LARSyS Strategic Program is supported on existing skills, knowledge and experience accumulated over more than two decades and is focused and driven to respond to major scientific, technological and societal challenges.

LARSyS operates through its four research centers, which provide specific areas of expertise in their main domains of knowledge. The various research centers are organized in Laboratories and/or groups, affiliating researchers in a way suitable to conduct specialized work in their main fields of expertise. Their action is complemented and extended through common “Thematic Areas of Application-driven Research” and a common “Thematic Area of Fundamentals”, in the form of networks of researchers from the various centers, which are identified and promoted in a way to foster the exchange of ideas across disciplines and the exploration of new frontiers of knowledge in emerging themes. The relations between the Thematic Areas and the groups can be described in a matrix form as follows:

A1 – Ocean Exploration and Exploitation

A2 – Urban Systems

A3 – Aeronautic and Space systems
DSORg (ISR), IRSg (ISR), VisLab (ISR), LTCES (IN+), LTPM (IN+) and MITI

A4 – Engineering for and from the Life Sciences

A5- Cognitive Robots and Systems for assisted Living and Working
LASEEBg (ISR), IRSg (ISR), VisLab (ISR), LTPM (IN+) and MITI

F1 – Distributed Information Processing and Decision Making

Common “Thematic Areas of Application-driven Research” consider formal and informal networks of researchers, from various centers, aimed to explore new frontiers of knowledge driven by societal challenges and pressing market forces as we know them today and envisage them in the future. They consider emerging themes under, on, above, in and beyond our daily human live. Each area has been defined together with a main target in a 15 years’ time horizon (2030), without prejudice of involving other projects. On the other hand, the Thematic Area F1, “Distributed Information Processing and Decision Making” consider formal and informal networks of researchers, from various centers, aimed to explore new frontiers of knowledge in themes without any specific application. They consider basic knowledge beyond our current applications.

The teams involved in each of the application driven thematic areas, will develop strong collaborative work relations with the LARSyS Research Groups insuring however that their main contributions do not emerge as a sum of the individual research groups contributions but rather extend beyond that sum of individual agendas, in such a way that the knowledge and experience resulting from the intertwining among groups, will stimulate the generation of new solutions and answers to the challenges defined.

To guarantee this desideratum, no group leader will lead a thematic area and vice versa. Each thematic area has a PI and a management committee that will be responsible for:
  • planning the activities to carry through, reporting them and promoting their strategic orientation; and guaranteeing the cooperation and integration of the activities of the different groups involved.
Thematic areas naturally accommodate Ph.D. students and PostDocs motivated by practical problems of high complexity and inter-disciplinarity, providing them and their supervisors with the appropriate environment (in certain cases providing university/companies co-supervison).

Thematic areas organize regular work seminars (at least one a month) to discuss on-going projects and discuss joint publications, as well as submissions to Conferences and Journals. At least once per year the thematic area researchers will convene in a brainstorm meeting to trigger new, possibly disruptive, research and development ideas within the area topics. IN addition, they present the progress made at the LARSyS annual meeting.

Due to the application driven nature of five of the thematic areas, the involvement of end users in planning of R&D activities is crucial, involving informal and formal regular meetings all over the year. The presence in some of those meetings of other technology companies (i.e., technology developers) is stimulated to foster their engagement in joint applications of societal and economic impact and research value. In addition, end users are invited to participate in thematic seminars. Also, regular visits are organized to end users premises.

In the case of Thematic Area F1, “Distributed Information Processing and Decision Making”, the yearly organization of a “Summer School on Network Science” is considered in a way to open the debate to new and emerging topics in this area. It will involve the participation of international reputed speakers and will be open to researchers and students worldwide across different disciplinary areas.

The overall monitoring of these activities and programs will be conducted by LARSyS Board of Directors, involving the heads of units and the leaders of thematic areas. It will meet twice a year, in addition to LARSyS Annual Meeting. In addition, LARSyS Advisory Board will visit the units every other year.

A key and very important aspect in monitoring LARSyS research agenda in about “Career Management” of young researchers. They are considered the main priority for LARSyS and consider review ('appraisal') meetings with researchers, to review and record progress and development plans. For researchers with shorter contracts/fellowships, these meetings are annual. For researchers with longer contracts/fellowships, career management meetings are hold at least every two years. In addition, detailed guidance concerning planning for and holding constructive career review meetings is subject of LARSyS´s Scientific Council decisions.

It should be noted hat the inter-disciplinarity inherent to the “Thematic Areas of Application-driven Research” enable exciting new opportunities for young researchers and the main challenge for “Career Management” is to guarantee the realization of high quality work, with sound relevance, together publication of breakthrough results in top journals and conferences. In addition, application-driven research will naturally pave the way to develop novel solutions for large-scale systems and to promote entrepreneurship.

As for the Thematic Area F1, of “Fundamental Research”, it is expected that novel results are explored, supported on sound mathematical principles and enriched by the diversity of viewpoints on affine subjects that will result of the eclectic nature of the involved researchers.

The multi-group nature of thematic areas will also be an opportunity to set up internal consortia that will apply to international funding, including the Horizon 2020 Framework Program and the European Space Agency, among others.

A large research unit such as LARSyS requires a fully operational administrative and financial structure and support staff, so as to minimize the involvement of researchers on these activities and allow them to focus on the research development and supervision. In addition, its high laboratory intensity requires the availability of a significant number of technical staff, namely research engineers, to provide support on the development, maintenance and procurement of software and hardware. Overall, these aspects of technical and administrative support are expected to be contemplated through LARsyS budget due to its fundamental relevance to ensure that LARSyS will have the means to aim at the development of top fundamental research supported by high-quality technological R&D.

LARSyS will also nurture activities regarding the dissemination of science and technology to lay citizens, particularly targeting the youngsters. Reach out activities are fundamental to foster scientific culture across population at large, as well as to attract young students to science and technology. LARSyS researchers will keep and extend past activities in collaboration with the “Cięncia Viva” national agency, including the organization of summer schools and internships for high-school students, and participating in national and international initiatives, such as robot competitions and seminars open to the public.

A particular attention for the coming decade is planned towards a “Task Force” to be devoted to Portuguese speaking countries and regions, with emphasis in Africa. It involves a new “Initiative on Knowledge for Development” oriented towards training a new generation of science and science policy leaders for Portuguese speaking countries.

In addition, two other “Task Forces” will be designed and implemented, covering emerging aspects of “Educational innovation” and “Industrial Innovation”. The first is related with the new reality associated with the use of MOOCs, which will be continuously monitored and discussed among LARSyS researchers. Two distinctive processes are envisaged, namely the modernization of curricula and pedagogy used at advanced graduation courses, as well as the delivery of specialized MOOCs for Portuguese speaking populations.

Regarding “Industrial Innovation”, specific targets will be attempted through the implementation of our Thematic Areas, regarding new opportunities for technology-based enterprises in close collaboration with medium and large multinationals. The strategy of promoting “networks” of companies and to facilitate opening new markets to LARSyS spin-offs has been an important driver in the identification and selection of our five application-driven Thematic Areas.
with the support of: