Academic exchange and social integration
National Academic Exchange and Collaboration
The PPGCA program seeks to implement and strengthen academic exchange with national universities and research institutions throughout research projects and institutional cooperation programs. Among the national connections we currently keep are:
- collaboration with Embrapa Trigo, Passo Fundo - RS (Embrapa Research Center for Wheat);
- collaboration with Embrapa Uva e Vinho, Bento Gonçalves - RS (Embrapa Research Center for Grapes and Wine);
- collaboration with the Associação Gaúcha dos Produtores de Maçã - Agapomi (Southern-brazilian association for Apple Producers);
- collaboration with CPTEC (Center for Climate and Forecast Studies) of the INPE (National Aerospace Research Institute);
- collaboration with the Elomed Indústria de Equipamentos Eletrônicos Ltda, Passo Fundo - RS (electronics industry);
- research project on scientific computing assisted medicine (project title: “Medicina Assistida por Computação Científica” - INCT-MACC);
- research project on assessing usability in the development of applications for cognitive training, a collaboration work with the Graduate Program on Human Aging (PPGEH) at UPF (project title: “Proposição de diretrizes de usabilidade para o desenvolvimento de aplicações para treino cognitivo” - MCTI/CNPq Number 14/2014);
- research project on the investigation of potential technologies to assist the memory training for the elderly, a collaboration work with the Graduate Program on Human Aging (PPGEH) at UPF (project title: “Treino de memória em idosos saudáveis: possibilidades com o uso de tecnologias” - Fapergs Nº 02/2014 – PqG);
- research project on the development of simulation models and a forecast system within the area of aerobiology and epidemiologic parameters of brusone in wheat, a collaboration work with the Federal University of Viçosa (UFV), Kansas State University (EUA), National Meteorology Institute (INMET) and CPTEC/INPE (project title: “Aerobiologia e parâmetros epidemiológicos de brusone em trigo: sistema de previsão e modelos de simulação” - Edital Universal - faixa B - 2014);
- research project on the climate change projections and its impacts on the natural water system in Brazil, food chain and electric energy production, a collaboration led by the National Aerospace Research Institute - INPE (project title: "Projeções das mudanças climáticas para estudos de impactos sobre a disponibilidade hídrica no país com implicações na segurança alimentar e energética");
- academic collaboration with the Graduate Program on Mathematical Modelling (master’s and PhD programs) of the Unijuí university, with exchange possibilities for students on lectures/courses, co-supervision and research development;
- collaboration with the Hospital da Cidade hospital, Passo Fundo - RS;
- collaboration with the Hospital São Vicente de Paulo hospital, Passo Fundo - RS;
- collaboration with the Arranjo Produtivo Local (APL) for Information Technology and Communication for the State’s Northern Region, and the Sociedade Polo de Exportação de Serviços de Software do Planalto Médio (Polosul.org);
International Academic Exchange and Collaboration
By means of International Academic Exchange the PPGCA program has been established solid partnerships. Since 2014 the program has international partnerships with the University of Florida (MOSAICO research group projects), and the University of Roma Tre (GEPID research group projects), with the exchange of students and professors.
With regard to the University of Florida (UF), three students have been internships in USA (sandwich) during 2015, 2016 and 2017. One of the PPGCA graduates was selected to start his Ph.D. at UF in 2018. In addition, one of our professors was doing post-doctoral training at the institution in 2017. One UF professor is a PPGCA full-time professor, researching about applied computation in agrometeorology.
Considering researches in Biomedical Engineering, it is important to note the partnerships signed with the University of Porto (Portugal) and Royal Liverpool University Hospital (England) since 2014. They are related to the use and evaluation of the Protegemed solution, a PPGCA project in partnership with the Brazilian company Elomed Electronic Devices of Passo Fundo.
Since 2016, PPGCA has cooperated with DSSAT Foundation projects (USA), an international group responsible for the development of the DSSAT suite (Decision Support System for Agrotechnology Transfer - http://dssat.net/), a software application program that comprises crop simulation models for over 42 crops as well as tools to facilitate effective use of the models. PPGCA has received DSSAT scholarships for graduate students develop new system modules (simulation models and graphical interfaces). In 2017, a middleware created by PPGCA was officially incorporated into the latest version of the DSSAT suite.
