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CMU Portugal National Directors awarded € 2.5M in European funding for a project addressing technology, innovation and design

For the next five years, Nuno Nunes and Rodrigo Rodrigues (CMU Portugal National Directors) will be leading the project Blockchain technologies and design Innovation for social Good (BIG)- a European Research Area (ERA) Chair from the European Commission.

The €2.5 million euro project will gather an interdisciplinary research team to address blockchain technology, innovation through design, and the development of new solutions for societal challenges. Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLT) are transformative and bring about a potential for improvement in European citizenship and economic growth. These technologies make it possible to establish a record number of transactions in a highly reliable and completely distributed manner, without the need to rely on a central entity to maintain it.

While many of the challenges related to blockchain technologies may be perceived as exclusively technical, or deeply infrastructural, these technologies have the potential to impact business and human experience and values profoundly. Through BIG, it will be possible to gather a multidisciplinary team to work on these technologies and develop related applications in multiple domains: from medical data to smart homes and grids, citizenship and democratic decision making, transport, creative industries, and digital social media. The BIG ERA Chair aims to unlock the full potential of interdisciplinary research in engineering.

BIG brings together two Portuguese associated laboratories (LARSyS and INESC-ID) of Portugal hosted in Técnico and aims to strengthen the link with the business ecosystem. “We have several companies already involved in the project, many of them from the Carnegie Mellon Portugal Program,” explains Nuno Nunes. “One of our goals is to foster an innovation ecosystem that brings together universities, companies, and highly innovative tech startups, including several unicorn startup companies that supported the proposal of this ERA Chair”, Rodrigo Rodrigues. The project involves several highly promising Portuguese startup companies leading areas of the data economy, including CMU Portugal industrial affiliates, Farfetch, Feedzai, REN, Talkdesk  and Unbabel.

In this Horizon 2020 Spreading Excellence and Widening Participation call the Portuguese research community raised EURO 34 million for a total of 22 projects. “Portugal has been one of the countries that have been the most successful in seizing opportunities of H2020. I think that this year almost 50% of the funded proposals came from our country, which is something that we can all be proud of. At the same time, it shows the great vitality of the Portuguese scientific research”, says Nuno Nunes. “Research and science in Portugal have achieved impressive results, especially considering that the budget of our universities and research centers are significantly lower than the other institutions we compete directly,” points out Rodrigo Rodrigues.

This article used Nuno Nunes and Rodrigo Rodrigues citations from the article published here at Instituto Superior Técnico