This month, the Program organized its first Governing Board (GB) meeting since the implementation of Phase 3, to report the activities of 2019 and get approval for its work plan for 2020.
Held on January 10, at Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT) headquarters in Lisbon, the appointed Governing Board gathered with UT Austin Portugal’s Leadership to take a look back to the Program’s activities in 2019, review the progress made, reflect on lessons learnt and approve the work program for the present year and corresponding budget.
Chaired by José Paulo Esperança, Vice-President of FCT, the main sponsor of this long-term transatlantic partnership, the Governing Board also includes the Program’s former Principal Investigator at UT Austin, Robert A. Peterson, representing the American University; José Manuel Mendonça, in representation of Portuguese Universities and also serving as National Director of the Program; and two other members who bring the industry vision and mindset to this governance body: Célia Reis, CEO of Altran Portugal and António Vidigal, CEO of EDP Inovação.
John Ekerdt and Marco Bravo, Principal Investigator and Executive Director of the Program at UT Austin respectively; Rui Oliveira, National Co-Director; Andreia Passos, Executive Director of the Program in Portugal; and Ana Reis and Ricardo Araújo, from FCT’s International Partnerships office, completed the panel of attendees.
The meeting offered the opportunity for a joint reflection on how well the Program delivered on its strategy for 2019, how it managed to successfully work around some implementation challenges and how promising and exciting 2020 looks like for the partnership, with the 2019 Strategic and Exploratory Research Projects kicking off.
Looking back to the past 12 months of activity, it is undeniable that the Program has gathered pace and was able to support and implement activities under its Research and Education instruments, with outstanding numbers to report and very positive feedback from an ever-growing transatlantic community. The bar has been set higher and, with the support of FCT and its GB, the partnership is more committed than ever to foster impactful change. To this end, throughout 2020, the Program plans to diversify its portfolio of educational and innovation activities, support competitive funding opportunities for transatlantic research consortia, organize networking events, take researchers in Portugal to spend some time in UT Austin’s thriving ecosystem, and bring more partners from the industrial and business sectors on board, thus amplifying knowledge sharing opportunities between different actors and across multiple fields.