UT Austin Portugal Program reinforces the collaboration between academia and industry with research on emerging technologies
06th October 2020
The UT Austin Portugal Program, FCT's international partnership that connects Portuguese universities, R&D institutes and companies with the University of Texas (Austin), will promote the annual conference on October 7 and 8. This hybrid event (online and in person), under the motto “Innovation at the Intersection of Academia and Industry”, includes two keynote speakers and four thematic masterclasses - with a list of academic experts and companies from the industry and health fields in Portugal, USA and Germany.
“Concerning the third phase of the UT Austin Portugal Program, we aim to reinforce the collaboration between academia and industry, which is well illustrated in the 11 transatlantic strategic projects underway within the Program. These projects are led by Portuguese companies (which is something unique) with the support of academia and research centers in Portugal, and the University of Texas System ecosystem, with a clear incentive by UT Austin. We are talking about projects that, in addition to contributing to increase the competitive capacity of Portuguese companies in global markets through R&D, aim to address major societal challenges with innovative solutions based on scientific knowledge. For instance, sensors to remotely monitor cancer patients; new options for water treatment or nanosatellites to analyze the impact of climate change on the oceans”, said José Manuel Mendonça, National Director of the UT Austin Portugal Program.
These projects cover the four areas of the Program: Medical Physics, Advanced Computing, Nanotechnologies and Earth-Space Interactions, which are also the starting point for the four master classes, which will give participants the opportunity to discover more about the latest research and innovation developments, and interact with global experts in these areas.
What will the batteries of the future look like? Is lithium here to stay? What can we learn from the worlds of parallel devices? Which industries will benefit the most from glass electrolyte technology? Maria Helena Braga, associate professor in the Department of Physical Engineering at the University of Porto, promises to answer these questions during her lecture, included in the conference agenda. Luís Sentis, the other keynote speaker, is the founder of Apptronik Systems and an associate professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Texas. He will explain, live from Austin, how one can establish a state-of-the-art humanoid robots and exoskeletons company, as well as which are the future robotics markets, by recalling the outcomes of collaborative projects with NASA.
An e-poster exhibition and an online catalog of cooperation profiles complete the agenda of the conference - which will include a communication by the Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education.
The full program is available here https://utaustinportugal.org/events/2020annualconference/
More information available on the website https://utaustinportugal.org/
About the Projects
Shielding electronic devices from electromagnetic interference
This project proposes to use the “wonder material” graphene to improve on methods to combat electromagnetic interference, which can disrupt circuits and cause devices to fail. The team plans to create two composites with electromagnetic interference shielding capabilities and fabricate a solution to protect electric wires used in the automotive industry.
UT Austin Faculty: Deji Akinwande, Cockrell School of Engineering, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering; Brian Korgel, Cockrell School of Engineering, McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering
New lasers for next-generation biomedical imaging
The use of multiphoton microscopy to examine cell behavior in live tissue over time has become an important research tool for learning more about brains and tumors. This project aims to increase the speed and depth of this form of imaging and diagnostics through the development and application of ultrashort laser pulses.
UT Austin Faculty: Andrew Dunn, Cockrell School of Engineering, Department of Biomedical Engineering; Adela Ben-Yakar, Cockrell School of Engineering, Walker Department of Mechanical Engineering
Nano-satellites for gravitational field assessment
Researchers propose to develop a nano-satellite prototype for studying gravitational fields. The project will also develop a platform for future nano-satellite capabilities, including Earth observation, communications and exploration missions.
UT Austin Faculty: Byron Tapley, Cockrell School of Engineering, Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, and the Center for Space Research; Brandon Jones, Cockrell School of Engineering, Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, and the Texas Spacecraft Laboratory
Software to match big data with high-performance computing
The advancement of technology has generated huge troves of data, which requires stronger computing power to process and analyze all that information. This project aims to create a software bundle to help companies pair their big data operations with high-performance computing, which includes tools for managing challenges such as computing and research storage.
UT Austin Faculty: Vijay Chidambaram, College of Nature Sciences, Department of Computer Science; Todd Evans, Texas Advanced Computing Center
Sensors for monitoring cancer patients
This project will develop a biosensor that can be injected into prostate cancer patients after surgery. The minimally invasive sensor would allow medical personnel to monitor high-risk patients remotely and look for the development of early tumors, with the potential to increase the predictive value of cancer screenings.
