meeting of the research group

Yesterday I was in my first meeting with the research group on Transport Infrastructure, Systems and Policy (NISPT), our unit within CESUR (Center for Urban and Regional Systems) research centre.

The agenda dealt basically with the election of the new group coordinator and the discussion of NIPST’s new strategic guidelines. For me, it was a good chance to understand how the group works, to meet new colleagues and to catch up with friends I already haven’t seen for a while. Furthermore, I managed to snatch a fruitful crash-meeting with my supervisor, which is always a must.

dinner & drinks

Yesterday there was a welcoming / networking dinner with all students from the PhD and the CTIS MSc course, introducing the new students starting this year.

It was a lovely dinner, and drinks afterwards allowed me one of the few relaxed, leisure moments with colleagues. It’s the cost of studying part-time together with living and working away from Lisbon.

back to school

I had my second supervision appointment yesterday, in a Friday entirely spent at IST. It’s good to be back to the school and being able to spend an entire day there, working for the project. It sure was productive.

The appointment went very well and we discussed many questions, including the draft version I had submitted this week. I got very good tips and ideas from my supervisor, which I’ll try to put in practice while preparing the thesis project. Otherwise, I’ll leave them for the research phase, as my deadline is approaching fast and I’m not sure whether I’ll have time to read & write everything I should.

This means I’ll have a busy weekend and busier times ahead – which means a balanced mix of work and sailing must be in place. And since that the weatherman is kind today, a Laser sailing afternoon is already scheduled.

Fair winds and following seas. Have a nice weekend.

version 4.0

After a too long intermission, I finished and submitted today the draft version #4 of my thesis project. It’s very behind schedule and there are still many issues missing, but I’ll try to catch up during September. I need to catch up.

At the same time, it also showed me the importance of keep writing, closing pending issues, submitting versions, etc. It’s the way to feel that I’m moving somewhere and that I must keep moving somewhere. To the right direction, preferably.

coursework: check!

Stop the press! I’ve just received my last grade and coursework is DO-NE!!!

It has been a long and demanding path, lasting from September 2010 until late last month, constantly travelling, commuting, studying – and working at my regular job. At the same time, I really enjoyed it and learnt a lot in all five courses I was enrolled: Research Methodologies, Risk and Decision Making, Optimization of Transport Infrastructures and Operations, Business Models and Contracts, and Transport Policy and Institutions.

Now it’s time to take a big breath and focusing on the thesis proposal I need to prepare and present for the Thesis Project curricular unit, due later this year. It’s the only thing left to finish my first year at the program and to enter in the long and big immersion of research  and… thesing.

morning walk

While doing coursework, my life spanned the area between Sines, Cascais, and Lisbon, which I had to cover several times a week. For the morning classes, I’d usually travel the day before from Sines to Cascais, then take a morning train from Cascais to Lisbon, hop on the metro at Cais do Sodré and do a morning walk between the stop at Alameda and IST.

This image bring me back – bring us, I’m expecting to be read – to one of those busy, but enjoyable days. It was October 19, 2010, at 08h41, and I was doing my final leg in direction to IST. Here is the sunny version of IST’s South Tower.

supervision has arrived!

Four days ago I received the confirmation that the person I asked to supervise my research had accepted my invitation. It will be Professor José Manuel Viegas, full professor at Instituto Superior Técnico and coordinator of the PhD program in Transportation Systems.

This is great news for me. And also means I need to pace my work, as I already have some preliminary input for developing the first draft of my thesis proposal. Let’s go!

over & out (of the country)

The end of a very long day. I had today my last exam, Transport Policy and Institutions they call it, and I’m now free from coursework, so grades allow it. Cross your fingers, will you?

I departed directly from IST to the Lisbon Airport, for an extended weekend in Brussels and Rotterdam ‘per lavoro e per piacere’. Brussels for business, Rotterdam for memories and to see some friends.

Please wish me luck – and a sound health and physical condition (it’s for the business part of the trip).

1st post (after the previous one)

OK, now that we know each other, let’s go for a quick recap of the story so far. I started my PhD program in September 2010. It comprises coursework during the first year, including the curricular unit Thesis Project, plus two years of research, at the end of which I am supposed to submit and defend my thesis. Of course it would be handy if I managed to start research while doing coursework, but given the usual lack of time for doing that plus the fact I’m studying part-time and squeezing my time between academic activities and job responsabilities, I’m finding that just a little bit difficult…

I had to enroll in five courses I chose with the help of my designated tutor: Research Methodologies, Risk and Decision Making, and Optimization of Transport Infrastructures and Operations in the Fall semester; and Business Models and Contracts, and Transport Policy and Institutions in the Spring semester. At some point during the year, I’ll have to find an academic that, based on a draft thesis proposal (I’ve already finished), will be designated as my official supervisor.

The moment I’m writing, I’m done with most of my coursework (reason why I found the time – and thought it would make sense – to start the blog) and I have only one exam left.

I think this is it. And now it’s time to go back studying. But not without wishing a Happy Easter for those who celebrate it.

editorial prospectus

I’m a transportation professional pursuing a PhD in Transportation Systems at IST – Technical University of Lisbon and currently working for APS – Port of Sines Authority, Portugal.

In 2007, I was granted a three-month internship at UNCTAD – United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, in Geneva, during which I should write my master’s thesis. In order to help me keeping track of time and sharing my days with friends & strangers, I decided to start a blog. Now that I’m beginning my PhD research, I thought about commiting the same mistake.

At this point, I’m still working on my research proposal and no definitive topic is set. Nevertheless, the thrust area will be ports and maritime transport, and the starting point is “Port Competition: Drivers and Boundaries of Integration for Shipping Lines and Terminal Operators”. Let’s see how this develops.

This blog is intended to serve as a diary of my research and day-to-day life during the forthcoming months. I’ll try to update it regularly and to post information about the progresses, doubts, and questions of my work. I will also post the nitty-gritty of living, working and looking at the Atlantic from the westernmost country of mainland Europe (and hopefully, from some other countries I’ll visit along the way). I don’t intend to lie.

My e-mail address is somewhere at the top-right corner of the blog and all messages are most welcome. Have fun.