The Challenge 2022

On the 13th edition of the Fraunhofer Portugal Challenge we have decided to go closer to students, researchers, and universities. Thus, we have launched the Fraunhofer Portugal Challenge ON THE ROAD.


Each year, the idea contest will have a different University as a host. For being the Portuguese University with most awarded students/researchers at the Fraunhofer Portugal Challenge, University of Aveiro will be the host for 2022, the first year of the ON THE ROAD edition.

Fraunhofer Portugal wishes to motivate and award research of practical utility through the attribution of Prizes and Distinctions to students and researchers that contribute to the philosophy behind Fraunhofer Portugal's vision, ‘A Driving Force in Innovation”, and its mission, to develop ‘Research of Practical Utility.




The Fraunhofer Portugal Challenge is an idea contest promoted by Fraunhofer Portugal with the objective of motivating and rewarding research of practical utility, through the attribution of a scientific prize to MSc and PhD students and researchers from Portuguese Universities.

The Challenge consists of awarding the best ideas based on graduation theses that were developed having ‘Research of Practical Utility’ in mind. By this we mean ideas based on theses' concepts that clearly demonstrate a concern with the direct applicability of its results in industry and markets.



The Fraunhofer Portugal Challenge is open to all individual applicants that are/were MSc or PhD Students and Researchers in Portuguese Universities, developing their research activity ideally within the areas of AI, Cyber-Physical Systems, HCI and other related Sciences, Processing Technologies in Agricultural or Environmental Sciences, Food Production and Water Treatment.

Note: Individual applicants with past or present collaboration with Fraunhofer Portugal or with its founding associates, research centres or project partners, are not eligible for participation in the Challenge. This includes past or present employees, thesis students, scholarship students, members of the Jury and their respective direct family.



The concepts submitted to contest (Ideas) must be based on an MSc or PhD thesis/work developed by the Participant, resulting in an academic degree from a Portuguese University.

The ideas must be based on theses concluded and graded in the academic year of 2020/2021, that were not submitted in previous editions of the Challenge, or that have been concluded and will be defended and graded in the academic year of 2021/2022, and provided that they have not been submitted in previous editions of the Challenge, nor any other competition sponsored by Fraunhofer Portugal.

The submitted ideas should reflect and comment their potential impact on the scientific areas currently being developed by Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS and Fraunhofer Portugal AWAM, namely:

a) Human-Centred Design – user research and understanding of technology users, co-design of technology, and technology assessment;
b) Artificial Intelligence – edge and computer vision, sensor fusion and embedded intelligence, cognitive systems and deep learning, and predictive modelling and recommendation;
c) Cyber-physical systems – embedded electronics, communication and networks, edge and cloud computing, and quality assurance and pre-compliance.
d) Membrane Technology;
e) General Process Engineering;
f) Sensors and sensor grids;
g) Energy Systems.



The Fraunhofer Portugal Challenge 2022 will follow the chronogram below, divided in three rounds:


1st Round:

28/June/2022: beginning of the idea submission period;

31/Jul/2022: end of the idea submission period;

13/Sep/2022: announcement of the 1st round results.


2nd Round:

14/Sep/2022: beginning of the additional documentation submission period;

21/Sep/2022: end of the additional documentation submission period;

13/Oct/2022: announcement of the 2nd round results.


3rd Round:

26/Oct/2022: public presentation of the best 2nd round results; announcement of the 3rd round results (Fraunhofer Portugal Challenge Closing Event).



Meet the people who are part of this year's jury panel:

Liliana Ferreira

Liliana Ferreira is the director of Fraunhofer Portugal and Professor at the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto. Liliana Ferreira holds a PhD in Informatics Engineering from the University of Aveiro, and has worked as a researcher and guest researcher in several research groups as Philips Research Eindhoven,the Institute of Electronics and Telematics Engineering of Aveiro, IBM Research and Development, Ubiquitous Knowledge Lab of the Technical University of Darmstadt and in the Linguistic Department of the University of Tübingen. Her main research activities are in the area of Human Language Technologies, Information Extraction, Medical Knowledge Representation, and Health Informatics.

Waldir Júnior

Waldir Júnior, President of the Scientific Board of Fraunhofer Portugal, holds a PhD degree (’14) in Telecommunications from Universidades do Minho, Aveiro and Porto, Portugal, with Master (’08) and Bachelor (’05) degrees in Computer Science from Universidade Federal do Pará and Universidade da Amazônia, Brazil. Currently, he is Senior Scientist and Innovation Lead for Digital Farming at Fraunhofer Portugal Research Center for Assistive Information and Communication Solutions (FhP-AICOS). His work, research interests, and publications are in the field of Wireless Adhoc, Mesh, Social-aware, Cooperative, Opportunistic, Information-Centric, and Software-Defined Networking and Routing as well as Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D), Digital Services/Tools for Inclusion and Empowerment, Network Deployment in Challenged/Underserved Areas, (Industrial) Internet of Things (I/IoT), Smart Cities, Digital Farming, and Industry 4.0.

Thomas Härtling

Thomas Härtling received both his diploma and PhD in physics from Technische Universität Dresden, Germany, in 2004 and 2008, respectively. Since 2010, he has been with the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft leading a group focusing on “Optical testing and nano sensors” at the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS, Dresden, Germany. Also since 2010, he is affiliated with Technische Universität Dresden at which he was appointed professor in 2018 in the field of “Nanotechnology and Nanosensors” in the department of electrical engineering and information technology. His research interests circle around sensor and measurement approaches for process-integrated production monitoring based on nanoscale optical materials and structures with a focus on biotechnology, environmental technology, and agriculture. He is Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft's Advisor of Fraunhofer Portugal AWAM.

Panel of Experts


Meet the people who are part of this year's panel of experts:

João José Pinto Ferreira

- Dean Master of Technological Innovation and Entrepreneurship – Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto;​

- Researcher – INESC Porto;​

- PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering: Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto.

Aurora Baptista 


- Member of RAC on Portuguese Chairmanship of EUREKA;​

- Post Graduation in Management - Harvard Kennedy School.


Ana Palmeira de Oliveira 

- General Manager at Labfit;​

- President of the board AEBB - Associação Empresarial da Beira Baixa;​

- Invited Professor at the University of Beira Interior.



Nelson Martins 

- Associate Professor at the University of Aveiro;​

- Researcher/founder of giSES- Sustainable Energy Systems Research Group of the University of Aveiro;​

- PhD in Mechanical Engineering (Applied Thermodynamics) from Instituto Superior Técnico.

Francisco Carvalho

- Executive Board Member at Amorim Florestal, SA.



The 13th edition of the Fraunhofer Portugal Challenge will award a total of €9.000 (nine thousand Euros) in scientific prizes.

The scientific prizes are divided into two categories: MSc and PhD theses. Each category has three placements (1st, 2nd and 3rd Prize).

In addition, the award winners may also receive the opportunity to join the Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS or the Fraunhofer Portugal AWAM research teams, depending on their overall performance in the Challenge. 



For more specific informations, please consult the Fraunhofer Portugal Challenge 2022 - Terms & Conditions and the Fraunhofer Portugal Challenge 2022 - Contest Presentation. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.