Publication date: 14-04-2014 17:23
Luis Adriano Oliveira, Professor, Faculty of Science and Technology, University of Coimbra (retired since February 2014)
Presently, I see November 21st, 2007 as having been a lucky day for me. That day, my dear colleague Manuel Carlos Gameiro da Silva knocked at my office door: he was kindly inviting me to be in charge of the course “Research Design & Methods” that would be included in the educational frame of the EfS Initiative (MIT-Portugal Program). The Initiative was due to be launched on the next scholar year, 2008/2009, addressing three alternative formation scenarios: PhD degree in Sustainable Energy Systems (3rd cycle); Master’s degree in Energy for Sustainability (2nd cycle); and Advanced Studies in Energy for Sustainability (one year). I was supposed to start from scratch, course program comprised.
My first reaction was somewhat skeptical: during my own Master and PhD experiences, three decades ago, I hadn’t been given that kind of support or advice on how to succeed in research, and I still managed to survive! However, having in mind the fact that nowadays students are confronted with serious restrictions in terms of time schedule and financial support to accomplish their research tasks, I decided to accept the challenge. Four scholar years later, I feel happy for having taken that option. EfS Initiative is a multidisciplinary environment. Moreover, high quality students are attracted from all corners of the Globe, eager to share diversified educational backgrounds, geographical origins and cultures. Dialogs in class are thus open minded and rather enriching, both for students and for myself. The testimonies coming from their own experience in attending the course are particularly rewarding and encouraging. I am now fully convinced that the course unit, although it may still be improved, is presently an invaluable contribution for students’ formation as present and future, worldwide researchers.
As a teacher of the EfS Initiative, I’ve been also given the opportunity to participate in the Initiative’s committee in charge of communication. Again, this was another occasion to work together with brilliant colleagues from different scientific backgrounds, a great source of human and professional income for me.
By my own recent choice, I am presently retired from my previous functions as university professor. Still, I was invited and gladly accepted to keep staying in charge of the course unit “Research Design & Methods”. I thus hope my personal and professional relationship with the EfS Initiative will continue and be fruitful for a long time to come.
Definitely, November 21st, 2007 was a lucky day for me!