ERC Members state: “The Program is contributing substantially to the transformation of University research and graduate education in Portugal”

The Information and Communication Technologies Institute’s (ICTI) External Review Committee (ERC) annual meeting was held in Aveiro and Lisbon on September 14-18, 2009. Throughout the week, the ERC members met with all involved in the partnership including the directors of ICTI@Portugal and ICTI@CMU, faculty members, students, alumni, principal investigators (PIs) of ICTI funded research projects, and also with entrepreneurs associated with the program. The purpose of the evaluation was to understand how ICTI is developing and to determine whether ICTI is accomplishing its goal of providing a comparative advantage to Portugal in the key focus area of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT).

 ERC Members with the Secretary of State and the presidente of the FCT
[left to right] Professor Joel Moses, MIT, Professor Sir John O'Reilly, Cranfield University, Professor Manuel Heitor, Secretary of State, Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education, Professor João Sentieiro, President of the FCT, and Eng.º Vasco Varela, FCT.

On September 14th, two of five ERC members, Professors Sir John O’Reilly, and Joel Moses, were received by the Secretary of State, Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education, Professor Manuel Heitor, and by the President of the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT), Professor João Sentieiro. Afterwards, the ERC Members met with ICTI@Portugal Director João Barros and ICTI@CMU Director Fonseca de Moura. The directors’ presentation highlighted changes implemented within the Program as well as challenges the Program faces.

ERC Members with the ICTI Directors

 ERC Members in Aveiro
 [left to right] Professors Luigia Aiello, Joel Moses, Sir John O’Reilly, and Tariq Durrani. 

The ERC was joined by the fourth member of the Committee, Professor Tariq Durrani at the Universidade de Aveiro on September 15th where the focus was on Software Engineering and Critical Infrastructures. Researchers, students, alumni, and industrial partners reported to the ERC on program developments and the three current ICTI projects that are currently under development: Certified Interfaces for Integrity and Security in Extensible Web-based Applications; Aeminium - Freeing Programmers from the Shackles of Sequentiality; and Vital Responder - Monitoring Stress among First Responder Professionals (the ERC members saw a demo). During the meeting Carnegie Mellon Professor Markus Pueshel commented that, “in the US, companies love working with universities because they have the notion that it will be a good relationship. In Portugal, they are starting to see the advantages of being connected with a university, which is a center of knowledge, science, and technology." The ERC also observed a presentation via videoconference by two PhD students working in the Critical Infrastructures field.

ERC MEmbers in a videoconference room
The meetings continued in Aveiro on September 16th and were focused on Software Engineering for Large Scale Dependable Systems, Cyber-Physical Systems for Ambient Intelligence, and Human Centric Computing. Faculty members highlighted the achievements in their respective areas and explained the projects that are being developed under the Partnership such as: Drive-In (the ERC members saw a demo), SINAIS, REAP.PT, PT-STAR, and WESP. The ERC members also observed a presentation on a collaborative project between Portugal Telecom (PT) and ICTI researchers and students. This collaboration has led to the creation of the PT Security Lab, a center of expertise in cyber security. Similarly, successful collaborations achieved under the Master of Human Computer Interaction (MHCI) program at the University of Madeira led to the foundation of the Madeira Interactive Institute.

ERC Members seeing a demo from the Drive-In Project
ERC Members saw a demo of the Drive-In Project

The ERC meetings continued on September 17th at the Universidade Católica in Lisbon where the focus areas were Applied Mathematics, and Public Policy and Analysis of Technological Change, Entrepreneurship Processes in New Information and Communication Technologies. The researchers and students explained how program developments will impact society and compel new students to enter the program.

It is significant to note that ICTI students and alumni from all the ICTI programs who attended the ERC meetings, emphasized that participation in their program has given them a different attitude and rhythm, and a new capacity for leadership.

On September 18th, the ERC Members returned to FCT to write a public statement and to finalize the report to be delivered to the president of the FCT with recommendations for future actions of the partnership.


ERC Meeting roll-ups


ERC Meeting posters

 ERC Meeting posters 02 ERC Members posters 03
 ERC Meeting with students and alumni ERC Members with students
 ERC Members with faculty members and students