1. What are your personal perspectives as a researcher?

I´m committed to be and to do excellent research in the field of Materials Science.

I see myself, now and in the future, as contributing to the field by creating and disseminating new knowledge.

I´m committed to contribute to the transformation of some industrial areas within Materials and transfer some of the knowledge generated at the laboratory to the industry.

I would like to see myself as a contributor to break the established and seeding the transformation and inspiring some youngest to be committed to excel themselves in the field of Materials.

2. In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges in your area of research?

My research field lies within Materials Science and I´m engaged in applied research on functional materials for electronics, microelectronics and related applications (memories, sensors and actuators, thermoelectric devices, tunable dielectrics) and more recently for biomedical microelectromechanical systems BioMEMs and BioSensors for diagnosis and tissue engineering. While developing and understanding materials properties is central in many of my R&D activities, transferring knowledge to the industry is becoming increasingly important in my research activities.

In my opinion, a major challenge in this area is related with “size”, as size impacts critical mass, funding, excellence and technology transfer, but also with its “intrinsic multidisciplinarity” nature, in the sense that Materials Science though “practiced” by many is not always credit as Materials Science.

This becomes even a major one in Portugal, when “functional materials for electronics, microelectronics and related applications” do not have a significant industrial expression in Portugal.

I also feel that the absence of a long-term research funding and research policy, (that includes priorities and funding opportunities) challenges markedly research in this field and research in general. In some way excellence is attained defining strategy and guarantying continuity.

Last but not the least, being part of a system that lacks incentives and rewards for excellent performers has always been a key challenge.

3. Where are the strengths of the UA in your opinion?

Dimension or size. In this case I see dimension as a important strength. In principle, being a relative small university makes it easier to change and to adapt. Thinking about the University of the Future, in which, interdisciplinarity, adaptability, problem solving approaches, internationalization, will be the “distinctive and survival skills”, I feel that we should maximize this unique advantage of UA. Of course this requires strategic thinking, nurturing excellence and the creation of a culture of excellence.

The other strength of UA is the proximity to the industrial tissue and in particular to the one related with materials. Within some of the activities we have undergoing at the Portuguese Society of Materials (SPM) our studies on the impact of materials on the social and economic Portuguese tissue, clearly demonstrate the importance of the Central Region of Portugal in this field. To me UA is ideally positioned.

4. Could you give one idea to improve research in the UA?

One just one … selecting just one is pretty difficult because visible improvements require concerted actions.

However and somehow related to what I´ve said above, and thinking in what I feel will be the University of the Future, leveraging the internationalization of the research at UA will definitely have a strong impact on our R&D activities. I´m referring in particular to foster international partnerships.

última atualização a 25-01-2016

Born in Coimbra (Portugal), Paula Vilarinho is Associate Professor at the University of Aveiro (UA), Aveiro, (Portugal) since 2000 and member of the Associate Laboratory, CICECO – Aveiro Materials Institute.

Paula Vilarinho is currently:

-The leader of the Electroceramics Group, within CICECO

- President of the Portuguese Society of Materials (SPM)

- Coordinator (Portugal) of the Emerging Technologies Program within The University of Texas at Austin – Foundation for Science end Technology (FCT) Portugal Program (Collaboratory for Emerging Technologies, CoLab)

- Director of Undergraduate Studies of Materials Engineering, UA

- Member of the Scientific Committee of the Doctoral Program in Materials Science and Engineering, UA

She was Visiting Professor at the Department of Materials Science and Engineering of North Carolina State University, USA, in 2001, Visiting Professor at the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom in 2008 and Visiting Professor at McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas, USA, in 2015.

Her profile and scientific career were recently distinguished in the recent book “Successful Women Ceramic and Glass Scientists and Engineers: 100 Inspirational Profiles” by Lynnette Madsen, Willey, December 2015.

Prof. Paula Maria Vilarinho
Department of Materials and Ceramic Engineering
Center for Research in Ceramics and Composite Materials, CICECO
University of Aveiro
3810–193 Aveiro, Portugal
Tel: +351 234 370259 (office) | Fax: +351 234 370204
Email: paula.vilarinho@ua.pt
Electroceramics Group

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