CES Summer School

Critical approaches to the sustainable transformation

July 15th - July 20th, 2024

Faculty of Economics, University of Algarve, Campus de Gambelas (Faro, Portugal) > Deadline: April 15, 2024


Sustainable transformation is a solution-oriented research domain that supports humanity with normative goals in its transition to sustainability (Abson et al., 2017). Current macro-level trends emphasise the need for such a transformation with new regulatory, institutional, technological and market developments. The UN Sustainable Development Agenda, with its seventeen global sustainable goals, is a key example of this relevance and urgency. It is widely agreed that policy support is a key accelerator of sustainability transformation (Rogge and Reichardt, 2016) but a comprehensive analysis by experts from different fields such as sustainability science, regulatory dimensions, socio-economic aspects and others (Sancak, 2023) is still missing.

In this interdisciplinary Summer School, we propose to address critical approaches to sustainable transformation, tackling pressing challenges in sustainability. Inspired by the European-funded project BioAssembler, we delve into photolithographic chemistry, nanobiotechnology, and broader emerging technologies like biosensors.

The Summer School is designed to engage PhD students and early career researchers in an in-depth exploration of sustainable transformation. Our primary goal is to foster knowledge exchange among partners and participants, bridging academia, industry, and civil society.

General Structure and Dynamics

In-person sessions offer interactive learning, with experienced lecturers applying sustainable transformation concepts to diverse real-world scenarios. Guest lecturers use the same approach in afternoon workshops, providing insights and feedback. Evening sessions allow for networking outside the classroom.

Experience dynamic sessions featuring morning lectures by BIOASSEMBLER researchers and guest speakers, afternoon presentations of research and PhD projects, field visits to biotechnology and sustainable innovation labs, interactive roundtable discussions, and hands-on creative sessions.



Collaborating institutions include

CinTurs - Research Centre for Tourism, Sustainability and Well-being
Faculty of Economics, University of Algarve
University of Algarve
Associação Portuguesa de Economia Política
CRIA - Divisão de Empreendedorismo e Transferência de Tecnologia da Universidade do Algarve



| Hugo Pinto (UAlg, CinTurs & CES), Rita Campos (CES)
Organizing team | Bernardo Valente (CES), Bianca Brito (CES), Alexandra Teodósio (UAlg), Ana Rita Cruz (UAlg), Jennifer Elston (UAlg), Julieta Rosa (UAlg), Marisa Cesário (UAlg), Marlene Fernandes (UAlg), Miguel Puig (UAlg), Pedro Pintassilgo (UAlg).
Speakers |  André Pacheco (UAlg), Carla Nogueira (UAlg), Debora Power (UAlg), Filipe Santos (CES), Henrique Gomes (IT-UC), Hugo Barros (CRIA-UAlg), Manuela Moreira da Silva (UAlg), Manuel Fernandez Esquinas (IESA-CSIC), Manuel Laranja (ISEG-UL).

Target - Participants
PhD students, early career researchers, and anyone interested in sustainable transformation are welcome.

Official Language
The official language of the School will be English. Participants are expected to have minimal skills at the level of Oral and Written Understanding of the English language. Oral fluency is not a requirement, but participants are expected to have minimal oral skills.

Minimum and Maximum of Participants
The Summer School will take place with a minimum of 12 and a maximum of 18 participants.

Deadline for application: Abril 15, 2024.
Communication of acceptance: May 15, 2024.
Deadline for registration and payment – Early bird and students with reduced rate: June 15, 2024.
Deadline for registration and payment – Regular rate: July 1, 2024

Financing: This Summer School is supported by BioAssembler. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101070589. This Summer School reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.


[Detailed programme will be available soon]

DAY 1: 15 July
14:00-14:30 Welcome
14:30-16:00 Open Class with Keynote Speaker
16:00-16:30 Coffee Break
16:30-17:30 Hands-on session: The collective word cloud of sustainable transformation
17:30-18:30 Visit to the Campus
20:00 Dinner with "Speed Dating" Pitch your Ideas
DAY 2: 16 July
09:30-11:00 Plenary session
11:00-11:30 Coffee Break
11:30-13:00 Plenary session
13:00-14:00 Lunch Break
14:00-16:00 Plenary session
16:00-16:30 Coffee Break

DAY 3: 17 July
09:30-11:00 Plenary session
11:00-11:30 Coffee Break
11:30-13:00 Plenary session
13:00-14:00 Lunch Break
14:00-18:30 Field Trip

