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“Sayonara, Porto”: INESC TEC researchers flew to Japan for an internship at an informatics institute

This month, two INESC TEC researchers started an internship at the National Institute of Informatics, in Tokyo. By leaving their “comfort zone”, they hope to explore “different points of view”, methods and elements to apply to their PhD projects.  

23rd January 2024

INESC TEC researchers Rúben Queirós and Luís Miguel Salgado initiated their internships at the National Institute of Informatics (NII), a research centre in Tokyo – with whom INESC TEC signed a memorandum of understanding.

Rúben Queirós is already at NII, where he will spend the next four months. He highlighted his desire to know the country and the opportunity to advance his PhD work. “I felt like this was an opportunity to explore a country I’d love to visit – and I didn’t want to waste it. It’s also a way to balance the internship’s goals with my activities at INESC TEC: flying networks using machine learning techniques”, he stated.

For now, it’s time to adapt. “The culture shock is quite significant”, he said; however, the researcher believes that “getting out of his comfort zone” will be important for the future. “I believe that the experience of an international internship will allow me to explore new outlooks and working methods that are crucial to my path as a PhD student”, he concluded.

Luís Vilaça also started his internship this month and, like Rúben, believes that “the daily contact with a different view of the world” can provide important outputs for his PhD. “Thinking ‘outside the box’ will certainly make a difference in the future,” mentioned the researcher, who will focus on extracting information from audiovisual content for indexing and recommendation in large repositories.

This will be the second contact with the NII – during the pandemic, he carried out an online internship. And this was a vital decision to his path since he met the professor who would later become co-advisor of the PhD project. “This internship has cemented the relationship we have created since then”, he concluded.

NII is Japan’s “only academic research institution” seeking to “create future value in the new subject of informatics”, Recently, Rui Oliveira, member of the Board of Directors at INEC TEC, was in the “capital of the East” to strengthen the relations between the Institute and Japanese research centres, and visited the researchers under the “NII International Internship Programme”.

In addition to the two researchers who left this month, INESC TEC researcher Francisco Ribeiro is also in Tokyo, at the NII, within the scope of an international internship.