Instituto Superior Técnico

Observatório de Boas Práticas do IST

Archive for the ‘Técnico- científico’ Category

Ceris Open Day Organizing Committee

Monday, September 28th, 2020

Research, Development and Innovation  2020

Ceris Open Day Organizing Committee

Practice Implementation

CERIS Open Day has become an annual event that brings together PhD students, postdoctoral researchers and professors of CERIS (Civil Engineering Research and Innovation for Sustainability). The program of the events has been changing between editions, nevertheless the core activities have remained the same: (i) team building activities; (ii) oral presentations of on-going research; (iii) keynote speakers from different areas and (iv) other activities that provide helpful informations and tools to the execution of on going research by the students.

For the new members of CERIS this event is usually their first contact with different researchers from the six research groups at CERIS, related with different fields in Civil Engineering.

The first edition of this event took place on the 27th and 28th of October, 2017.

The second edition of this event took place on the 23rd and 24th of October, 2018.

The third and latest edition of CERIS Open Day was held at Foz do Arelho, on the 9th and 10th of October, 2019. The event program comprised several leisure activities, as well as work focused activities to promote and share the knowledge of the participants, which balance was considered very healthy (see activities in the results section).

From the members of CERIS, a total of ten elements were selected to form the organizing committee. These members were from different investigation areas at different research stage (PhD students, post doctoral investigators) and a CERIS board member.

For the latest edition approximately 9.000€   were allocated (financed by FCT and included in the CERIS 2019 budget), which included accommodation, meals, transportation and all the activities.

For the organizing committee, this event is a complex exercise in logistics, given the coordination of the venue, the activities (new ideas, handling of resources, time management, among others) and, in the case of CERIS, the numerous amount of participants.

Results Achieved

The objective of this event is to promote the interaction and minimize the isolation between the center’s young researchers, by enhancing the team spirit, promote activities between the members, transfer knowledge between different areas of research, promote co-operation, and build the CERIS identity in the IST community. See the short film (https://www.dropbox.com/s/3ji40rqk4kne3yl/CERIS%20OPEN%20DAY.wmv?dl=0).

In the latest edition, there were two types of activities to consider. The leisure activities included an exploring of the outdoors near the event site, quiz, cannoeing, yoga and other team building activities. The work focused activities included three very different keynote lectures, namely: “Flying Sharks, Mosquitoes and Rock & Roll” by João Correia; “Career management skills: why we need them and where to get them?”  by Pedro Resende; and a “How to finish your PhD without Prozac and other mental health issues in academia” by Ekaterina Vinnik. There was also held “Get to know CERIS” kahoot and some PhD students and post doctoral investigators, presented their research in a short and informative “5 minute pitch”.

In the three editions held so far, the results were very good. There has been an increasing number of participants, in total 78 participants and 8 professors attended this year event representing 12 nationalities, which allowed for participants of various nationalities and research topics to take part in the promotion of a positive work environment. Overall, PhD students and postdoctoral researchers were very satisfied with the event, as shown by the results of the feedback survey delivered after each edition was concluded (http://ceris.pt/pdfs/Booklet_2019_v2.pdf).

It should be noted that there has been an increasing level of satisfaction in the second and third editions, which reflected the improvements that had been suggested in the previous years regarding a stronger investment in the team-building activities.

For the Organizing Committee and several other attendees, the best outcome was the noticeable increase in interaction between the young research community of CERIS, which is a key-factor in the development of a strong scientific community at IST.

Evaluation and Monitoring

The evaluation of the event quality has been carried out through a feedback survey, after the occurrence of each of the three editions, and assessed the participants opinion on several aspects, such as: (i) relevance on the promotion of such events; (ii) overall assessment of the event; (iii) relevance of the event for current work; (iv) relevance for meeting colleagues; (v) event structure; (vi) event duration (vii) work-leisure balance (vii) event organization (viii) favorite/least favorite moment; (ix) relevance of the keynote speakers: (x) adequacy of the venue and (xi) willingness to attend next editions of the event.

In the first edition, the evaluation questionnaire was answered by 57 participants.

Overall people indicated that further editions should be organized with an even higher focus on boosting the relationships and interactions among the numerous community of PhD students and postdoctoral researchers of CERIS, thus contributing to the identity of the unit.

