Renata Castelo-Branco and João Brandão are the Portuguese students chosen to participate in TNC23, under the Future Talent Programme, to take part in the event's Lightning Talks. Through a 5-minute presentation, they will share their work, detailing how it uses technological resources in the area of IT or computer networks.  

Every year, GÉANT and the FCCN Unit leave a challenge to the community of higher education students in Portugal - to share a story or project at the world's largest annual networking conference. This is the concept of the challenge Lightning Talksthrough which students from all over Europe will take the stage in June, during TNC23, in Tirana, Albania.  

From the applications submitted by the FCCN Unit to the program, two participants were chosen: Renata Castelo-Branco, PhD student in Computer Science at Instituto Superior Técnico, and João Brandão, MSc student in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto (FEUP).  

"Disseminating the work developed is an integral part of life as a researcher," says Renata Castelo-Branco. The PhD student will present her work that addresses the integration of computing in Architecture and believes that, through this experience, she will be able to take a new look at the project, "using any and all feedback to improve it.  

Renata Castelo-Branco's project is entitled The Algorithmic Design Sketchbook and focuses on the area of algorithmic design. "The use of programming and the changes that this approach imposes on traditional design processes have limited its use to industry giants," explains the researcher. In this sense, the project seeks to "make algorithmic thinking more accessible, complementing it with visual and dynamic development and explanation mechanisms, thus promoting its widespread use in industry.   


João Brandão will present the research he has been conducting as part of his master's thesis, which aims to assess the value of renewable energy communities. "It will be a good opportunity to challenge myself and show the work I have been doing," the student points out.  

João Brandão's work studies, in particular, the impacts for the user and for the energy system of these communities. "This topic is quite pertinent, since, due to the need to accelerate the energy transition and ensure compliance with the established decarbonization goals, Renewable Energy Communities have had a rapid growth," he explains.  


Focus on communication 

Participation in the Lightning Talks Challenge involves a training component, in which communication skills are worked on. A dimension that is especially valued by the participants. "Often, as researchers, we transmit our findings in a very technical way, since communication is directed to an equally technical and specialized audience," says Renata Castelo-Branco, before stressing that initiatives like the LTC "inevitably lead to an effort of synthesis, simplification, and focus on the real contributions to society.  

João Brandão also stresses the importance of this aspect of the experience, ensuring that he has "great expectations. "It will certainly help me develop my communication skills, learn about innovative projects from different realities, and expand my network of contacts," he concludes. 

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