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Cablegate: Portugal: S&T Subcommittee Meeting Highlights

VZCZCXRO8895
RR RUEHPD
DE RUEHLI #0513/01 0581707
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 271707Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY LISBON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6652
INFO RUEHPD/AMCONSUL PONTA DELGADA 0411

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 LISBON 000513

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR OES/STC, EUR/WE KEVIN OPSTRUP

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: TSPA TBIO SENV PREL PO
SUBJECT: PORTUGAL: S&T SUBCOMMITTEE MEETING HIGHLIGHTS

SUMMARY
-------
1. In preparation for the February 21 Bilateral Commission,
Embassy officials met with Portuguese counterparts on
February 14 to review and discuss bilateral science and
technology (S&T) cooperation. Discussions focused on climate
change, renewable energies, and the Embassy Science Fellows
(ESF) Program. The Portuguese delegation provided updates on
various partnerships between the Portuguese institutions and
American universities. END SUMMARY.

COMMITTEE MEMBERS
-----------------
2. On February 14, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs hosted the
S&T Subcommittee meeting in preparation for the February 21
Bilateral Commission. The Embassy delegation was led by the
Pol/Econ Counselor and included the Deputy Pol/Econ Counselor
and a Pol/Econ Officer. The Portuguese delegation was led by
Manuel Grainha do Vale, Deputy Director of the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs (MFA) Americas Office, Henrique Azevedo, Desk
Officer at the MFA's Americas Office, Ana Faisca, Director of
the Department of European, Bilateral and Multilateral
Relations at the Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher
Education's Foundation of Science and Technology (MCTES/FCT),
Sofia Seabra, Director of International Cooperation at
MCTES/FCT, and Rui Manuel Pinheiro de Oliveira Gomes Vallera,
Advisor at the Luso-American Development Foundation (FLAD).

CLIMATE CHANGE & WIREC 2008
---------------------------
3. The Pol/Econ Counselor discussed the important role that
climate change has played since the May 2007 S&T Subcommittee
meeting. He highlighted the September visits of White House
Council on Environmental Quality James Connaughton and EU
Special Envoy Boyden Gray to Lisbon to discuss the Major
Economies Meeting on Energy Security and Climate Change, and
the visits of Governors Jonathan Corzine (D-NJ) and Eliot
Spitzer (D-NY) who attended the signing ceremony of the
International Carbon Action Partnership (ICAP) in October.
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger also participated
via digital video conference.

4. Pol/Econ Counselor also highlighted the Washington
International Renewable Energies Conference (WIREC) 2008,
which will be the third global ministerial-level conference
on renewable energies. Economy Minister Manuel Pinho will
lead the Portuguese WIREC delegation.

THE EMBASSY SCIENCE FELLOWS (ESF) PROGRAM
-----------------------------------------
5. Pol/Econ Officer announced that the Embassy Science
Fellows (ESFs) Program, which was placed on hold during
Portugal's EU Presidency, will recommence with two ESFs from
the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a specialist
on climate change and a marine ecologist. The Pol/Econ
Officer also briefed on the recent activities of previous
ESFs. Elizabeth Williams from NASA arranged for a Portuguese
flag to be flown onboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis during
its June 2007 mission to the International Space Station.
This flag was presented to the University of Coimbra's Museum
of Science during its first anniversary celebration in
December. Kathleen Collins from the National Institutes of
Health joined with FLAD to create a three-year conference
series on tropical diseases. The first conference, which
focused on tuberculosis, took place in October 2007 and the
next two conferences on malaria and HIV/AIDS will take place
in 2008 and 2009, respectively. Larry Suter from the National
Science Foundation participated in a lecture on student
achievement in mathematics at the Gulbenkian, while Ann Marie
Thro from the U.S. Department of Agriculture is working with
the University of Coimbra to arrange for an American
professor to teach statistics there.

NASA COOPERATION
----------------
6. In November 2007, NASA hosted its fifth annual technical
workshop in cooperation with the Portuguese Center for
Pollution Prevention (Centro para Prevencao da Poluicao aka
C3P). The workshop focused on environmental and energy issues
that are common to Portuguese and American industries, and on
current and future projects between the two organizations. Of
particular emphasis, several technical sessions were devoted
to the pollution cleanup and renewable energy initiatives
planned for the Berlenga Grand Island.

NUCLEAR REACTOR FUEL CONVERSION
-------------------------------
7. In summer 2007, the Portuguese Technological and Nuclear
Institute (ITN) successfully converted highly enriched
uranium in Portugal's only nuclear research reactor to low
enriched uranium. Officials from both the U.S. Department of

LISBON 00000513 002 OF 002


Energy and its Argonne National Laboratory visited Lisbon in
November to discuss the results of the project and while an
exact date has not been set, the uranium will be returned to
the U.S. in 2008.

INTERNATIONAL PARTNERSHIPS WITH AMERICAN INSTITUTIONS
--------------------------------------------- --------
8. The MCTES/FCT representatives updated the S&T Subcommittee
on the status of international partnerships between several
Portuguese universities and the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology (MIT), Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and the
University of Texas-Ausin (UTAustin), and pending agreements
with Harvard University's School of Medicine, Thomas
Jefferson University and Columbia University. In 2007, seven
new PhD and advanced studies programs were created under the
MIT-Portugal initiative in energy systems, leadership,
technology management, bioengineering, and transportation
systems; four master degree and five PhD programs under the
CMU-Portugal initiative in software engineering and
information and communications technologies; and a new
technology transfer program in digital/multimedia, advanced
computing and S&T commercialization under the UTAustin
initiative. MCTES/FCT also funded 124 international
fellowships, two of which were awarded to American students,
to study in Portugal. Twelve Portuguese students were
selected to participate in the Fulbright Program.

9. The MFA delegation members discussed current and future
research cooperation agreements on topics ranging from marine
ecology to computer science between the Portuguese National
Civil Engineering Laboratory (LNEC) and the University of
Oregon, Old Dominion University, the University of Delaware,
the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), and the
National Science Foundation (NSF).

10. The FLAD representative spoke about an educational
program at Coimbra University's hospital where life-like and
human-scale medical models from Harvard's Medical Center are
being used to train doctors in simulated emergency rooms.

Stephenson

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