In the second edition, the survey was answered by 48 participants (http://ceris.pt/pdfs/Ceris_open_day_2018_Booklet.pdf). The favorite moments were the Peddy paper (34,6%) and the Quiz (19,2%). The least favorite moments were the disco night (19,2%) and the keynotes (15.4%).

In the third edition, the survey was answered by 40% of the participants (http://ceris.pt/pdfs/Booklet_2019_v2.pdf). With respect to this edition, the answers were overall even more positive. The favorite moments were Canoeing (41%) and the keynote speakers (19 %), showing that the diversity of the keynote speakers is a big plus in this type of events. The least favorite moments were the Quiz (34%) and the “5 minute pitches” (22%). This survey helps identifying the activities that the organizing committee should maintain and the ones that should be improved in the renamed “CERIS Day Out 2020”. A document “Lessons learn” was also created to help the future editions of the event.

Innovative Character and Transferability

The event was created in order to promote interaction between the very numerous young researchers at CERIS. In its core, the event is based on a set of activities focused on team building and knowledge transfer, which can undoubtedly be replicated by CERIS and also by the several other IST-based research centers.

Its innovative character stems from the fact that the nature of the event allows for a simultaneous investment in several aspects which add value to both CERIS and IST, namely communication, personal interaction, development of social skills, spreading of ideas and knowledge and strengthening of a common identity within research community.

In 2019 event for the first time the organizing committee look for some sponsors, enriching the team-building activities, with recycled bags (GIRA), notebooks and pencils (Centro de Informação Geoespacial do Exército), re-usable water bottles (EPAL) and some fruit for the attendants (Frutalvor).

This event has been disseminated in CERIS Newsletter, pag.12 (https://www.dropbox.com/s/lxh193h6aj72tls/newsletter_jan2020.pdf?dl=0) and on CERIS Web page (www.ceris.pt) for the IST community and to the public in general. CERIS Open Day can have a strong link with the IST Open Day and with other initiatives from other IST research units.

A benchmark can be done to discuss the activities that lead to a better results and  some synergies can be made between IST research centers.

It is intention this year to improve the communication of CERIS through the social media, with strong link with IST communication group. Therefore the Open Day can contribute to improve and enrich the communication at IST community and to other higher education entities.

Social Innovation Lab (SILAB)

Monday, September 28th, 2020

Higher Education  2020

Ana Carvalho e Miguel Amaral (docentes DEG)

Practice Implementation

The Social Innovation Lab (SILAB) at IST was created to address current gaps in the educational system by focusing mainly on frugal innovation (do more with less) and social impact, aiming to solve problems experienced by vulnerable communities in the world. The SILAB involves makers, researchers and students from different backgrounds who develop their projects under supervision of professors and specialists and it encompasses: (i) a new educational model integrating an economic and human dimension of technology; (ii) a mobility program where students develop in-site solutions that potentiate the well-being of local communities; (iii) an international network of partners, and (iv) a physical laboratory where different stakeholders can interact and generate products that meet the needs of base-of-the-pyramid communities.

The planned activities involve (i) a summer school @ IST in partnership with Parul University, where Indian Students will come to IST to be part in lectures, teamwork, seminars, cultural activities and visits to organizations involved in social innovation/responsibility; (ii) a hackathon with national and international participants, focused on creating socially innovative solutions to worldwide problems; (iii) a competition for construction of recycled 3D printers, stimulating critical awareness to recycling and circular economy, while developing soft skills and motivating participants to causes and projects with social impact, (iv) a fundraising campaign for the Xavier Green School in India, aimed at selling drawings from indian students in order to reconstruct and refurbish the school’s computer lab, and (iv) a fundraising for the Zoya Rana Foundation, aimed at selling artwork made by Indian arts students who dream of advancing their careers. This foundation aims at supporting arts students and demistifying the prejudice against organ donation that is present in various (particularly religious) communities in India.

Results Achieved

The SILAB has been implementing the new educational model, throughout the past three years, through the development of socially innovative projects in curricular courses.

