Carlos Ferreira (C-BER), Paulo Oliveira (CRAS), Pedro Carvalho, Leonardo Capozzi and João Pinto (CTM)

Carlos Ferreira (C-BER)

“Over the last four years, Carlos has been doing an incredible job. I’ve collaborated with Carlos in the IEEE EMBS Portugal Chapter Executive Committee (excom), whose term ended this month with the election of a new team, and the results are remarkable: the organisation of the ENBENG 2019, with more than 300 participants; the reactivation of the ISEL Student Branch and the fourth EMBS Student Branch Chapter in Portugal; the 46 events that our EMBS PT community organised or officially supported; the six IEEE EMBS distinguished lectures we brought at national events; the IEEE Portugal Outstanding Chapter Award in 2019; and the icing on the cake, which was the Outstanding European EMBS Chapter Award received by an extended national team at the EMBC 2019 conference in Berlin. Although the excom included four elements, I consider Carlos the most fundamental element for the Chapter’s success. As a result, he was invited and elected as treasurer of IEEE Portugal, and the European representative of the Development committee of IEEE EMBS. Another aspect worth emphasising is Carlos’ work at TEC4HEALTH, with significant success this month: the approval of the first phase of a PRR proposal of the health innovation pact, which totals €6M of funds for INESC TEC. This was the most tangible result of Carlos’ solid activity as a business developer at TEC4HEALTH, where he once again played a key role in the characterisation and promotion of the field of health technologies at INESC TEC. Finally, it’s important to mention that Carlos manages to carry out all his tasks while developing his PhD work, whose plan – associated with his CV – gathered him funding by a FCT PhD scholarship”.

– C-BER coordinators

How do you characterise your professional path at INESC TEC (main achievements, challenges, etc.)?

I started collaborating with INESC TEC approximately five years ago, initially within the scope of my master’s thesis, followed by a research grant; I’m currently developing my PhD and performing business and management tasks at TEC4HEALTH. My research focuses primarily on medical images analysis applied to computed tomography images, in order to support the diagnosis of lung cancer. It’s been a path characterised by learning, academic achievements, and a lot of networking. Despite the specificities of the health area – highly regulated and relatively small in Portugal -, the development of solutions and the support to researchers in project proposals has been quite gratifying.

How do you manage to find the balance between your responsibilities as a business developer and the work developed at IEEE Portugal and your PhD?

It’s not easy to find the balance between different roles. I try to establish a thorough plan of my weekly work, in order to switch between scientific development activities and meetings within the scope of the TEC4HEALTH. I’m at IEEE as a volunteer, and I tend work for it on an after-hours basis. The Portuguese Chapter is mainly responsible for supporting the organisation of conferences and the publishing of papers on topics related to engineering.

Which aspects of your job do you enjoy the most?

Actually, I like how different my tasks are. During the same working week. I may have to program (mainly in Python), attend and participate in conferences, provide support to submissions for funded programmes, and meet new companies and other entities.

How do you comment on this nomination?

I’d like to thank Miguel Coimbra for all the opportunities and for trusting me. I’d also like to thank all the researchers at C-BER and the INESC TEC structure who usually guided and supported me. I intend to keep contributing to increase the Health area at INESC TEC.

Paulo Oliveira (CRAS)

The CRAS coordinators would like to nominate Paulo Mónica Oliveira, for the key role he played in the project of the ‘Mar Profundo’ vessel, developed within the scope of the TEC4SEA initiative. Paulo Mónica actively monitored all phases of the project – from the first talks in 2015 to the final developments in 2021. Monitoring the construction process was not an easy task, not only because it was a new project of great technical complexity, but also because it took place in the shipyards of the Nautiber company, in the Algarve, during the pandemic. Despite all difficulties, his technical knowledge of naval engineering helped to overcome the many barriers, and the regular visits he carried out were always followed by thorough reports on the state of development. Paulo Mónica also played a key role in the processes of registration, certification and crew recruitment that enabled the use of the ‘Mar Profundo’ in the NATO naval exercise ‘REP(MUS)21’, held last September. Thank you, Paulo!”.

– CRAS coordinators

What challenges did you face while carrying out the tasks?

The main factor underlying most of the difficulties we faced while building the vessel was the vessel’s uniqueness­­—it was specifically tailored to the objectives of INESC TEC— and, therefore, the lack of prior examples that could be used as reference points.

During the initial phase, this hindered the conception of a set of specifications that could lead to the best possible vessel within the available budget, but without exceeding the threshold of the financial feasibility of its construction. Without it, we could be facing a public tender to which the market would not be able to respond, thus leading to several iterations for which there was no time on the schedule. It was a very fine balance – like all balances involving multi-criteria optimisation in contexts of uncertainty. The parameters to be considered were not simply technical or budget-related; we had to consider the legal context associated with seafarers and vessels, the seabed and subsoil geography of the Portuguese sea where we wanted to operate, the operational objectives we needed to achieve, the human resources constraints for operating the vessel, the operation and maintenance costs and the resulting financial sustainability of the resource we were planning to acquire, and many others. We were lucky to get it right the first time, and we saw with pleasure a Portuguese shipyard win the tender, a shipyard of which we have only good things to report.

