Jorge Saraiva

1.What are your personal perspectives as a researcher?
As a researcher I always have a mixed portfolio of short to long time perspectives, attempting to make the better balance of them according to the real conditions of the present, but also based on the experience and knowledge learned in the past and weighted with some trial perception of what can be the future.  This way, I seek to carry out research directed to more immediate results (industrial applications, publications, and theses), but I also try to pave the way for more fundamental and innovative research, that can become important in the future.
One of the important variables of the equation to carry out international top level research is the human resources. Without good and motivated people it is impossible to perform well in research and so students are a main concern of my day-to-day work.
At the moment, my main efforts are devoted to develop high pressure applications for cold pasteurization of foods and other non-thermal food preservation methodologies using this emergent technology. UA, with its High Pressure Based Multidisciplinary Technological Platform for Research and Industrial Development, has undertaken a strategic relevant approach in the area of High Pressure Processing of Foods, and is trying to be a key international player (my main challenge for the next years), in this fast evolving food technology. 

2.In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges in your area of research?
One of the biggest challenges is to keep the pace with the increasingly number of innovations and new commercial applications of high pressure of foods. Another is related to a new fundamental approach of food technologists to this new technology, since high pressure is a technology that can pasteurize foods with no heat input to the foods (thermal processing), which is still the most used commercially. Since improvement of heat transfer has been a key issue for foods technologists and engineers, to improve the quality of thermally processed foods, high pressure being non-thermal, is now a new paradigm in food processing and preservation, and a whole new set and type of mathematical modeling procedures and experimental data are needed to validate and design further new cold processed foods. I expect also that new high pressure food processing applications will become a reality in the next years. UA wants to be a player in some of them.

3.Where are the strengths of the UA in your opinion?
A young staff based university; a innovative and research promoting atmosphere; a general strategic approach in key areas; constant trial of anticipating future scenarios and main research opportunities; strong interdepartmental collaboration; all this in a wonderful campus and a very nice city (the Portuguese Venice) with a very pleasant weather.
The Creative Science Park to be built will also be a key factor for UA development, particularly for interaction with industries, both national and international.
UA is also situated in a very strategic geographical position, in the center of Portugal, and with good communication ways to the north and south, but also to Europe. With its geographical position, in my opinion, UA can become a main host of national and international congress in the future.

4.Could you give one idea to improve research in the UA?
Space, space, and space … we need more space for research. At least for me this is my main problem at the moment, limiting the amount and quality of research I think I can do. Another idea is to strengthen the UA strategic approach on research: search for the main key research areas in the future, see the ones UA should go for and bet on them to be a key international player. Promote an even more strong interaction with industries. Out forward a vast program to get students, researchers, and collaborations from world areas becoming centers of increasingly global importance for research and economic development (China, India, Brazil, etc.) and be the leader in Portugal in collaboration with Portuguese speaking countries (Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, East Timor, etc.) and their neighbors/main economic partners. Another hint: become the first full digital Portuguese university, with a strong development of e-teaching and distance teaching and strongly reduce paper use. Still another suggestion: every time UA has a good grade on research by international based evaluating institutions, suggest to have a mention on this on everyone’s email signature (in my opinion we need to become more known at international level, since we are a young university and many people still ask us in congresses “Aveiro university? Where is it? I only know Coimbra, Porto and Lisbon Universities.”).

última atualização a 01-02-2013
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