Renata Castelo Branco was one of two Portuguese PhD students selected to take part in the TNC23 Future Talent Programme, which took place earlier this month in Tirana, Albania.

Together with João Brandão (a student at the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto), Renata — a PhD student in INESC-ID’s Graphics and Interaction research area — was chosen by FCCN (the Scientific Computing Unit of the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology, FCT) and GÉANT (the collaboration of European National Research and Education Networks, NRENs) to take part in TNC23’s Lightning Talk Challenge and share her story and project.

The Future Talent Programme’s Lightning Talk Challengeoffers students and young professionals the opportunity to present their project or idea to TNC’s international audience,” an opportunity that Renata seized to speak about The Algorithmic Design Sketchbook, her PhD work on algorithmic design, integrating computation and architecture.

“The use of programming and the changes that this approach imposes on traditional design processes have limited its use to industry giants”, Renata explains. Her project then seeks to “make algorithmic thinking more accessible, complementing it with visual and dynamic development and explanation mechanisms, thus promoting its widespread use in industry.” On speaking in the Lightning Talk Challenge, Renata added that “Often, as researchers, we transmit our discoveries in a very technical way, since communication is directed to an equally technical and specialized public”, highlighting that initiatives such as the Lightning Talks “inevitably lead to making an effort of synthesis, simplification and focus on real contributions to society.”

TNC is the largest and most prestigious research and education networking conference in the world, attracting a diverse audience of hundreds of participants from more than 70 countries every year.