In the Industrial Engineering and Environment course, students have been assessed solely through a semester-long project, consisting of improving senior mobility. All together, 22 projects have been presented. One of these is DETU, a platform that helps senior mobility in public transportation, which won the Impact Category award on Grace Academy – an world-wide annual prize for students that present the best projects on Corporate Social Responsibility. Additionally, to validate the DETU platform, the SILAB invited a group of senior citizens to not only test the prototype but also visit the IST – Alameda campus, namely the Civil Engineering Museum and the Institute for Systems and Robotics at IST. The success of the event demonstrated the importance of integrating the community with univerisities and students by promoting an interchange of information and experience that is beneficial for society. Other projects involved bracelets that give information of traffic lights through sensors, in order to give them more time to cross streets or a service that provides monthly physical exercises that seniors can do at home to keep fit.

On the other hand, in the Technology Based Entrepreneurship course, students from different nationalities and backgrounds (Industrial Engineering and Management, Electronics Engineering, Computer Science and Engineering) were involved also in a semester-long project but addressing the topic “Social Innovation: Developing goods/services to address the needs of vulnerable individuals and communities in the world”. Students tackled challenges coming from different regions in India. Throughout the process students had the chance to learn about a completely different context, benefit from external mentoring from five different Indian universities, and develop solutions for real complex problems within specific communities with the potential of generating social impact. Students were involved in the E.Awards event at IST and one team won an honorable award (500€). This team developed E-MITRA, an app for illiterate farmers that facilitates the participation in public supporting schemes. At the end of the semester, students were given the opportunity to travel to India to attend a Summer School and to implement, hands-on, what they had been working on. This accomplishment served as validation of the SILAB model and good practice to be replicated, namely the involvement of students in challenges with social impact over a semester (or more) and the mobility of students to validate and implement these concepts in loco. Additionally, these types of projects enhance, among other things, soft skills, learning-by-doing, project-based learning, networking at an international level and real social impact through interventions with vulnerable people and communities.

Evaluation and Monitoring

The SILAB operational model encompasses evaluation and monitoring processes and activities. There is an internal evaluation and follow-up process, developed continuously by SILAB’s stakelholders (teachers, students, researchers, companies, NGOs) and also an external validation by end-users involved in the various projects and external entities (acting as observers, not directly involved in the projects). Accordingly, the SILAB circulates all the information on the outputs among its network and schedules follow up meetings every 2 month swith internal partners and every 4 months with external partners. KPIs include: the number of projects undertaken, number of events organized, number of student mobility programmes occurred, number of new partners, number of members involved in each project, number of individuals / communities served. More than the frequency and quantitative appraisal of all these activities, there is considerable effort in evaluating their social impact (from a more qualitative standpoint). The SILAB organizes an annual meeting with all partners to present and discuss the KPIs and to discuss current and future strategies..

Inovativ Character and Transferability

Engineering Schools have been enabling students to develop the skills needed to identify technology-based business opportunities and implement them within new and established organizations. Many of these technologies bring new ideas that meet social needs, create social relationships and form new collaborations – social innovations. However, these specific social challenges are still not being explicitly included at the core of many engineering courses curricula and, in general, on educational strategies at engineering schools globally.

The SILAB discusses the importance of Higher Education Institutions (HEI) connecting engineering with social impact; and uses SILAB as an innovative case-study to show how it can be done. The SILAB is a pilot for a new educational model that can be successfully implemented by other HEI. The innovative character of SILAB is the fact that it constitutes an integrating model of several activities that already exist in several universities in the world, but which are traditionally separatel, namely: (i) in the classroom (Curricular Units – CU); (ii) outside the classroom (in the laboratory, at IST events); and (iii) outside the university and the country (in fieldwork and interaction with local and international partners). This integrating model implicitly observes several dimensions: CUs, IST, and HEI (the way in which engineering can be taught), which can boost strong international networks at an individual and institutional level (as it is already occurring with the SILAB).

In terms of transferability, one of the objectives is to serve as a pilot and source of good practices for establishing a network of SI Labs at both national and international level. The creation of more labs can function as a decentralized network and become a world-wide grid of students, professors, universities, companies, and social enterprises promoting solutions towards the well-being of the population in the world. This goal requires that one keeps a mindset of “looking from the outside in” to guarantee systematization of the processes being implemented in order to validate and improve the model (which is what the SILAB has been doing). With regard of sustainability, SILAB has institutional support from IST, as well as from other national and international partners (Universities, companies, NGOs), moreover it relies on a frugal philosophy, which grants all the resources needed to fulfill the project’s mission and vision in the long run.

