FCT

R&D Institutions

Resultado da avaliação 2007 na área de Engenharia Mecânica

Unidade de I&D

Centro de Engenharia Mecânica [MECH-Centro-Coimbra-285] visitada em 04/03/2008

Classificação: Excellent

Comentários do painel de avaliação
Sobre a unidade
The Unit is the result of merging 3 existing Units.
The 6 research groups composing this unit cover a wide spectrum of topics. All groups had very good preliminary ratings: Structural Integrity, Smart Industrial Robotics and Management, Experimental and Computer Aided Technology, Surface Engineering, Sensors and Nano-Electrochemistry and Nanomaterials and Micro-Manufacturing.
The overall productivity of the unit is very good, with some variations among the groups. The number of citations in some groups is very high by engineering standards. Several papers are the results of international collaborations.
The work plan is highly viable for all the groups. The international cooperation is worldwide. Some groups should try to more actively participate in the European Commission R&D Programmes. The management and coordination of the unit is quite effective. Plans to further internationalise activities are solid.
The number and quality of PhD and MSc students is high and they are an essential part of the unit operation.
The unit is the result of merging 3 existing units (CEMUC, ICEMS and IMAT) from different locations in Portugal. At present, the unit is comprised of 6 research groups, which cover a wide spectrum of research activities. The unit employs 74 researchers having a PhD and 77 PhD and MS students (in progress).
The mission of this unit is to improve human mobility and quality of life. The unit has a significant number on national and European awards. 30 % of the total funds come from industry.
The overall productivity of the unit is very good, with small variations among the groups. The number of citations of some groups is very high by engineering standards. Several papers are the results of international collaborations.
The applied research is very relevant, and has a high potential for technology transfer to Portuguese industry. The groups have been involved in the organization of international and national conferences. The objectives are well defined and the unit is generating internationally recognised research. The relevance of the unit could also be judged from the funding level, which is very impressive. Some groups should try to more actively participate in the R&D Programmes of the European Commission. The work is a well balanced combination of technological development for local companies and high quality research of international visibility.
The work plan and strategy of all groups is highly viable. The international cooperation is worldwide. The management and coordination of the unit is quite effective. Plans to further internationalise the activities are solid.
Sobre os grupos de investigação
Experimental and Computer Aided Tecnology [RG-MECH-Centro-Coimbra-285-1591]
This group’s present and projected research is highly visible and their objectives are well defined. It is clear that the group has produced and will be producing internationally recognized research. The group has numerous international connections, including NIST.
The group is productive and has excellent funding. 35 % of research funds are coming from industry. The relevance is excellent. Several papers have a high number of citations, e.g., one paper has 49 citations. Furthermore, the group has two patents; intermetallic Ti/Al for obtaining gamma-Ti/Al and Cu/Mg/Li alloy for hydrogen storage. The group has organized several international and national conferences. Several papers are listed as results of international collaboration.
The group has developed software for sheet metal forming, and has obtained impressive results on friction stir welding of thin (1 mm thick) plates.
Nanomaterials and Micro Manufactoring [RG-MECH-Centro-Coimbra-285-2536]
This is a large group with 16 researchers with PhDs and 11 researchers without PhDs, all working on interesting projects. The focus of their research is on nano-coatings and modelling of mechanical properties and residual stresses in thin films.
The group publishes in recognised journals having high impact factors, 1.5 to 3. However, for the 10 listed papers the number of citations is low, zero to 6. This is quite low considering the field of research.
The total level of funding exceeds 400,000 €.
The group has a good record educating PhD and MSc students (from 2003 to 2006, 7 MSc and 5 PhD students graduated) and in organizing international and national conferences. It also has an exceptionally large number of international collaborations and contacts.
Sensors and Nanoelectrochemistry [RG-MECH-Centro-Coimbra-285-2526]
The mission of this group is fabrication, characterisation and application of sensors. The focus is on inorganic nanomaterials and nanoparticle enhanced bio-sensors.
This is a large group with 8 researchers with PhDs, 8 PhD students and 3 MSc students. In 2007, the number of publications in international journals reached 27 papers. The publications are in journals having a high impact factor, 2 to 3.5. The number of citations of the 10 listed papers is high: 3 papers have ~ 20 citations. Furthermore, the group has published 11 book chapters.
The total funding received in the period 2003 to 2006 exceeds 400,000 €.
Smart Industrial Robotics and Management [RG-MECH-Centro-Coimbra-285-2827]
The key objective of this group is to develop working solutions on robotics, automation and management, focusing on human-machine interfaces and efficient modular software.
The group has extensive cooperation with industry and European Research Centres. The Group PI is Editor in Chief of the Journal Robótica and the CEO of i-Parque, a start-up company created through cooperation with Instituto Pedro Nunes (IPN); a private venture which is instrumental for transferring technology to industry. Furthermore, it provides complementary facilities to the University.
The group has approximately 10 large projects bringing in a total of 960 k€ (37.5 k€/PhD-yr). The industrial to total funding ratio is 26 %.
Publications include 7 Books published by Springer Verlag. Most journal papers have only a couple of citations, but one has 28 citations. The group participated in organizing 5 IEEE conferences.
The research activities and results of this group are highly visible and they are producing internationally recognized work.
Structural Integrity [RG-MECH-Centro-Coimbra-285-2818]
This is a large group with 18 PhD researchers and 8 graduate students (MSc. and PhD). The researchers are primarily faculty of the University of Coimbra. The group has potential for technology transfer to industry and health administration (dental work). The research interests include fracture, creep, fatigue, welding, control and characterization by ultrasounds, computational/experimental techniques integration.
The total amount of research funding in the period 2003 to 2006 was approximately 300 k€ (178 k€ from 13 projects and 73,5 k€ from FCT programmatic funding). The total number of papers in international journals is approximately 85. Since 2003, 7 PhD and 6 PhD theses have been completed.
In 2007, the number of papers in international journals reached 26. The impact factor of the journals is 0.6 to 2. The number of citations for the 10 listed papers is zero to 13.
More participation in European R&D projects is recommended.
Overlapping within some other activities within the Unit (e.g., nanomaterials) suggests a need for more effective coordination.
Surface Engineering [RG-MECH-Centro-Coimbra-285-2486]
The mission of this group is to modify surfaces of materials by the deposition of coatings, to optimize the mechanical response of components and parts.
This is large group with 4 Professors, 7 Post-docs, and 7 PhD and 10 MSc students in progress. The level of funding is high, exceeding 300,000 € in 2007. In the period 2003 to 2006, this group produced 4 PhD and 3 MSc theses.
Since 2003, the group had 20 invited talks at international meetings. The group is active in organizing international and national conferences. The average impact factor of the journals is 1.7. Since 2003 the total number of citations is ~ 300, excluding self citations