MIT Portugal seed funding has been awarded to the Industrial Performance Cluster (IPC) at MIT to conduct a joint project with researchers from the Instituto Superior Técnico Lisbon (IST) and the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS).
The aim of the project is to gain a deeper understanding of how technology and work are changing in key segments of the manufacturing sector. The project aims to create a platform for collaboration between research centers in the three institutions (IN+, Center for Innovation, Technology and Policy research at IST; IPC at MIT; and NEO at UFRGS) as a first stage of a broader rollout of international research on the topic. The project falls within the broader scope of the institute-wide MIT Work of the Future initiative and builds upon ongoing research by the MIT IPC in Brazil, conducted in partnership with the Organizational Engineering Group (Núcleo de Engenharia Organizacional, NEO) of UFRGS. The research will take an interview-based approach, focusing on how the adoption of emerging digital technologies is impacting work and which new training and skills are required for workers and firms to prosper in a context of the fourth industrial revolution.
The fourth industrial revolution describes the integration of emerging digital technologies (variously referred to as advanced manufacturing and Industry 4.0) and digital tools with the internet of things, cloud computing, and data science across the whole manufacturing value chain. Many countries, including Brazil, Portugal, and the US, have launched initiatives to support the implementation of these technologies. Those efforts share a focus on raising productivity, anticipating and offsetting any negative employment consequences, and preserving the dignity of work.
The project’s findings will be relevant for industry, government, and civil society stakeholders facing uncertainty about emerging digital technologies. The initial one-year phase covered by the seed funding will provide insight into which new training and skills will be needed and which, if any, adjustments are needed to existing policies. Complementary, coordinated, and contemporaneous research in the United States, Brazil and Portugal will provide a comparative perspective across Europe, North America, and Latin-America. Such a design could help to reveal structural and institutional factors that affect the adoption and impact of emerging technologies.
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