Professor on the Civil Engineering Department of the University of Minho and Member of the BIM A+ team, Paulo Lourenço has just been awarded a three million euro grant from the European Research Council to create until 2024 a new approach to assess the safety of cultural heritage buildings, when subjected to earthquakes.
Excerpt from an interview with Paulo Lourenço (translated)
Do you consider that the University of Minho is a world reference in this area?
Otherwise it would have been impossible to receive an advanced ERC grant. The group that I coordinate in the area of ancient monuments and buildings is the largest in this area of knowledge, with continued attraction of foreign students and a broad international network. Google Scholar indicates 16,000 citations for our publications and the ResearchGate portal presents more than 220,000 readings of these publications, which evidences the recognition and interest of the scientific community for our work. It is also worth noting the repeated calls for participation as a plenary speaker at the major conferences in the area. But perhaps what we are most proud of is the quantity and quality of our alumni, present in reference educational institutions such as MIT (USA), Delft Technical University (Netherlands) or the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (Switzerland) and in large companies such as Arup or Cowi.
In what other major projects are you involved at this time?
ISISE is involved in an impressive set of projects of excellence. Perhaps I’d select three very different ones. The European Master Degrees SAHC, which was supported by the European Commission for a decade with around four million euros and is currently supported by the Millennium bcp Foundation. The ability we have to attract students from the best universities in the country and the world (like Princeton, Columbia, Berkeley, California in Los Angeles or Texas in Austin, USA) to this corner of Europe is extraordinary. This success has also led to the creation of an international master’s degree (on the currently most important topic in construction, digital transformation and Building Information Modeling), which will certainly be another great success. The second project is the ETN ATHOR, about refractory coatings, which includes leading international companies such as RHI-Magnesita, Saint Gobain or Tata Steel and provides a financing of almost one million euros for UMinho, which brings us out of our area of comfort and forces us to rethink the tools we have in a new and exciting area of knowledge. The third project is the technical consultancy to the Presidency of the Republic on the Palace of Belém, in the final phase, in which we make the connection between research and applied engineering. Our activity of knowledge transfer and the provision of specialized services allows us to feed our dream of bringing top research with engineering to the highest level, strongly mobilizing the group and attracting excellent students.