For the second consecutive year, IT researchers won all the awards in dispute at the “XI Congresso do Comité Português da URSI”, held last November 24 at the Fundação Portuguesa das Comunicações, in Lisbon.
João Felício, from the Antennas and Propagation group of IT in Lisbon (AP-Lx), won the ANACOM-URSI Portugal Award with his work “Microwave Imaging for Breast Cancer Screening: Experimental Validation”. Currently, the primary imaging technique to detect breast cancer, the second most common cancer in the world, is mammography, which uses ionizing radiation and requires the compression of the breast. On his research João Felício, under the supervision of Carlos Fernandes and Jorge Costa (both also from the AP-Lx group), developed methods and technology that are intended to help detecting breast cancer at an early stage, without any contact with the breast, using Microwaves. “Microwaves are showing great potential as an alternative pre-screening method. Contrarily to X-rays, Microwaves are non-ionizing and, therefore, do not have any long term consequences to health”, said João Felício.
Over the years, the ANACOM-URSI award has distinguished researchers for their impactful, complete and creative scientific work. Knowing this, João Felício said he was “very honored to be part of this restrictive group”. Sharing the merit with everyone involved in the research, João Felício finished saying that “Getting the notion that the work is actually appreciated and that it could have a real impact on society is extremely gratifying. It gives me even more motivation to develop something meaningful”.
As for the Best Student Paper Award, the winner was Carolina Gouveia, (IT in Aveiro/UA), supervised Pedro Pinho and José Vieira (both also from IT in Aveiro), with her work “Bio-radar performance evaluation for different antenna design”. The second place went to Hafssaa Latioui (IT in Lisbon), supervised by Mário Silveirinha (IT in Lisbon), for the work “Electromagnetic “transparency in a material with two distinct topological phases”. And finally, the third place was attributed to Vera Pedras (IT in Lisbon/IST), supervised by António Rodrigues (also from IT in Lisbon), for her work “Desenvolpment of QoE models (No Reference) for voice and Web Browsing based in 3G/4G radio measures”.
On the photo, from left to right: Hafssaa Latioui, Vera Pedras, Carolina Gouveia and João Felício
BITalino, the spin-off technology developed in IT and licensed to PLUX, won the 1st place at the European Commission Innovation Radar Prize 2017 in the “Industrial & Enabling Tech”. As described in the Innovation Radar Prize webpage “BITalino is a low-cost hardware and open-source software toolkit to learn and prototype biomedical applications”.
Hugo Silva, IT researcher and Chief Innovation Officer at Plux, received the award during the European Commission's ICT Proposers Day in Budapest, Hungary on the last November 9. “Considering the quality of the other candidates competing in the final, I am still in a loss for words to describe the full meaning of this award. It is such a great achievement, very prestigious for all of the people and institutions involved in the project, and, above all, it validates and gives a special meaning to all our commitment, energy and dedication”, said Hugo.
And what might this distinction represent for the future of Plux and BITalino? “There is always a great gap between our vision and its materialization. The path is not always linear and is rarely easy. With the additional projection they bring, these distinctions are particularly invigorating and very important to confirm we are moving in the right direction”, replied Hugo.
For Hugo Silva, the work and results achieved so far were clearly the differentiating factor. However, and given the character of BITalino, the recent turning point on the part of the European Commission, wanting to define new policies and actions aligned with Open Innovation, Open Science and Open to the World, it also might have helped.
The Innovation Radar is an EC initiative to identify high-potential innovations and innovators in EU-funded research and innovation ICT projects. With BITalino as the only Portuguese entity chosen for the five categories of the Radar Prize, the first stage of the competition took place over 4 weeks, when the public could vote online for their favorite innovators and innovations among the 48 nominees. Over 62.500 votes were cast by the public and 20 finalists selected. On the final, a panel of 4 judges decided the winners on the basis of a 3 minute pitch delivered during a special pitching session at the ICT Proposers Day.