Strategy and goals

Microsystem technologies are a deeply interdisciplinary subject. This interdisciplinary nature is a scientific and technical challenge, as new phenomena and concepts will require the mastery of several, traditionally separate, scientific and technical research disciplines. This interdisciplinary nature means that advanced training at the doctoral level will be challenging and rewarding producing graduates with a broad scientific vision, who are knowledgeable in a wide variety of scientific disciplines: from biological sciences and quantum mechanics to electrical and mechanical engineering. Graduates of such a program will have achieved a high level of scientific maturity and will have developed the tools that are required to solve problems in a broad range of fields. Such graduates would be highly sought after by both academia and industry and would contribute greatly to the competitiveness of Portugal.

In Portugal, the first Cleanroom for the design, fabrication and characterization of top-down micro and nanotechnological devices was installed in 1993 at INESC-MN and since then a variety of sensor and lab-on-chip devices have been demonstrated. In recent years, research in micro and nanotechnology in Portugal has evolved. It now involves active collaborations between the proponent research groups working in nanodevices (INESC-MN and more recently, INL,  which brought online significant new infrastructure and researchers) and researchers working on circuit and system design, biotechnology applications, pharmacy, veterinary and biomedical research. It also involves numerous additional partnerships with European research institutions and companies in the framework of European projects, as well as several R&D contracts with national and international companies.


This doctoral programme aims to consolidate these collaborative activities with a focus on advanced integrated microsystems. In particular, the objective is to offer advanced training that includes: micro/nanofabrication of devices and systems; sensing and actuating; application to biotechnological, pharmaceutical, and biomedical challenges. Special care has been taken to select groups of scientific excellence in which the fields of research, expertise and available equipment were complementary.


This doctoral programme aims to train a significant number of PhDs (of the order of 50) in micro and nanosystems technologies over the next 7-10 years, with a solid background in micro and nanofabrication, in the electronics needed to address the devices, and in the packaging required to interface with the outside world. It is aimed at preparing highly trained doctoral students, with specialized technical skills, who are then able to join teams in academia, industry or start-ups developing new applications for micro and nano systems, namely in the areas of bioprocessing, biotechnology, biomedicine, pharmaceutical sciences, biosensing for biomedical, environmental and food safety applications, and physical sensing.

The goal of this doctoral programme is to provide a unified core graduate programme in Portugal in applied integrated microsystems that will also serve existing PhD students enrolled in a variety of nonspecific doctoral programs, and that will be a competitive offer at the international level.


The AIM programme will be a 4 year program with lab rotations and training focused mainly in the first year. The final three years will be devoted entirely to the research project.


The doctoral programme includes a Seminar formation module, including, among other topics, scientific writing, bibliographic search, data analysis (DMA), presentation skills, ethics, leadership, time management and personal organization, and a course in Entrepreneurship, intellectual property and project management.

In addition, the following initiatives will take place:

i) each year at the end of the 1st semester (December) a DOCTORAL PROGRAMME WORKSHOP will take place in one of the two locations where the thesis work may be developed (Lisbon, Braga). Laboratory visits will be organized; presentations from partner companies and international universities offered.

ii) Each year in the summer (July) there will be a THEMATIC WORKSHOP, preferably in a non-academic environment to promote informal discussions, in which all team members and doctoral students will participate.

iii) RESEARCH SEMINARS OF THE DOCTORAL PROGRAMME will occur in a weekly basis at the research groups led by the team members and these will be announced. Doctoral students in AIM will be required to attend. The seminars will be open to the academic and industrial communities.

iv) a WEB-BASED Moodle-type platform( to provide teaching materials and interact with students will be implemented.