CMU-Portugal Partnership Program Overview


1. The Portuguese Government, through the Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education, is entering into a long-term collaboration with the Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) focusing on basic research and education. The objectives, framework and structure of the collaboration were developed during a six month assessment study conducted by CMU between March and September 2006, which concluded that the excellence of the research identified in Portuguese research centers throughout the assessment exercise recommends that CMU foster collaborations with Portuguese institutions. It refers that "...CMU has recognized from the beginning the goals of the Portuguese government and of the Portuguese Universities and Research Institutions, their quality and international reputation, as well as the excellence of their faculty. ...we recognize that Universities and Research Institutions in Portugal are of high quality and are internationally recognized, and their faculty includes first-rate researchers. Our assessment also identified structural shortcomings and inadequate practices that constraint the activity of the faculty and limit the impact of these institutions. The success of the CMU-Portugal initiative will depend very much in recognizing these insufficiencies and confronting them directly. The administrations of several Portuguese Schools and Universities that we contacted consistently reassured us that they are prepared to address any identified deficiencies."

2. The CMU-Portugal Program will set-up a new international virtual institution, the Information and Communication Technologies Institute (ICTI), which will be focused on Information and Communication Technologies, with two poles: ICTI@CMU, resident at CMU, and ICTI@Portugal, resident in Portugal. The Institute has a unified administration: a Board of Directors, an External Review Committee, and the directors of each pole.

3. The Portuguese Government intends to strengthen the country's knowledge base at an international level through a strategic investment in people, knowledge and ideas and the CMU-Portugal Program has been designed together with other international partnerships with renowned research and education institutions worldwide to contribute adequate funding to support the development of basic research and education and to foster a set of new and diversified institutional partnerships. It should also be noted that the goals of the overall operation include launching and promoting new research-based consortia at a national level and the CMU-Portugal Program contributes for this effort by involving 12 different universities, 8 schools of higher education, together with a large number of research centers and 4 Associated Laboratories. From CMU, there are 6 Colleges, 8 Departments, and 6 Research Centers and Institutes that have direct involvement in this Program.

4. The CMU-Portugal Program is organized in three dimensions: advanced degree programs, doctoral programs, and research projects. The advanced degree programs and the doctoral programs are dual degree programs, i.e., the graduates of these programs receive two degrees - one awarded by Carnegie Mellon University and one awarded by the Portuguese Partner University. As such, the programs are structured to satisfy the degree requisites required by Carnegie Mellon University and the Portuguese University awarding the degree. The advanced degree programs are delivered by Carnegie Mellon University in partnership with a Portuguese University. There are three such programs:

i) Software Engineering, to be launched in partnership with Universidade de Coimbra, with faculty from other Portuguese Institutions;

ii) Information Technology with focus on Information Security, to be launched by  Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa, with faculty from other Portuguese Institutions; and

iii) Information Networking, to be launched by Universidade de Aveiro in collaboration with Instituto de Telecomunicações, with faculty from other Portuguese Institutions. Doctoral degree programs include PhDs in Computer Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Language Technology, Mathematics, and in the area of Technological Change and Innovation. The research projects are in a number of areas and they complement well the educational programs.

5. The program will also involve CMU and Portuguese faculty, graduate students, post-doctoral associates and research staff. Visiting appointments of faculty at CMU and in Portuguese institutions will enrich the collaboration. Portuguese graduate students will spend time at CMU as visiting students and Portuguese students will be encouraged to apply to CMU for graduate degrees. The collaboration will involve opportunities for a significant number of professionals.

6. To develop the program in Portuguese institutions it is expected, besides the involvement of their faculty, the establishment of new contracts with invited professors and postdoctoral researchers with recognized merit in international basis, in a way that reinforces their education and research capability, involving a total of around 11 new professorships and 14 post-docs annually in the program. The program will also involve around 80 new PhD students and about 180 new professional master students over the 5 years.

7. The program envisages the collaboration of students, researchers and professors of Portuguese institutions with research teams at CMU, where the "ICTI@CMU" will be developed, involving around 40 professors, and 80 graduate students at CMU annually. All CMU professors, researchers and PhD students will have a co-affiliation with a Portuguese Institution.

8. The anticipated total public budget for the first 5 years of the CMU-Portugal partnership amounts to around 56 Million Euros (70 Million USD), from which 28 Million Euros are to fund activities at CMU (35 M.USD) and other 28 Million Euros are public funding to Portuguese institutions. In addition, private funding will be used to support activities in industrial affiliates and to support advanced professional education programs.

9. The Program will involve a new companion effort, "CMU-Portugal Industrial affiliates" with the goal of fostering new research consortia in collaboration with CMU and Portuguese research groups, leading to new frontiers of transatlantic collaboration in science and technology, as listed in Annex. Companies that, from the start, have a major role in the CMU-Portugal Program include the incumbent operator (i.e., PT:Portugal Telecom, SGPS), major national companies (Novabase) and multinationals operating in Portugal (including Nokia Siemens Networks Portugal) and a set of technology-based firms, including Critical Software, SkySoft Portugal, Altitute Software, Mulitcert, and Priberam Informática, among others. In addition, technology-based firms associated to INOVA-RIA (Associação de Empresas para uma Rede de Inovação em Aveiro) are also committed to participate in the Program.

10. The CMU Program Director is José Moura, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. The Portuguese Program Director is Victor Barroso, Associate Professor at Instituto Superior Técnico.