INESC TEC, within the scope of a financing programme for internal project called Internal Seed Projects, has already funded 10 projects in different fields – from biomedical engineering to energy, photonics, or robotics -, allocating €226.470.
Launched in 2018, this programme aims to support internal projects in three categories: new inter-centre collaborations, emerging talent, and technology commercialisation. Regardless of the category, applicant projects must comply with the following: high risk/high reward, high potential, and replicability.
“This funding mechanism supports research and innovation activities with high potential, focusing on specific circumstances where external support is simply insufficient, like the beginning of a research career, the affirmation of new interdisciplinary areas, or the start of technology commercialisation processes. In this sense, we focus on reinforcing and accelerating more disruptive activities at INESC TEC, considering their high risk and high impact potential”, said João Claro, chairman of INESC TEC’s Executive Board.
The approved projects
In the first call of the funding programme, 30 applications were submitted and five were selected, namely 3D models for medical image analysis, optical sensors for food monitoring, underwater robot prototype, neonatal monitoring via a non-invasive method, or use of blockchain in energy markets.
As to the second call, in 2019, 25 projects applied and five were selected, namely graphene antennas with radiation area control, deep-water robotic maintenance, market for the energy sector, tool for obtaining information from scientific communities, and neuromorphic quantum processor.
The inter-centre projects will last for two years, while the emerging talent and technology commercialisation initiatives will last for one year. As a result of the first two call, there are now three projects underway, and another in the patent registration phase.
The applications for the third call, launched in 2021 with a total of 18 submissions, are still being appraised by a committee including researchers Manuel Ricardo (Networked Intelligent Systems), João Gama (LIAAD), José Nuno Fidalgo (CPES), José Fernando Oliveira (CEGI), Francisco Moura (HASLab) and João Canas Ferreira (CTM). Six projects will be selected, two from each category.
The projects approved during the two phases reach €226K, an investment that, according to INESC TEC researcher Manuel Ricardo, “allows researchers to test high potential ideas that would hardly be accepted through traditional funding programmes, while allowing our institution to explore hypotheses that could evolve and lead to high value initiatives”.
The INESC TEC researchers mentioned in this news piece are associated with UP-FEUP, UP-FEP, UMinho and INESC TEC.