The Challenge 2023

We keep bringing novelties to every edition!

In addition to the already existing MSc Thesis Award, which grants bright, technological ideas based on MSc thesis, a new category is now available: The Student Award. This category will award the student with the most promising idea with a money prize and mentoring from our research team.

You no longer need to wait until you complete your thesis. From the moment you enroll in a Master course, you may apply to the Fraunhofer Portugal Challenge idea contest!

The application period for both categories is now open and running until the 31st of July 2023.

About the Fraunhofer Portugal Challenge


Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS wishes to motivate and award research of practical utility through the attribution of Prizes and Distinctions to students and researchers that contribute to the philosophy behind the FhP-AICOS vision of ‘Proposing Futures. Impacting lives.’ and its mission to create ‘Remarkable Technology, Easy to Use.’



The Fraunhofer Portugal Challenge is an idea contest promoted by Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS with the objective of motivating and rewarding research of practical utility, through the attribution of scientific prizes to MSc students and researchers from Portuguese higher education institutions in the scientific areas of: Human-Centred Design; Artificial Intelligence; and Cyber-physical systems.

The Challenge includes two Scientific Prizes categories:

a) Master Thesis Award: the best ideas presented by MSc students and researchers that were developed having ‘Research of Practical Utility’ in mind and are based on graduation theses;

b) Student Award: the best ideas presented by MSc students, that do not need to be associated with any scientific work (e.g. master thesis).



The Challenge is open to all individual applicants (hereafter the ‘Participant’) that are/were MSc students and researchers in Portuguese higher education institutions such as Universities or Polytechnic Institutes, developing their research activity ideally within the Scientific Areas.

Note: Individual applicants with past or present collaboration with Fraunhofer Portugal or with its founding associates, research centres or project partners, are not eligible for participation in the Challenge. This includes past or present employees, thesis students, scholarship students, members of the Jury and their respective direct family.



Master Thesis Award

The submitted ideas must be based on a MSc thesis developed by the Participant resulting in an academic degree from a Portuguese higher education institution.

The ideas must be based on a thesis concluded and graded in the academic year of 2021/2022, that was not submitted in previous editions of the Challenge, or that has been concluded, defended and graded or will be defended and graded in the academic year of 2022/2023, and provided that it has not been submitted in previous editions of the Challenge, nor any other competition sponsored by FhP-AICOS.

In case the submitted idea has not yet been defended and graded, the Participant must submit a statement in support from the thesis supervisor upon submission of the idea, in the 1st Round.


Student Award – Special Rules

The submitted ideas must be aligned with the Scientific Areas and must be developed having “Research of Practical Utility” in mind. The submitted ideas do not need to be associated with any scientific work (e.g. master thesis).



The Fraunhofer Portugal Challenge 2023 will follow the chronogram below, divided in three rounds:


1st Round:

15/June/2023: beginning of the idea submission period;

31/Jul/2023: end of the idea submission period;

Until 01/Sep/2023: announcement of the results and winning idea (Student Award);

11/Sep/2023: announcement of the 1st round results.


2nd Round:

12/Sep/2023: beginning of the additional documentation submission period;

22/Sep/2023: end of the additional documentation submission period;

Until 25/Sep/2023: beginning of the mentoring work (Student Award);

13/Oct/2023: announcement of the 2nd round results.


3rd Round:

22/Nov/2023: public presentation of selected ideas for the 3rd Round evaluation; announcement of the 3rd round results (Fraunhofer Portugal Challenge Closing Event).



Meet the people who are part of this year's jury panel:

Liliana Ferreira

Liliana Ferreira is the director of Fraunhofer Portugal and Professor at the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto. Liliana Ferreira holds a PhD in Informatics Engineering from the University of Aveiro, and has worked as a researcher and guest researcher in several research groups as Philips Research Eindhoven,the Institute of Electronics and Telematics Engineering of Aveiro, IBM Research and Development, Ubiquitous Knowledge Lab of the Technical University of Darmstadt and in the Linguistic Department of the University of Tübingen. Her main research activities are in the area of Human Language Technologies, Information Extraction, Medical Knowledge Representation, and Health Informatics.

Waldir Júnior

Waldir Júnior, President of the Scientific Board of Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS, holds a PhD degree (’14) in Telecommunications from Universidades do Minho, Aveiro and Porto, Portugal, with Master (’08) and Bachelor (’05) degrees in Computer Science from Universidade Federal do Pará and Universidade da Amazônia, Brazil. Currently, he is Senior Scientist and Innovation Lead for Digital Farming at Fraunhofer Portugal Research Center for Assistive Information and Communication Solutions (FhP-AICOS). His work, research interests, and publications are in the field of Wireless Adhoc, Mesh, Social-aware, Cooperative, Opportunistic, Information-Centric, and Software-Defined Networking and Routing as well as Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D), Digital Services/Tools for Inclusion and Empowerment, Network Deployment in Challenged/Underserved Areas, (Industrial) Internet of Things (I/IoT), Smart Cities, Digital Farming, and Industry 4.0.

Narges Ahmidi
Head of Department at Fraunhofer IKS, Research Group Leader at Helmholtz Munich Center and Adjunct Faculty at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Narges Ahmidi studied Artificial Intelligence and medical robotics at the Johns Hopkins University (JHU), USA. After completion of her PhD, she founded and directed the »AI for Patient Diagnosis and Treatment« research laboratory at the Helmholtz Munich Center, Institute for Computational Biology (ICB). She then joined Fraunhofer IKS as Head of the Department of »Reasoned AI Decisions«. In parallel, she holds an adjunct faculty position at the JHU Malone Center for Engineering in Healthcare and a group leader position at ICB. Her research focus is on trustworthy AI, especially on causally-informed predictive models, reliable decision support for both humans and AI, and validation metrics geared towards expert user expectations.

Panel of Experts


This year's panel of experts will be disclosed later on. Stay tuned.



For the category Master Thesis Award, the Fraunhofer Portugal Challenge will award a total of €6.000 (nine thousand Euros) in scientific prizes, divided into three placements (1st, 2nd and 3rd Prize).

For the category Student Award, the Jury will consider awarding one scientific prize to the best idea. The prize consists of mentoring - provided by specialists from FhP-AICOS - and a prize in the total amount of €3,000.00 (three thousand euro). The mentoring period, up to a maximum of 6 months, will be determined according to the student's availability and the work plan defined with the FhP-AICOS experts.


For more specific informations, please consult the Fraunhofer Portugal Challenge 2023 - Terms & Conditions and the Fraunhofer Portugal Challenge 2023 - Contest Presentation. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.