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Paulo J. Ferreira

FLAD and the Portuguese Scientists in America

2006-07-12
Paulo Jorge Ferreira was born in Porto, on the 26th July 1964. His principal research area is Materials Science and Engineering, more specifically nanomaterials, nanotechnology and Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM). Currently he is an Assistant Professor at the University of Texas at Austin.

In the private sector, he has worked as a consultant in several companies in the USA and in Portugal and in the last semester of 2005, he was the Special Advisor to the Minister of Economia e Inovação of the Portuguese Government, on Government Strategy for Innovation, Science, Technology and Growth in Portugal.

He has also been a reviewer of the National Science Foundation (USA), between 2002 and 2005, and has made part of the Review Panel in Electron Microscopy (Spring 2002). Since 2001 he is, as well, a member of the Advisory Board of Electron Microscopy Facility in Texas Materials Institute.

He completed his Licenciatura in Metallurgical Engineering in 1988 at the Universidade of Porto, Portugal. He took his PhD in Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Illinois-Urbana in 1996 and between 1996 and 2000 he did a Postdoc at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Materials Science and Engineering.

Paulo J. Ferreira says that when he lived in Portugal he “felt an enormous need to learn more and extend the knowledge”. Being the USA, in the last decades, the most strong research centre in the world in the areas of science and technology, he decided to do his PhD there. He went as a PhD student without any contacts, and was first supported by the University of Illinois and then by FLAD and FCT. The first research team in USA, he made part of was Prof. Howard Birnbaum team.

He has changed research institution four times, from the Development Department of Ferespe in Trofa (Portugal) to the Swedish Institute for Metals Research and Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm in 1989; in 1991 he went to the University of Illinois-Urbana to do his PhD and after that, in 1996, he moved to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has also visited other research institutions for brief periods of time: between 06/99 and 09/99 he was a Visiting Assistant Professor of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering in Lisbon Institute of Technology (Portugal) and between 6/87 and10/87 he did an Internship at Outokumpu Oy Research Laboratories, in Tornio (Finland).

At the moment he has written 26 articles in international journals, with referee, 16 articles in conferences, 2 edited books and several chapters in other books. He is also writing a book about nanotechnology.

He is an independent investigator and at the moment is involved in four projects supported by National Science Foundation, USA, TEKES, Finland, CAPES, Brazil, and Freescale Semiconductors. His team has a total of eight members, of whom one is Postdoc and four are PhD students. Till the moment he has been, and in some cases still is, the supervisor of a total of eighteen students (Undergraduate, Masters, and PhD).

His long-term goal is to develop a new research area that lies in the interface of neuron study and nanotechnology. His ultimate scientific dream is to be able to open new horizons, new research areas and to contribute to the development of society.  

He is mostly known because of his work done in nanomaterials using electron microscopy technique in-situ.

He was already invited to return to Portugal. He had one invitation to a position of Professor and two other to be a research director in Industry. In the first case he did not accept because the conditions proposed by the University were not suitable to establish a strong investigation team; the problem with the positions in industry was that it would be a less wide work, which was not appealing to him.

AWARDS

Research Grant Award (2005)

Summer Research Assignment Award (2001)

Award from the Portuguese Science and Technology Agency (1995,1996)

Award from the Microscopy and Microbeam Analysis Society (1994)

Award from the American-Portuguese Foundation for the Development (1993)

ferreira at mit.edu

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