LARSyS's ultimate goal is to be actively involved in a new generation of research questions and advanced training in Robotics and Engineering Systems, leading to new frontiers of knowledge and the training of skilled human resources at the best international level. Our researchers aim to create and develop new knowledge bases with impact in ocean, urban, aeronautic and space, biomedical, and future working environments, as well as to stimulate new industry-science relations and deepen our understanding of network science.

To achieve this strategy and vision, LARSyS supports its activities in the competences available in its four research centers (i.e., ISR@IST, IN+@IST, MARETEC@IST, and M-ITI@UMadeira). These centers provide specific areas of expertise in their main domains of knowledge through ten Laboratories and/or Groups, affiliating researchers that conduct specialized work in their main fields of expertise at an international level of excellence. Overall, they provide the necessary knowledge and experience to foster LARSyS´s scientific program.

On the top of that structure, the strategy of LARSyS is promoted and implemented through six Thematic Areas. They aim to explore new frontiers of knowledge driven by needs and markets as we envisage them today, making use of target objectives and linkages with end-users. They consider emerging themes under, on, above, in and beyond our daily human live.

Each Thematic Area has been defined together with a main target in a time horizon of 15 years (2030), without prejudice of involving other projects. They include five “Areas of Application-driven Research” and one area of “Fundamentals”. They provide a matrix-based form for the organization of LARSyS, facilitating networks of researchers from the various centers and groups to foster the exchange of ideas across disciplines and the exploration of new frontiers of knowledge in emerging themes.

The five Thematic Areas of “Application-driven Research” are as follows:
  1. OCEAN EXPLORATION and EXPLOITATION, relying on competences and human resources of DSORg (ISR/IST), MARETEC, LTPM (IN+/IST) and MITI.
  2. URBAN SYSTEMS, relying on competences and human resources of SIPg (ISR/IST), MARETEC, LIES (IN+/IST) and MITI.
  3. AERONAUTIC and SPACE SYSTEMS, relying on competences and human resources of IRSg and DSORg (ISR/IST), MARETEC, LTCES and LTPM (IN+/IST) and MITI.
  4. ENGINEERING FOR AND FROM THE LIFE SCIENCES, relying on competences and human resources of SIPg, IRSg, LASEEBg and VISLAB (ISR/IST), LTCES and LTPM (IN+/IST) and MITI.
  5. COGNITIVE ROBOTS AND SYSTEMS FOR ASSISTED LIVING AND WORKING, relying on competences and human resources of VISLAB and IRSg (ISR/IST), LTPM (IN+/IST) and MITI.
The Thematic Area of “Fundamentals” consider formal and informal networks of researchers, from various centers, aimed to explore new frontiers of knowledge in themes without any specific known application. They consider basic knowledge beyond our current applications. It is named as follows:


The key thrust of LARSyS activity will be threefold: research, advanced training, and outreach activities, including public service. For research and advanced training, LARSyS complements its internal multidisciplinary with external cooperation by networking with highly reputed research and academic institutions and industrial partners worldwide. To this effect, impetus will be given to the exchange of scientific personnel, participation in international projects, and hiring of exceptional PhD students and senior researchers. Special attention is given to the organization of summer schools and research internships.

Advanced training initiatives are at the center of LARSyS at the best international level and involve several international partnerships, as follows:
  • MIT-Portugal Program, through its overall coordination and an active involvement of researchers in the areas of Sustainable Energy Systems (SES) and Engineering Design and Advanced Manufacturing (EDAM);
  • Carnegie Mellon Portugal Program, through an active involvement of researchers in the areas of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), Computer Science (CS), Human Computer Interaction (HCI) and Engineering and Public Policy (EPP);
  • IST – EPFL Program, Joint Doctoral Initiative in the area of Distributed and Cognitive Robotics involving Instituto Superior Técnico and École Politechnique Federal de Lausanne (EFPL).
  • IRGC, International Risk Governance Council, through the coordination of IRGC-Portugal, which involves five Associate Laboratories in Portugal
Outreach activities, including public service, is foreseen as one of the missions of LARSyS. This takes the form of collaboration with public administration bodies, including governmental departments and local administrations, as well as with ONGs and, above all, basic and secondary schools and science centers. Our target is to enhancing collaboration with a diversified range of stakeholders to foster the dissemination of scientific knowledge and culture to the public at large. This has been particularly achieved by a strong involvement of LARSyS over the years in the Portuguese “Ciência Viva” program.

To achieve all these goals, the managing structure of LARSyS considers three complementing approaches: i) bottom-up; ii) middle-out; and iii) top-down.

The bottom-up nature of LARSyS is promoted through its Scientific Council, which includes all doctorate researchers. It is aimed to examine and approve the annual plans and reports, and to define the Governance structure of LARSyS. It meets twice a year.

The middle-out managing structure of LARSyS is promoted through each of the ten Research Groups/Laboratories and the six Thematic Areas. Each of the ten groups has a Principal Investigator (PI), and each of the six Thematic Areas has a PI and a Management Committee.

In addition, the necessary top-down management of LARSyS is used for overall coordination. It lies on a coordinating Board of Directors with the responsibility of supervising and guiding the activities of the four participating R&D units. This Board is composed by the directors of the four R&D units involved and by the PIs of the ten Thematic Areas. The President of the Board of LARSyS coordinates the Board of Directors and is elected among its members. A small Executive Board, including the directors of the four R&D units involved, supports the President for the daily management of the activities resulting from the collaboration among the participant units and to guarantee its accurate fulfillment.

The activities of the LARSyS are followed yearly by an External Advisory and Review Board, consisting of national and international experts, as established by decision of the Scientific Council.
with the support of: