“First of all, I would like to show you LAIST” says engineer Cândida Vaz, who was recently awarded the Medal of Scientific Merit by the minister for Science, Technology and Higher Education, professor Manuel Heitor. She guides us through LAIST corridors telling us the efforts that had to be made to make the laboratory grow and, at the same time, she highlights the work of all team. “LAIST became a renowned laboratory thanks to the work and the support of all my colleagues”, refers engineer Cândida Vaz.
She was surprised when professor Manuel Heitor called her to tell her that she would be one of the awarded persons during “Ciência 2018”. “I told him it wasn’t necessary” she shares with us. “However, I was very grateful that professor Manuel Heitor remembered me”, she says. “I will share this medal with my colleagues. LAIST is a renowned laboratory thanks to their support and their work”, she points out.
According to the minister for Science, Technology and Higher Education, engineer Maria Cândida Vaz “was the main promoter of Laboratório de Análises do Técnico (LAIST). She distinguished herself for innovative analysis methodologies and for a continuous stimulation of water quality in Portugal”. “She stimulated the interaction between students and researchers in an academic context through LAIST”, said the minister. “I think that I made an important contribution to LAIST growth, but I wasn’t the only one”, says engineer Cândida Vaz.
“LAIST was created in 1982 and it was part of Instituto Industrial de Lisboa”, says engineer Cândida Vaz. Graduated in Chemical Engineering from Universidade do Porto, she came to Técnico to do an internship under the supervision of professor Fraústo da Silva, an expert in chemistry. “When I arrived LAIST was in fact very small”, she recalls. “Professor Herculano de Carvalho, one of LAIST’s former directors, asked me not to leave the laboratory and kept it working, and I tried to do that”, shares the engineer who was named LAIST director from 1984 to 2004. “I am very honoured to have been LAIST director and I feel that I fulfill my promise to professor Herculano”, she declares.
Although engineer Cândida Vaz is retired, she is technical supervisor at LAIST. “Nowadays LAIST is a laboratory distinguished for the analysis quality carried out. If you read the label on your drinking water you will understand how far we take Técnico’s image”, says engineer Maria Cândida Vaz at the end.