André Santos, Senior Consultant/Engineer (VORTEX)

André Santos, Senior Consultant/Engineer (VORTEX)

  • Years when you began working at INESC TEC and when you left2013 – 2021
  • Centre at INESC TEC where you worked: High-assurance Software Laboratory (HASLab)


What have you been doing professionally since you left INESC TEC?

I left INESC TEC after concluding my PhD, in mid-2021. Since then, I was hired as Senior Consultant/Engineer by VORTEX, a Collaborative Laboratory (CoLAB) in cyber-physical systems and cybersecurity – with INESC TEC as one of the CoLAB’s main partners. At a technical level, my tasks are similar to those I performed at HAS-Lab/INESC TEC; I keep researching high-assurance software for robotic systems, while developing methods and tools to verify certain safety properties of said systems.

An interesting aspect is the unique role I play at VORTEX, almost as an intermediary between VORTEX and HAS-Lab. I’m mostly dedicated to R&D with HASLab members (particularly with my former supervisors), while supervising Master’s thesis. I try to find common grounds (e.g., projects) where HASLab and INESC TEC can keep collaborating and improving. This relationship is quite beneficial; I can present HASLab some of the most useful and important skills and knowledge from VORTEX, and vice-versa. For instance, some of VORTEX’s projects rely on cybersecurity and distributed systems, two major HASLab competencies. Besides, I can interact with students and introduce them to VORTEX as a potential career option.

How did your experience at INESC TEC contributed to your new professional history?

It’s hard to highlight one or two specific ways INESC TEC contributed to my current work, since, in fact, it contributed to everything. My current tasks are similar to those I performed at INESC TEC, and I can affirm that INESC TEC provided me all that I needed to reach my current position. I’d like to emphasise the autonomy in terms of scientific research throughout my PhD, with the support and guidance of two excellent supervisors: Alcino Cunha and Nuno Macedo, both members of INESC TEC/HASLab. The Institute helped me develop the skills necessary to work with professionals from other areas, who were not experts in the tasks I carried out. More specifically, I’ve worked within the scope of a partnership with CRIIS, which allowed HASLab to use robotic systems developed at CRIIS as case studies for analysis tools. Another major aspect of INESC TEC, particularly distinct at VORTEX, is applied research. I’ve always enjoyed the idea of advancing scientific knowledge while considering a concrete problem or application that could benefit from said knowledge.

When you think about INESC TEC, what comes to your mind?

First, a network of talented people, some of them brilliant. Several members of INESC TEC – former and current – have demonstrated how INESC TEC can preserve and promote excellence. Due to its interface with universities and academia, INESC TEC welcomes people from all ages, from students to professors; this is great, since it promotes a healthy exchange of ideas, not only at the workplace, but also at social events. I also recall INESC TEC as a home, a place that welcomes us at the beginning of our careers and helps us improve, allowing us to stay there for quite some time – a perfectly valid long-term career option.

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