CEMMPRE - Centre for Mechanical Engineering, Materials and Processes

General Objectives and Strategy

The top 10 General Objectives  and Implementation Strategy  of CEMMPRE are based on two main pillars: consolidation of the new structure/organization and reinforcement of the scientific guidelines defined in 2017 in the restructuring plan, that took into account the main criticisms of the evaluation panel of the last FCT centres’ evaluation. They can be summarized as follows:

Pursue Research with Regional, National and International Significance

The new scientific policy of CEMMPRE is based on RIS3 and the European Commission's research and innovation framework programme. The Direction Board in collaboration with the Advisory Board will identify and develop strategies to pursue specific regional opportunities for building distinction in research. The main research topics of CEMMPRE for the next 5 years are in line with the linked areas of RIS3-Centro de Portugal - Sustainable Industrial Solutions and Technologies for improving quality of life – and the following differentiating domains:  Sustainable Industrial Productivity, Materials, Biotechnology, Health and wellness, and Energy Efficiency. The research topics will be mainly focused on the 6 keywords of CEMMPRE, i.e. Intelligent Manufacturing, Design & Testing, Surface and Interface Engineering, Bioengineering, Nanomaterials and Nanotechnology, and Advanced Sensor Systems.

To provide an umbrella for seeking research funding from national and international funding institutions and companies where the interdisciplinary approach in joint projects is more likely to be successful.

Leverage of resources from the different departments of the Faculty of Sciences and Technology of UC, the Institute for Interdisciplinary Research of UC, collaborators of CEMMPRE from other universities/institutes, as well as external partners, to define strategies that will achieve critical mass in targeted areas related to mechanical and materials engineering. Part of the pluriannual FCT funding will be allocated to the development of new proposals for joint projects between the two scientific groups of CEMMPRE. One technician and two collaborators from Instituto Pedro Nunes will form a team with very good expertise in writing Project proposals, who will be assisted by the staff of the Innovation and Knowledge Transfer Division of the Institute for Interdisciplinary Research of UC.

To increase the participation of CEMMPRE members in international infrastructures and networks.

Recently, the Faculty of Sciences and Technology of UC has allocated an annual budget for missions involving participation of its members in international meetings for the establishing of international networks. In addition to this, part of the mission budget of CEMMPRE coming from FCT will be made available for this purpose.

To increase the number of undergraduate and graduate research opportunities.

New PhD programs linked with the main scientific keywords of CEMMPRE were submitted to national and international (EC) funding agencies. A MSCA-ITN-EJD application on Green Tribology (Surfaces and Interfaces), in collaboration with the Universities of Leeds, Lulea and Ljubljana, was submitted in January 2018 to EC and a new national PhD (Engineering and Design for Intelligent Manufacturing – I-manufacturing) will be submitted in 2018 for A3ES accreditation (Portuguese National Accreditation Agency). Together with the two new PhD programs, there are five others running and already accredited: Mechanical Engineering, Advanced Materials and Technologies, Chemical Engineering, Biomedical Engineering and Biosciences. In this proposal, funding from FCT is requested for one PhD grant / year for each program, except Biosciences. MSc students from University of Coimbra will also be encouraged to apply for individual PhD grants from FCT and other national and international financing institutions.

To contribute to scientific employment in Portugal.

The plan for employment of PhD researchers foresees the contracting of two post-doctoral researchers in 2019 and 2020, one for each of the two CEMMPRE research groups. Moreover, there are more than 15 postdocs working in CEMMPRE, currently with grants, that will be hired in 2018.

Gradual increase of the scientific indicators of CEMMPRE up to 2022.

By the end of this project, 2022, we intend to increase the global scientific indicators of CEMMPRE by 50% (number of publications, including open access, patents and industrial prototypes). 10% of the total FCT funding will be allocated to dissemination costs. In 2017, a significant number of big projects was approved in which CEMMPRE participates (e.g. three Portugal 2020 Mobilizing Programs, in the framework of Incentives for Research and Technological Development (SI I&DT), and one PT2020-CENTRO-45-2015-01-Integrated Project).  The budget of CEMMPRE of approved projects for the next 5 years is 6.4 M€. Some of these projects involve industrial companies. The recent funding of the research activity in the main scientific areas of CEMMPRE leads us to believe that this objective will be achieved. 

Build and Maintain Shared Research Facilities and Equipment.

Availability of large analysis equipment to the scientific and public community and employing qualified technical staff for their operation are envisaged in the near future. The policy of CEMMPRE for the next 5 years is to hire three post-docs exclusively to operate the existing scientific equipment in CEMMPRE, such as Mechanical testing, Transmission Electron Microscope, Scanning Electron Microscope and X-ray diffractometer. One of these post-docs was hired in December 2017 in the framework of the PT2020-CENTRO-45-2015-01 project. We ask for 80% of the salary costs of two post-doctoral researchers for this purpose.

Notification in public and private sectors about the available expertise and facilities.

Promotion of the research centre with information on the activities of CEMMPRE (Research and technological development, consultancy and specialized services) through the CEMMPRE website and Institute Pedro Nunes Institute, which has a privileged position for jointly conducting R&D activities with enterprises.

Engage partners outside the university and outside academia

Facilitate collaborations with outside groups, particularly non-academic partners, both to leverage additional expertise and resources for projects and initiatives and to make CEMMPRE’s capacity for innovation available to stakeholders outside traditional academic venues.

Improvement of the dissemination of results based on the concepts of Open Science, Open Innovation, e Openness to the World.

Besides the usual channels of dissemination of results, such as conferences, seminars, workshops and industrial fairs, all the scientific outputs of the research activity of CEMMPRE will be available in the open repository of the University of Coimbra. The presence in exhibitions of innovation and technology is also envisaged. The long-standing practice of dissemination of the science and technology conducted by CEMMPRE has contributed to a close relationship with Exploratorio Infante D. Henrique – Coimbra, participating in the exhibitions/conferences/lectures related to materials. This centre is a space for informal learning, supplementary schooling, which - in the same way as other media - seeks to illustrate how science and culture are an inseparable component of the inalienable condition of citizenship.