Later, during the construction phase, the uniqueness of this product once again posed many challenges in the choice of the best technical solutions to meet the functional requirements; however, between INESC TEC and the shipyard team all issues were resolved to satisfaction.

Finally, it’s important to mention that all this process took place during the pandemic, among lockdowns and disruptions of supply chains. Once again, we did manage to solve all the problems, but it’s important to emphasise the climate of cooperation, and trust established between the shipyard and INESC TEC, which was a determining factor in the successful conclusion of a process that faced its fair share of difficulties.

How did you overcome them?

By working together. Identifying the problems, analysing, and characterizing them, listing, and openly discussing their potential solutions, and then making decisions that, most of the times, became consensual. There are not many problems out there that a cohesive, motivated, and talented team cannot successfully address.

What is the differentiating factor of the project in which you were involved

As a research vessel, the differentiating aspect is the achieved balance between its operating costs and its operating capabilities. “Perform almost as if you were a big ship, with approximately the same costs of a small craft”. This is what makes this vessel distinct, and a desirable asset to be employed – both by ourselves and by the external communities we aim to support.

How do you comment on this nomination?

I understand that dealing with a single person is more practical than dealing with many; this leads to the natural tendency of trying to concentrate on someone something that doesn’t belong to any individual: the work carried out by an entire team. However, and despite the pleasure in representing the team – and in sending a photograph of myself (1) to spare such exposure to the more modest amongst us – I must set the record straight: personally, I only did what I was supposed to do, and never felt like a key player in the process. What I did in fact feel was the motivation, dedication, and talent of the full CRAS team, which spared no effort, regardless of hours, tide, and wind, and always found out ways to overcome the difficulties that we faced throughout this process. Having had the opportunity to work with such an amazing team was the incredible part of all this. An incredible luck, to be precise.

(1) Paulo Oliveira within the scope of the ‘Mar Profundo’ project

Pedro Carvalho, Leonardo Capozzi and João Pinto (CTM)

“The CTM coordinators would like to nominate the team composed of João Pinto, Leonardo Capozzi and Pedro Carvalho for their exceptional work within the scope of the final demonstrator of the EasyRide project. The development process required several trips to Bosch Car Multimedia headquarters in Braga, in order to adapt and install the algorithms developed on the testing vehicle’s demonstration platform – in partnership with the Bosch team. This process was carried out over a limited period, with many access restrictions, leading to further efforts. It was an intense and demanding activity, but quite successful. The results translated into high scientific quality in the real-world demonstration”. *

– CTM Coordinators

What challenges did you face while carrying out your tasks?

The EasyRide project was quite demanding; first, due to the scientific challenges, and then because all tasks were carried out during the pandemic – with some work performed during lockdowns. This scenario hindered the interaction between the teams, as well the access to important resources. The work relied heavily on access to audio-visual data that represented a given scenario, as well as on vehicle testing and available hardware. The pandemic did not allow the collection of important data, which involved the participation of several people, and it made the physical interactions between the team in charge of installing the equipment on the testing vehicle impractical.

How did you overcome them?

We managed to overcome these challenges thanks to our commitment and sense of collaboration and accountability… as well as creativity. Everybody worked hard to keep in touch regularly and promote a good workflow, looking for solutions (some of them quite unusual) to address the challenges. It’s important to emphasise the willingness of INESC TEC and Bosch Car Multimedia teams.

What is the differentiating factor of the work you’ve developed?

From a scientific point of view, we’ve addressed the issue of characterising the passengers’ emotion and activity according to two dimensions: the use of multimodal data to obtain more robust results; the computational efficiency of the modules developed, and their adaptation to the scenario. As to the project itself, the specificities of the scenario, product vision and demonstration in real-time forced us to leave our comfort zone and consider the consequences of our options in terms of real applicability of algorithms – from precision in real-world situations to robustness during unforeseen cases.

How do you comment on this nomination?

The project was quite demanding, with a lot of work dedicated to its development; but the demonstrator posed even greater challenges. Its success, in real-time and through the interaction of visitors, proved that we’re able to deliver high-quality work; from publications to real applications, it’s great to know that our work is acknowledged. We’d like to thank the CTM coordinators and the former members of the project – Luís Sanhudo and Afonso Sousa. We’d also like to thank the collaborators of Bosch Car Multimedia – Carolina Pinto, Ricardo Veloso, Niklas Hammerschmidt, Thomas Schulz, Margarida Oliveira, Joaquim Fonseca and Filipe Gonçalves – for trusting and supporting us throughout the project.

* The researcher Pedro Carvalho was selected as the team’s spokesperson.

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