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Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and the Government of Portugal signed a cooperation agreement to extend the successful CMU Portugal Program for an additional 10 years.

CMU President Farnam Jahanian joined the Portugal Minister of Science, Technology, and Higher Education Manuel Heitor and Prime Minister of Portugal António Costa at a signing ceremony in Matosinhos, Portugal, on February 15, 2018, to celebrate the partnerships between academia and industry in Portugal’s innovation economy. The event was titled, “GoPortugal: Global Science and Technology Partnerships Portugal.”

At the signing, Rodrigo Costa, CEO of REN, emphasized the role and impact of international partnerships like the CMU Portugal Program in the internationalization of the Portuguese research enterprise. The signing ceremony was followed by six topical workshops jointly organized by CMU and Portuguese faculty members with 150 active participants from industry and academia.

Phase III of the Carnegie Mellon Portugal Program focuses on the data economy, emphasizing data analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, and autonomy. This phase will promote industry-technology relationships as agents of change for social and economic impact, fostering collaborations with cities, regions, and companies that are strongly invested in the program.

As the program moves forward, the focus on high-impact science will be augmented by an agenda that leverages the strategic geopolitical position of Portugal in the Euro-Atlantic region, while also prioritizing the advancement of post-graduate education, research, and the employment of doctorates. In particular, Carnegie Mellon will be a partner of the Atlantic International Research Center (AIR) launched by the Portuguese government as a multinational platform for new North-South/South-North Atlantic interactions in the areas of climate, land, space, and ocean.

During the GoPortugal event, the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology also signed cooperation protocols with 12 companies that will partner with the CMU Portugal Program in varying capacities. Several of these companies were start-ups of the Carnegie Mellon Portugal Program like Feedzai, Veniam, and Unbabel, and others in the ICT area are long-term collaborators of the program like Altice (formerly Portugal Telecom) and NOS. Newcomers include multinational Thales, as well as companies like Farfetch, Tekever, Talkdesk, and Uniplaces.

Universities, where innovations often originate, help drive economic growth. In the previous ten years, the CMU Portugal Program partnered with Portuguese universities and research institutions to make a significant impact on the scientific culture and the entrepreneurial capability of Portugal’s ICT sector. The program has graduated hundreds of Ph.D. and master’s students, who are bringing high-level technical skills into the workplace. Program researchers launched 12 start-ups like Mambu, Veniam, Unbabel, and Feedzai that have raised more than one hundred million dollars in venture capital and spawned hundreds of high-tech jobs in Portugal.

The CMU Portugal Program is directed at Carnegie Mellon by José M. F. Moura, the Philip L. and Marsha Dowd University Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and in Portugal by Rodrigo Rodrigues and Nuno Nunes, professors of computer science at Instituto Superior Técnico. The program encourages faculty and students to interact in strategic activities through faculty exchange programs, undergraduate internships, and inRes, a very early-stage acceleration program for Portuguese entrepreneurial teams. Faculty and students work in a dynamic ecosystem that brings together industry, government, and academia to solve real problems and elevate economic growth.