UT Austin Faculty: Thomas Milner, Cockrell School of Engineering, Department of Biomedical Engineering; James Tunnell, Cockrell School of Engineering, Department of Biomedical Engineering
Wearable rehabilitation devices
Researchers will develop a series of nano-sensors embedded into clothing that administer electrostimulation to people suffering from a lack of mobility and motor deficiency. The sensors could be monitored remotely by health professionals, creating a mobile rehabilitation option for people who have trouble getting to a doctor’s office consistently or want greater freedom to complete treatment anywhere. The team envisions its project as a tool mostly for elderly people, but it has applications for training high-level athletes as well.
UT Austin Faculty: George Biros, Cockrell School of Engineering, Walker Department of Mechanical Engineering, and the Oden Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences; Michael Cullinan, Cockrell School of Engineering, Walker Department of Mechanical Engineering
Software for gathering better data on manufacturing
Getting reliable data on manufacturing processes proves challenging due to issues with placing sensors in the right spots and retaining strong connectivity. Thin films loaded with small sensors that can be applied directly to the equipment represent a promising solution; however, installation has proved difficult. This project proposes a new set of software to make it easier to layer these films on top of equipment by providing necessary data to avoid mechanical problems during installation.
UT Austin Faculty: Rui Huang, Cockrell School of Engineering, Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, Center for Mechanics of Solids, Structures and Materials; Kenneth M. Liechti, Cockrell School of Engineering, Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, Center for Mechanics of Solids, Structures and Materials
A new way to measure next-generation cancer therapy
Proton radiation therapy, the use of protons rather than X-rays to treat cancer patients, is on the rise, but measuring the distance protons travel proves problematic. Typically, it takes a ring of detectors surrounding the patient to get accurate measurements, but that poses geometric challenges. This project proposes to develop a new type of Positron Emission Tomography scan, which shows how tissues and organs are functioning to better understand the range of protons and whether they are traveling to the right spots to attack the cancer.
UT Faculty: Karol Lang, College of Natural Sciences, Department of Physics; Narayan Sahoo, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Department of Radiation Physics
Satellite constellations for monitoring climate change
This project aims to develop the next generation of radar altimeter instruments — which measure the distance between an aircraft and the terrain below it — and a series of small satellites that can understand long-term variability in local, regional and global climate created by changes in sea levels due to water temperature. The project also includes a data processing and visualization system using advanced modeling, estimation techniques, statistical and scientific machine learning methods and error analysis.
UT Austin Faculty: Byron Tapley, Cockrell School of Engineering, Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics Department, and the Center for Space Research; Patrick Heimbach, Jackson School of Geosciences, Department of Geological Sciences, and the Oden Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences
Improving cutting tools for airline and automotive components
Fabricating parts of cars and planes is hard on cutting tools and tends to ware them down. This project aims to develop coatings that better protect and extend the lifespan of these crucial pieces of equipment. The team also plans to develop simulation programs to improve cutting tools’ performance.
UT Austin Faculty: Gregory J. Rodin, Cockrell School of Engineering, Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, and the Oden Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences; Filippo Mangolini, Cockrell School of Engineering, Walker Department of Mechanical Engineering
An alternative to traditional water treatment options
Traditional water treatment tech struggles to efficiently remove high amounts of pollutants from some types of surface and groundwater. This team is looking to use metallic nanoparticles to clean water by improving a process called catalytic hydrogenation, which involves adding hydrogen via a metallic catalyst.
About the UT Austin Portugal: the UT Austin Portugal Program started in 2007; it is a Science and Technology partnership between the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) and the University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin), supported by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education. In 2018, the partnership was renewed until 2030, towards a new decade. After ten years of collaboration, UT Austin Portugal and the Portuguese institutions continue to develop a collaborative effort to promote a thriving research agenda, strongly aligned with the country's national strategy, in five major areas: Advanced Computing; Nanotechnologies; Space-Earth interactions; Medical Physics and Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship.
Porto – October 6, 2020
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