Ceris Open Day

Saturday, July 27th, 2019

Research, Development and Innovation  2019

Ceris Open Day Organizing Committee

Practice Implementation

CERIS Open Day is an annual event that brings together PhD students and postdoctoral researchers of CERIS – Civil Engineering Research and Innovation for Sustainability. The event programme is flexible, but can be thought of as a combination of team building activities, work presentations by the young researchers about ongoing research (oral and posters) , keynotes on a broad range of topics and other activities focused on providing helpful tools and information to the young research community.

The first edition of this activity took place on the 27th and 28th of October, 2017. The event started with several ice-breaker activities that promoted communication and interaction, followed by the several work presentations and keynotes, with with special focus on the lecture by Professor Filipe Duarte Santos regarding climate changes. There was also a presentation on scientific writing skills and publishing research work, followed by a round table discussion regarding the professional outlook for the postgraduate community. An after dinner informal activity was prepared, where participants were asked to present a 3 minute pitch on fictitious/unusual project proposals they had been working on during dinner, thus generating a relaxed and fun environment between co-workers.

The second edition of the CERIS Open Day was held at Vimeiro on October 23rd and 24th, 2018. The programme provided a healthy balance between work and leisure focused activities. There were some very interesting keynotes, namely “20 years of Science-Bases Entrepreneurship” by Nuno Arantes de Oliveira; “Society and Science: the challenges of a PhD”, by Ana Margarida Nunes de Almeida and “Is there fairy dust in research?”, by Cristina Gouveia. The team-building activities included a hike through Serra do Montejunto, followed by a community picnic lunch, an after-dinner quizz competition, disco night and a Peddy paper. To conclude, some PhD students were given the opportunity to divulge their research.

Results Achieved

The objectives of this event were to promote the interaction between the center’s young researchers, enhance team spirit and communication, transfer knowledge regarding ongoing research, build the CERIS identify and provide orientation for research development.

In the two editions held so far, the results were very good. There was a very positive turnout which allowed for participants of various nationalities and research topics to take part in the promotion of a positive work environment. Overall, PhD students and postdoctoral researchers were very thrilled with the event, as shown through the results of a feedback survey delivered after each edition was completed. It should be noted that there was a higher level of satisfaction in the second edition, which reflected the improvements that had been suggested in the previous year regarding a stronger investment in the team-building activities.

For the Organizing Committee and several other attendees, the best outcome was the noticeable increase in interaction between the young research community of CERIS, which is a key-factor in the building of a strong scientific community at IST.

Evaluation and Monitoring

The monitoring of the event quality was done through a satisfaction survey, which delved into several aspects such as (i) overall assessment of the event (ii) relevance of the event for current work (iii) relevance for meeting colleagues (iv) event structure (v) event duration (vi) work-leisure balance (vii) event organization (viii) adequacy of the venue and (viii) willingness to attend next editions of the event. It also provided an opportunity to suggest improvements to the event (many in line with the identification of favourite and least favourite moments).

In the first edition, the evaluation questionnaire was answered by 57 participants.

The favourite moments were the after-dinner session (29.8%) and the ice-breaker activities (19.3%). The least favourite moments were the keynotes (22.8%), the oral presentations (17.5%) and the dinner time (15.8%). Overall people indicated that further editions should be organized with an even higher focus on boosting the relationships and interactions among the numerous community of PhD students and postdoctoral researchers of CERIS, thus contributing to the identity of the unit.

In the second edition, the survey was answered by 48 participants

(http://ceris.pt/pdfs/Ceris_open_day_2018_Booklet.pdf). With respect to the previous edition, the answers were overall even more positive.

The favourite moments were the Peddy paper (34,6%) and the after-dinner quizz (19,2%). The least favourite moments were the disco night (19,2%) and the keynotes (15.4%).

Innovative Character and Transferability

The event was launched in order to promote interaction between the very numerous young researchers at CERIS. Essentially it consists of a set of activities focused on team building and knowledge transfer, which can undoubtedly be replicated by CERIS and also the several other IST-based research centres. It is a complex exercise in logistics, given the coordination of the venue, the activities (new ideas, handling of resources, time management, etc) and, in the case of CERIS, the numerous amount of participants.

Its innovative character stems from the fact that the nature of the event allows for a simultaneous investment in several aspects which add value to both CERIS and IST, namely communication, spreading of ideas and knowledge and strengthening of a common identify.