Helena Alves

Helena Alves
Universidade de Aveiro
3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal 

1.    What are your personal perspectives as a researcher?
I believe that researchers have a personal responsibility towards society, to help towards technological, societal and economical development. Our contribution cannot stop on scientific advances, solving problems or creating new knowledge and opportunities. We have to envision a closer relationship, taking the generated knowledge into industry and to general public, through actions capable of producing quality, competitive and fascinating products, and to improve education and people awareness of current challenges.

2.    In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges in your area of research?
I work on organic electronics, which promises new products through a strategy of embedded electronic devices in current objects and new application that are not possible to achieve with traditional inorganic materials. Some of the materials and devices already developed are just looking on forms of scaling up the technology, so they can be competitive and which markets they will fit better. But there are still many challenges in developing materials to fit certain properties and to develop new devices where some of the properties can be taken advantage.

3.    Where are the strengths of the UA in your opinion?
UA is very strong in material science, with many researchers working on a large variety of materials with many different properties. These can be exploited in many different applications, on energy, health, environmental or communication topics. There are also some relationships with strategic industry sectors, which can facilitate the transfer of knowledge.

4.    Could you give one idea to improve research in the UA?
A good strategy would be to use the existing knowledge on materials and develop some proof of concept applications of these materials. This would increase the potential interest both from industry and general public.

última atualização a 13-07-2015

Helena Alves joined CICECO, in Aveiro University, in July 2014. She received her PhD in Chemistry in 2004, from Instituto Superior Técnico in Lisbon. After two years as a post-doc at the same University, she moved to Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands for two years as a guest researcher. In November 2008, she joined INESC-MN in Lisbon as a principal researcher. Her’ interests lie in the area of material chemistry and solid state physics, nanotechnology and advanced applications (flexible, transparent and wearable) in particular organic semiconductors and molecular electronics. She has a background on chemistry and materials science, with a good and solid insight of correlating solid-state materials structure and design with electronic, magnetic and optical properties. This broad knowledge on material properties and potential applications, allowed her to achieve the actual position at CICECO, and as a guest scientist in one of the reference institutes in nanotechnology in Portugal. The international experience and roles in different scientific institutions has enabled her to establish a broad scientific network. She has presently 35 published papers in high quality international journals such as Nature Materials, Nature Communications, Journal of the American Chemical Society, Advanced Functional Materials, Scientific Reports, or Journal of Material Chemistry. She has participated and co-coordinated several research national and international projects. She actively promotes science within a young public, through several outreach activities such as visits to schools and a blog with science experiments for children.

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