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Understanding the Key Drivers to Achieve Excellence

Faculty Exchange Program
Understanding the Key Drivers to Achieve Excellence

/uploadedImages/people/faculty_exchange/pedro amorim(1).jpg An opportunity to exchange ideas, become acquainted with other people’s research, learn the best practices of a top research group and strengthen cooperation – these are some of the views that Pedro Amorim, assistant professor at Faculdade de Engenharia of the Universidade do Porto (FEUP) and researcher at INESC TEC, has on the period he spent at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU).

Pedro Amorim stayed at CMU for a period of four months in 2014 (January and February, June and July), as part of the Faculty Exchange Program offered by the CMU Portugal Program. more specifically at the Chemical Engineering department, where he worked with professor Ignacio E. Grossmann’s research group. “It was wonderful to get familiarized with the best practices of a top research group and to understand the key drivers to achieve that level of success,” Pedro Amorim says.

Research-wise, this was also a very fruitful visit “because we were able to work on a paper that addresses an integrated framework for making decisions regarding supplier selection in supply chains in the processed food industry,” he explains. As part of this paper, the researchers assessed the relevance of including tactical production and distribution planning in this procurement decision. “We were especially concerned with the option of branding a product as ‘local’ or ‘mainstream’. For that, we proposed a new two-stage stochastic mixed-integer programming model for selecting suppliers in the processed food industry that maximizes profit and minimizes the risk of poor customer service,” he explains.

Additionally, during the first part of the visit, Pedro Amorim was able to audit two courses, more specifically ‘Integer Programming’ and ‘Advanced Process Systems Engineering’ at Tepper School of Business and at the Chemical Engineering department, respectively. “This allowed me to understand the main pedagogical methodologies and to learn the best teaching practices used at Carnegie Mellon,” Pedro Amorim says.

In the second part of his visit, the professor gave two seminars about ‘Risk Management in Production Planning of Perishable Food Goods.’ The first seminar was for members of the Process Systems Engineering Research Group. The second seminar was part of a series of seminars called ‘Enterprise-wide Optimization Seminars,’ and participants included researchers from companies, such as British Petrol, ExxonMobil, Total, P&G and Unilever.

“Now that I’m back in Porto, my goal is to incorporate some of the best practices that I found interesting over there, such as having a weekly one-hour meeting with all Ph.D. students to discuss ongoing work,” Pedro Amorim reveals. “I also hope that this research collaboration encourages my Ph.D. students to go to CMU for a period of time,” he adds. To foster this collaboration, professor Ignacio E. Grossmann is coming to Porto for a short visit by the beginning of the New Year.

February 2015


The Faculty Exchange Program is offered by the Carnegie Mellon Portugal Program and it allows academics from Portuguese universities to spend at least one term working in research and education at Carnegie Mellon, experiencing the culture of a top university in the United States. Carnegie Mellon professors are also given the opportunity to spend time in Portugal to engage in teaching and research activities with local higher education institutions and research labs.

Success Stories from Faculty Exchange Members >>