João Veloso


João Veloso
Auxiliar Professor
Department of Physics
University of Aveiro
Campus Universitário de Santiago
3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal
Tel.+ 351 234247038

1.What are your personal perspectives as a researcher?

The growth and increase of the international visibility of the DRIM research group, that I lead, is my main personal goal.  The next years will be very demanding, several projects will reach a mature level and new projects are starting. The contribution for High Energy Physics experiments by proposing and developing new detector concepts for particles and electromagnetic radiation is one of the research goals. The research efforts planned for the next years will strengthen the position of the Group in the field of the micropatterned gaseous detectors, in which it is already an international reference in the field. Also, the efforts to be put in the new projects in the medical imaging field, are expected to produce innovative solutions. This will be possible not only with my personal effort, but with the high quality contributions from all the members that make up the DRIM Group. The Group will also gain more space and better infrastructures, after moving to the new Lab that should be finished in the next months. Although the granted research projects will provide part of the needed financial support to accomplish the goals, a strong effort will be put into searching for other financial support that can allow for more ambitious achievements.
Besides the application of the detectors developed for Particle and Nuclear Physics and Medical Imaging fields, other applications are envisaged, such as: Energy Dispersive X-ray Fluorescence Imaging systems; UV photomultipliers with imaging capability; radiation dosimeters and didactic systems, which are under research and development. Some of these developments will be pushed in order to reach a mature level that can be considered for prototyping, envisaging a possible commercial production.
Research activities are not limited to the production of scientific results (which are very important), but also to a responsibility in the supervision of students and Post Doc researchers. This will provide them the needed skills and know-how to accomplish the proposed goals and also to prepare them for their future activities, in research or in the industry. This new generation, a highly educated scientific community, certainly has conditions to contribute more efficiently to the development of Portugal. I feel very strongly this responsibility and its importance for the growth of the students.
2.In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges in your area of research?
Large area radiation detectors with high rate capability and high granularity are requirements needed for the new coming high luminosity experiments in high energy physics, such as the ones taking place at the Large Hadron Collider, the LHC, at CERN, as well as for the future International Linear Collider. This role will be performed by MicroPatterned Gaseous Detectors, the only type of detector that can meet these requirements for the mandatory large area needed to cover several tens or even hundreds of square meters. This challenge requires intense research in the physical issues of the detector operation and characteristics. Small prototypes for the proposed solutions are not difficult to attain. However, for large scale (areas of square meters), other issues and different physical behaviors need to be taken into account.  The DRIM Group at UA will be part of this effort to understand these new behaviors and to contribute for the solutions.
Concerning the research for medical imaging, one of the important challenges for researchers will be to focus in solutions capable of reducing the current costs of the scanners, namely for nuclear imaging where SPECT and PET systems, operating in our Hospitals, can cost several million of euros. Also, for the energy resolved X-ray scanners, for radiography and computed tomography, an important effort needs to be made in order to overcome the limited count rate capability and be able to compete with the standard systems.
3.Where are the strengths of the UA in your opinion?
UA still provides a fresh environment which facilitates the interaction between research actors - researchers with researchers and researchers with the leadership. There is an ambitious conscience to do more and better (not always proportional to the given support!) and to promote independent work. It is also interesting to see that UA promotes and supports the participation in ambitious projects for infrastructures, equipment and new research fields, using its research strengths and a good capability for a multidisciplinary research.

4.Could you give one idea to improve research in the UA?
There are different factors that can contribute to an improvement of the research and research quality. First, I think that it will be important to continue to support and promote research of excellence. Nowadays, almost all the research of excellence is done in collaboration. So, a strong interaction between researchers from Aveiro and researchers from International Institutions of excellence is mandatory to achieve this goal. A support from UA to launch this internationalization is always welcome.
Another issue that would have a positive contribution would be the possibility to have available a database of all the existing facilities, equipment and research strengths of the UA in order to increase efficiency and facilitate the interaction between the different research groups in Aveiro, promoting and facilitating in this way, interdisciplinary research activities.
Nowadays, there is a visible lack of students to conduct postgraduate studies, such as MSc or PhD. It would be important to establish new effective covenants with other institutions in order to attract new grad students that could contribute for the growth of the research at UA.   
The main actors in the research at UA are Professors, full time Researchers, Post Docs and PhD students. Concerning the Professors, there are many that perform research of excellence at UA. Nevertheless, the time consumption due to the increasing number of classes and bureaucratic work, starts to compromise their research activity. In this way, it would be important to establish a global UA strategy in order to minimize this handicap.

última atualização a 11-07-2014
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