The Ten Early Bird Projects Awarded

The ten Early Bird Projects that aim to support the emergence of new high-impact initiatives as part of the Carnegie Mellon Portugal Program, funded by the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT), were recently announced. João Claro and José M.F. Moura, directors of the Program in Portugal and at CMU, respectively, are very pleased with the engagement of the community, which submitted “a total of 38 proposals that, according with to the international evaluation panel, were all high quality projects.” 
Machine translation for microblogs, visual bio-feedback in serious games to use in speech therapy, a compliant robotics hand with integrated soft MEMS skin which can be used in medicine or industry, or multimedia information to discover cancer in gastroenterology environments – these are some examples of the ten Early Bird Projects approved for funding, which will be receiving approximately 300 thousand euros, for a period of up to 18 months.
According to João Claro, these are “multidisciplinary projects that stand out due to the strong involvement and interest of researchers from Portuguese universities and from Carnegie Mellon University who try to respond to different societal challenges.” The director also stresses that “in this call, the researchers were able to create new collaborative research lines involving distinguished institutions, such as the IPO in Porto, Hospital Garcia de Orta or Universidade de Macau, as well as startups such as Unbabel and Silicongate”.
With the Early Bird Projects, “the CMU Portugal Program wants to boost new science and technology projects that will help to put Portugal at the forefront of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT),” João Claro highlights.
This funding line was specifically designed to help research teams from Portuguese institutions, Carnegie Mellon University and companies, to conduct high impact potential activities of strategic relevance to Portugal, in line with the key areas of the CMU Portugal Program.
The ten Early Bird Projects selected are (alphabetical order):   
• “AMOS – Algorithms for Massive Online courSes,” led by researchers Mikolas Janota (INESC ID) and Edmund Clarke (CMU);
• “A Serious Game for Speech Therapy with Visual Bio-feedback,” led by researchers Sofia Maia Cavaco (FCT/UNL) and Maxine Eskenazi (CMU), in collaboration with Hospital Garcia de Orta;
• “BRIDGE – Ringing multimedia Information for cancer Discovery in Gastroenterology Environment,” led by researchers Miguel Coimbra (IT/FCUP) and Jelena Kovacevic (CMU), in collaboration with IPO in Porto;
• “TRATAHI – Bringing Down Language Barriers on the Internet through Human-in-the-Loop Joint Transcription and Translation,” led by Ramón Astudillo (INESC ID) and Bhiksha Raj (CMU), in collaboration with Unbabel;
• “Compliant Robotics Hands with Integrated Soft MEMS Skin (for Medical Prosthesis and Industrial Robotics Applications ,” led by researchers Mahmoud Tavakoli (ISR-UC) and Camel Majidi (CMU);  
• “MT4M – Machine Translation For Microblogs,” led by researchers Isabel Trancoso (INESC ID/IST-UL), Alan W. Black and Chris Dyer (CMU), in collaboration with Unbabel and Universidade de Macau;
• “RSLingo4Privacy – Tools to improve consistency between privacy policies and current practices,” led by researchers Alberto Manuel Silva (INESC ID) and Travis Breaux (CMU);
• “Self-Adapting NoSQL Stores,” led by researchers Luís Eduardo Rodrigues and David Garlan (CMU), in collaboration with Silicongate; 
• “Statistically Enhanced Mixed-Signal and Analog Design,” led by researchers José Machado da Silva (INESC TEC) and Shawn Blanton (CMU);
• “Studying the long-term acceptance of personal health informatics tools,” led by researchers Evangelos Karapanos (M-ITI) and Jodi Folizzi (CMU).
The Early Bird Projects were evaluated by a set of world renowned experts, namely Gilles Barthe (IMDEA Software Institute, France), Adam Wolisz (Technical University of Berlin, Germany), Carles Sierra (Artificial Intelligence Research Institute of the Spanish Research Council, Spain), David Padua (University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, United States), Frank Fitzek (Aalborg University, Denmark), Hans-Dieter Burkhard (Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany), Hirisave Shankaralingaiah Jamadagni (Indian Institute for Science, India), John Nerbonne (University of Groningen, The Netherlands), Jorge Pereira (DG Connect, European Commission, Belgium), and Stephen Markham (North Carolina State University, United States).
Right now, the Carnegie Mellon Portugal Project has open calls to fund Entrepreneurial Research Initiatives (ERIs), and dual degree doctoral programs. A second call of the same type should be launched in 2015 to fund high impact potential projects. 
December 2014