  

Rogério Carapuça 2014 

Since its early days, the CMU Portugal Program has been looked upon as a tool to create a new model of partnership between academia and industry, across borders and cultures, which could bring important results for students, faculty, entrepreneurs and staff members of already existing companies. Every endeavor such as this one, in order to be successful, has to bring to the table an important value proposition for each and every stakeholder. I believe that this has been the case.

An important faculty exchange program has been successfully implemented with impressive results for the participants; students have been involved both in dual Ph.D. and M.S. programs which have brought an immense amount of value to them and the companies they work for; new companies have been created. A silent but strong transformation process has begun for those companies, once their workforces start to be touched by the experience, the acquisition of knowledge and the networking effects. 

This process will run its natural course bringing its valuable effects in the medium/ long term. No program such as this one can be evaluated in the short term. The Portuguese industry engaged in the program has recognized its value naturally starting to feel its short term benefits first. That´s why the professional M.S. programs and the capstone project environments were so important in the beginning. They have addressed short term needs of these companies and therefore were and important tool for the demonstration of value for this group of stakeholders. The time constants that are involved in the industry arena are not the same as the academia ones, ant their adjustment is one of the most important challenges one has to face in this type of collaboration programs. The CMU Portugal Program has entered in a new phase. This more competitive and project oriented phase of the program (including its Entrepreneurial Research Initiatives) is tailored to respond to challenges that are recognized both from academic and industry as problems worth to solve. They can also correspond to initiatives that can trigger new start-up companies that may appear in the marketplace. In both cases, the collaboration among researchers, company executives and entrepreneurs suggested by practical problems is a formula for success. On the other hand, the ICT Forum (i)  aims at developing a living ecosystem among University and Industry that both can profit from by means of their visiting opportunities, education programs, and pure networking events and publications.
 
The overall aim is to find the adequate value proposition for each of the stakeholders of the program, knowing that its final evaluation will very much depend upon the value that will be injected in the economy through the foreseen set of initiatives. I hope this opportunity will prove its worth and can be seen by the industry as powerful levers. 
 
*Chairman of Novabase and Member of the Board of Directors of the CMU Portugal Program 
 
June 2014

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The Op-Ed is an essay written by a member of the CMU Portugal Program Community. It is a new area/section of the CMU Portugal Program Newsletter.

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(i) CMU Portugal's Industry Affiliates Program.