XI Annual PAPS Forum Creates Networking Opportunity for Post-Graduate Students

 PAPS XI 2010More than 100 young Portuguese Post-Graduates attended the XI Annual Forum of the Portuguese American Post-Graduate Society (PAPS), “Science, Technology, and I.” The event took place at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh (USA), from April 10- 11, 2010, and was organized by the Portuguese American Post-Graduate Society (PAPS), with the aid of the Carnegie Mellon Portugal program, sponsored by the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT). Currently, PAPS has 618 members.

Pradeep Koshla, Dean of the College of Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, José M. F. Moura, Director of ICTI@ Carnegie Mellon, and Anabela Maia, PAPS President, made the Welcoming Remarks. In her segment, Anabela Maia stressed the goal of the event, which was to establish a networking opportunity for Portuguese American Post- Graduates to talk about their achievements, difficulties, and goals. “The title and the agenda were made to impel the connection between Science, Technology and each of us,” said Anabela Maia.

Mariano Gago and Manuel Heitor, respectively Portuguese Minister and State Secretary for Science, Technology, and Higher Education, said that the Portuguese American Post-Graduates whose goal is to return to Portugal should create their research or entrepreneurial opportunities.

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“This can be impelled by the foundation of dynamic social networks, which can enable networking,” said Heitor.
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Gago added, “In Portugal we have an average of seven researchers for 1000 workers, whereas in Europe there are six researchers per 1000 workers.” According to Gago, the private investment in Research and Development (R&D) has raised to 0.8% of the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) in the past five years. This fact explains the growth of doctorates has manager’s or founders of Portuguese companies, so “there are opportunities when returning to Portugal,” said Gago. “We cannot plan the future,” said Heitor, “but we can try to develop opportunities.”

Manuela Veloso, Portuguese Professor in the Carnegie Mellon’s Computer Science Department, talked about the research work that she is developing with robots. Veloso addressed general myths about robots, saying that the ones that exist in the movies are totally different from the ones that are being developed at Carnegie Mellon University. She explained with examples the difficulties of creating a robot that moves, and of synchronizing movement with other robots. Veloso is the president of Robot World Cup Initiative (RoboCupTM), an international research and education initiative that fosters Artificial Intelligence (AI) and intelligent robotics research by providing a standard problem where a wide range of technologies can be integrated and examined, as well as being used for integrated project-oriented education.

The other sessions were about “Science, Technology and Art,” by Miguel Amado, curator, and Joana Ricou, artist; “Science, Technology and Society,” by Raphael Costa, historial from York University (Toronto); and “Science and Technology in Industry and Academia,” by Cláudia Ferreira, Hovione General Manager of the Technology Transfer Center in New Jersey, and Vasco Calais Pedro, from Bueda Inc. co-founder and CEO.

April 2010