“Everything Started in a CMU Portugal Program Project”

CMU Portugal Program PI Susana Sargento is the European Union 2016 Woman Innovator

Susana Sargento is Principal Investigator on CMU Portugal Program’s Projects DRIVE-IN and S2MovingCity. 

Susana Sargento photo 

The European Union (EU) 2016 Woman Innovator is a Principal Investigator of the CMU Portugal Program and co-founder of Veniam, Susana Sargento. The 100 thousand euros prize is awarded by the EU with the aim of giving public recognition to outstanding women entrepreneurs who have brought their innovative ideas to the market. The objective is to inspire other women to follow in their footsteps.

“I am very happy to receive this great prize in recognition of our work on making vehicular networks a reality. This has been the result of the work of a great team of colleagues, students, researchers, and entrepreneurs, who have been with me since the beginning”, said Susana Sargento. The recipient of the prize also hopes that the team “can serve as a role model to all great women out there (and men as well) and inspire them to take risks and not be afraid of failure and of success”.

 Susana, who is a faculty member of the Department of Electronics, Telecommunications and Informatics of the University of Aveiro (UA), and a researcher at Instituto de Telecomunicações (IT), co-founded Veniam, a startup that created and is managing the largest vehicular network in the world. The company is a spin-off of UA, IT and the University of Porto, and was created with the support of the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT, Foundation for the Science and Technology) and the CMU Portugal Program.

Veniam, whose motto is “an internet of moving things”, is a startup that implements vehicle networks on cities, which turn cars, buses or trucks into moving Wi-Fi hotspots, and builds city-scale vehicular networks that collect terabytes of urban data. The team of 40 people, eight of whom have PhDs, is divided between Portugal, USA and Singapore.

This is the third edition of the EU Prize for Women Innovators, which was handed this year by the European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, Carlos Moedas, on March 10. The competition is open to women that have founded or co-founded a successful company based on their innovative ideas, and have received EU research and innovation funding at some point in their careers. Susana Sargento was the first and the only Portuguese nominee, among nine finalists and 64 applications.

With more than 15 years of expertise on leading several international and national projects, Susana Sargento is Principal Investigator on CMU Portugal Program’s Projects DRIVE-IN and S2MovingCity and was a visiting professor at CMU between 2008 and 2009.

“Everything started in a CMU Portugal Program project, DRIVE-IN: we promised to connect 500 vehicles to each other and to the Internet! DRIVE-IN was just the beginning, which allowed us to develop the vehicular WiFi technology and the first base network mechanisms”, recalls Susana Sargento. “After deploying the overall live testbed in the city of Porto, we are now starting the CMU Portugal Program’s Entrepreneurial Research Initiative (ERI) S2Moving City, which will allow us to build the smart city that can be sensed and served to improve citizen lives”, she adds.

Susana has also been a participant in several FP7 Projects, such as Future Cities – in which she implemented the vehicular network on cars and trucks, as well as fixed stations throughout the city of Porto, which counts now with more than 600 connected vehicles – as well as national projects, with research and industry partners.

 

Photo credits: revistaport.com