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Angra do Heroísmo ,  June 13, 2019

Azores are focus of scientific and technological cooperation agreements with the University of Massachusetts Lowell

The Regional Secretary for the Sea, Science and Technology stated today that the creation of the "UMass Lowell - Portugal Joint Initiative" programme could mark "the begin of important relations between the Azores Scientific and Technological System and the University of Massachusetts Lowell, namely in the most important and common scientific areas" such as the sustainability of oceans, space and climate change.
Gui Menezes spoke to journalists in Angra do Heroísmo on the sidelines of the opening session of the "2019 UMass Lowell-Portugal – Knowledge and innovation for a sustainable economy across the Atlantic" workshop. The initiative provides for the creation of three cooperation programmes between the University of Massachusetts, USA, and several Portuguese research institutions and universities, with special emphasis on the University of the Azores.
During this event, various memoranda of understanding will be signed, involving the Regional Government, through the Regional Fund for Science and Technology (FRCT), the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT), the University of Massachusetts Lowell (UMass Lowell) the Luso-American Foundation and TERINOV - Terceira Science and Technology Park.
According to the Regional Secretary, these memoranda will be "the matrix" for future partnerships that will enable the creation of new research projects and the mobility of researchers and advanced students from both sides of the Atlantic.
This new collaboration programme between UMass Lowell and Portugal is quite similar to existing programmes such as MIT-Portugal, Carnegie-Mellon-Portugal or UTAustin-Portugal. It provides for the creation of three tools, the establishment of academic chairs and an Innovation Hub to be installed at TERINOV.
Research projects will be financed by FCT as well as by operational programmes, namely Compete2020 in the case of institutions from Portugal Mainland, Azores2020 in the case of the University of the Azores and by UMass Lowell's own funds.
The agreements provide for the establishment of three academic chairs this year to be based at the University of the Azores. They will be oriented towards digital transformation, innovation and sustainability.
These academic chairs represent an overall investment of 300 thousand Euros of the Regional Government of the Azores, FLAD and FCT.
According to Gui Menezes, academic chairs are a mechanism "to support the maintenance of researchers in various scientific areas of interest to the Region in the archipelago."
In turn, the Innovation Hub aims to promote the mobility of professors, researchers and students between UMass Lowell and the Azores; it will be based in TERINOV.
"The Azores are a unique site for many scientific areas, especially for the study of the oceans but also for the areas of space and energy," said the Regional Secretary.
"Due to our size, the dispersion of the archipelago and our location, we should be and we are recognised as a small test laboratory in various scientific fields, which is of great interest to many research groups," the government official said, adding that this is one of the reasons for the implementation of the AIR Centre in the Azores.
Gui Menezes said that this new programme "is a contribution of science to bring both sides of the Atlantic closer," considering that this initiative could bring benefits not only from a scientific standpoint, but also from an economic standpoint.
The Regional Secretary recalled the visit to the University of Massachusetts Lowell in February to learn about some areas of research, highlighting common areas such as space.
"This area has registered a considerable growth in the Azores and we intend to reinforce this trend," stated the government official. In this regard, he noted that the RAEGE station on Santa Maria Island uses an Earth observation technique that is also used by UMass Lowell, which has aroused the interest some US researchers as it has "an excellent location for certain observations."
Gui Menezes also stated that this workshop is in line with the goals of the AIR Centre as far as it aims to "bring together research groups, share infrastructures and create research partnerships."
"We intend to foster partnerships and provide a moment for researchers to become better acquainted so that they can establish partnership agreements for possible projects and to seek funding for scientific development," said the Regional Secretary.
"The AIR Centre brings the east closers to the west and the north closer to the south in areas such as the study of oceans, energy, space and climate change," stated the government official.
Regarding the study of climate change, Gui Menezes stated that "it is a very emergent area and a challenge that Humanity faces," defending that "that many of today's challenges can be studied only on an Atlantic scale."


Official government press-releases presented in all foreign languages interfaces of the Azorean Government Portal (Portal do Governo dos Açores) are a sub-set of the government's official press-releases daily output and are chosen for translation and publication on the foreign language interfaces based on audience segmentation criteria. The entire collection of the Azorean government press-releases is available in portuguese, here, from the GACS Press Office site.

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