Campus and Community

Consortium aims to enhance the impact of Engineering on the Lusophone world

Six Portuguese Schools of Engineering join together to promote and strengthen the training and hiring of PhD researchers from Portuguese-speaking countries.

The Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education, Manuel Heitor, announced today, 24th July, a Consortium that joins together six schools of engineering and aims to promote research in Portuguese-speaking countries. The event was attended by representatives of the six schools of engineering and Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT), which is also part of this consortium. The Consortium of Portuguese Schools of Engineering (CEE) is formed by Instituto Superior Técnico, Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto (FEUP), Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia da Universidade de Coimbra (FCTUC), Escola de Engenharia da Universidade do Minho (EEUM), Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia da Universidade Nova de Lisboa (FCT Nova), Universidade de Aveiro (UA) and aims to promote excellence in teaching, research and innovation.

According to professor João Falcão e Cunha, FEUP director and executive director of the Consortium, “an important goal of this consortium is to train professors and researchers from Portuguese-speaking countries, preparing them for the future challenges and leadership”. 20 PhD scholarships will be delivered annually. “As they say, unity is strength. Together, we have a greater capacity for teaching, and for encouraging innovation and research”, stresses professor João Falcão. “We want that engineering has an higher impact on Portuguese economy, so investing in training is key to achieve this goal”, adds the FEUP director.

The outcomes of this Consortium will become visible in September, when applications for PhD scholarships are expected to open. “We will propose that these students will be guided and keep in touch with each other so that they can share experiences and create ties that may be important in the future, namely to foster a culture of collaboration between universities and companies”, says professor Arlindo Oliveira, president of Técnico and member of CEE executive committee. Two contracts for PhD researchers are expected to be celebrated annually, within these scholarships.

This Consortium also includes a MOOC course entitled “Astrolábio”, on Information Systems and Software Engineering, which will open in January 2020.

The UNESCO centre designated “Ciência LP” – International Centre for Advanced Training of Scientists from Portuguese-Speaking Countries in Areas of Basic Sciences, will provide advanced training to scientists from Portuguese-Speaking Countries. However, if necessary, advanced training will be provided in another languages. The main goal is to improve learning and research capacity of candidates coming from these countries. The PhD scholarships and the PhD hiring will be done in conjunction with the UNESCO Centre.

CEE goals are not watertight, as pointed out by professors Arlindo Oliveira and João Falcão e Cunha, as well as PhD scholarships target group. “It’s quite possible that opportunities with Asia and America come up”, they stress. “Our goal is to highlight that engineering can play an important role in sustainable development, both social and economic”.

The session held this Wednesday was also attended by Maria do Rosário Sambo, Minister of Higher Education, Science, Technology and Innovation of Angola, Daurtarin Costa, Minister of Education and Higher Education of Guinea-Bissau and Maritza Rosabal Peña, Minister of Education, Family and Social Inclusion of Cabo Verde.

A cooperation protocol between the Directorate General for Higher Education (DGES) and CEE was signed in order “to stimulate the progressive modernization and restructuring of engineering education in the university context, at European level”.

According to professor Arlindo Oliveira, “the Consortium will also enable the major Portuguese schools of engineering to act in harmony with the new curricula that will come into force in September 2019, as well as with the new approaches to engineering in higher education”.