The PPGCA also collaborates with the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT). This entity is an international organization based in Mexico dedicated to both the development of improved varieties of wheat and maize with the aim of contributing to food security, and the introduction of improved agricultural practices to smallholder farmers to help boost production, prevent crop disease and improve their livelihoods. We could highlight the participation in the CGIAR Big Data in Agriculture Inspire Challenge 2017, and the development of a decision support system that alerts Bangladesh growers about wheat blast disease, using a consolidated forecast model created by PPGCA.
The PPGCA has an excellent proximity to two important entities catalyzing technology transfer and IT innovation for the region: Sociedade Polo de Exportação de Serviços de Software do Planalto Médio (PoloSul.org) and the UPF Planalto Médio Research and Technology Park (UPF Parque).
PoloSul.org is a non-profit scientific technical association, grouping UPF, Municipality of Passo Fundo (PMPF) and IT regional companies, founded in 2005. Its mission is to promote the innovation and development of the IT sector, instigate the cooperativism and offer quality software services for the society. Historically, PPGCA professors have been participated in the Administrative and/or Technical Councils of the entity, in order to the consolidate the association and the relationship between academia and industry.
UPF Parque is an initiative led by UPF, supporting of the Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovation and Communication; State Secretariat for Economic Development, Science and Technology; and PMPF. Its focus is to offer an social and business environment allowing the increase of the competitiveness of new companies (incubated, startups and resident companies), and promoting research-based industrial and innovative activity. UPF Parque has a mission to connect people and ideas considering priority sectors of regional development, such as IT, Metal Mechanics, Health, Food, Energy and Biotechnology. This particularity has allowed the alignment of PPGCA research projects with the market demands, encouraging and establishing new partnerships, and promoting technology transfer.
Considering this context, it is important to highlight the PPGCA software registrations as initiatives to transfer knowledge to society. Our list of computer programs, registered with the National Institute of Industrial Property in Brazil (INPI), is available at https://www.upf.br/ppgca/inovacao
The PPGCA also has a position in the Computer Science national community, through the active participation of members in Brazilian Computer Society (SBC) conferences, and conferences related to the Agriculture and Health.
In addition, professors also participate in important steering committees (e.g. Virtual And Augmented Reality Commission, Brazilian Wheat and Triticale Research Commission, and Working Group for Qualified Technical and Technological Production in Computing).
Interactions with schools
In collaboration with the research group GEPID, the PPGCA program promotes various activities for school students, addressing attractive topics and practical subjects, such as:
Joint efforts towards digital inclusion: this extension program aims at implementing actions towards digital inclusion. The idea is to take technological knowledge to people from an environmental perspective of communication and exercise of citizenship. Some activities include: computer workshops for children and the elderly, open source software courses for teachers, and e-waste recycling programmes for the community.
Computer Programming Contest for Elementary School Students: focused by Public Schools, this project aims to promote introduction for computer programming through challenges using Scratch, a visual programming language targeted primarily at children. It also encourages the use of new technologies in schools to support learning in the various areas of knowledge, instigating interdisciplinarity and rapprochement with the University.
Educational Robotics Contest: this project aims to expand the education robotics in the high schools of Passo Fundo and neighbouring cities, considering the use of Arduino platform to solve challenges. An contest event congregates students and teachers to show their solutions. It is a means to promote the integration of concepts, experiences, creativity and intelligence, popularizing this technology as a teaching tool.
In addition, UPF annually promotes the “UPF Interaction”, an event that brings ~7000 high-school students from several municipalities. A rich program and a guided tour provide opportunities to experience the University's physical, human and technological structures (including laboratories and PPGCA research projects), and to know the focus of the undergraduate courses. Integration activities complete the event schedule.
The PPGCA also offers scholarships for high-school students of the "Centro de Ensino Médio Integrado UPF". The aim is to insert high-school students in research projects, in order to collaborate for scientific formation, considering a teamwork compose by undergraduate and graduate students. Currently, our Program have had high-school interns involved in researches with Virtual Reality, Robotics and Embedded Systems.
Professors and students of the PPGCA voluntarily participate in the “Go Code [Blocks] Program”, a free 50-hour annual -course sponsored by the Maurício Sirotsky Sobrinho Foundation, and organized by the UPF Information Technology undergraduate courses. The goal of this program is to show young people the countless possibilities in the world of programming. Using a block-based graphical interface, beginners can create Android applications and inspired yourself to use technology in their careers.