DAY 4: 18 July
09:30-11:00 Project Presentation
11:00-11:30 Coffee Break
11:30-13:00 Project Presentation
13:00-14:00 Lunch Break
14:00-16:00 Project Presentation
16:00-16:30 Coffee Break
16:30-18:30 Project Presentation

DAY 5: 19 July
09:30-11:00 Plenary session
11:00-11:30 Coffee Break
11:30-13:00 Plenary session
13:00-14:00 Lunch Break
14:00-16:00 Wrap up session
16:00-16:30 Coffee Break


MANUEL FERNÁNDEZ ESQUINASSenior Researcher at the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) at the Institute for Advanced Social Studies (IESA). He has a doctorate in Political Science from the Complutense University of Madrid. He has worked and undertaken research visits at universities in the UK (London South Bank University), Australia (Western Sydney University, University of Wollongong) and the USA (Indiana University, University of New Mexico). He was director of the Technical Unit of Applied Studies at IESA, where he undertook several applied sociology studies on social problems, public opinion, and public policy assessment and analysis. He has also worked as an adviser and consultant for the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation, international organisations such as the OECD, APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) and regional governments. He is one of the Spanish delegates to the OECD Committee on Science and Technology Policy. In recent years, his work has focused on the training of researchers, the evaluation of science and science policy-making. He is particularly interested in the practical application of sociology and social sciences in general. He has also conducted studies on the relationship between business and universities, business start-ups and the impact of knowledge transfer on innovation. He is also involved in projects investigating the socio-economic impact of RDI and the creation of social structures that facilitate innovation. He has been president of the Spanish Federation of Sociology (FES) and is currently editor of the Revista Española de Sociología.

Exploring The Power of Institutions in Innovation Systems: A Comparative Approach on ‘Institutional Quality’

Institutional quality is defined as a set of social relations, ideological practices, and organizational configurations present in major organizational fields of a given society. They intervene in the real functioning of institutions, in the adequacy to their formal goals, and in their outcomes. This lecture presents the preliminary results of a three-year project about the role of institutional arrangements in the organization, orientation, and outcomes of an innovation system. The results reflect how societal aspects of institutional quality affect modes of knowledge production of an innovation system at large. In particular, meritocracy, absence of particularistic networks and proactivity are the main determinants for institutional adequacy and for the contributions to relevant types of knowledge. Examples from the project will be used to discuss with participants the importance of considering institutions in the analysis of innovation systems and the challenges for studying empirically institutional dimensions.

HENRIQUE LEONEL GOMESAssociate Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Coimbra University, Coimbra, Portugal. He heads the Organic Electronics and Bioelectronics research group. His research interests have been directed towards the electrical characterisation of electronic devices such as field effect transistors, diodes, and capacitor structures. Since 2000, his research activities have expanded to encompass the interaction between electronic devices and living cells to develop biosensors and bioelectronic devices.

Sustainable Organic Bioelectronics

Electronic devices equipped with communication and artificial intelligence will monitor the environment, agriculture, our houses, and our bodies. For example, the textiles in our T-shirts will incorporate many biosensors and their associated circuitry that will be almost impossible to recover. Thus, new materials and fabrication technologies are required for this mass-scale production of electronic products. In this perspective, organic-based electronics incorporated into biodegradable scaffolds can provide a solution for sustainable electronics and bioelectronics. This course discusses how organic materials, and their fabrication technologies are crucial in enabling low-cost industrial production of biodegradable and biocompatible electronics.

MANUELA MOREIRA DA SILVAProfessor at the Institute of Engineering at the University of Algarve and Researcher at the Center for Marine and Environmental Research (CIMA). Biologist, master’s in applied Ecology, PhD in Environmental Sciences and Technology from the University of Porto. Currently Director of the Master's Degree in Urban Water Cycle; Expert of the National Agency for the Assessment of Higher Education (A3ES); Responsible for the Disciplinary Group of Hydraulics, Water Resources and Environment of the Department of Civil Engineering; Member of UAlg in the UNESCO Chair in Ecohydrology – Water for Ecosystems and Societies; Director Researcher at CEiiA at in COLAB Smart and Sustainable Living. Deputy director of the International Center for Coastal Ecohydrology (ICCE-UNESCO). President of the Technical-Scientific Council of the ISE-UAlg (from 2015 to 2019). Created the UAlg Sanitary Engineering Laboratory, the 1st accredited laboratory for water testing in the region. Her recent research regards adapting cities to climate change, water management and carbon neutrality, implementation of alternative water sources (reuse of treated wastewater and desalination), and basic solutions in Nature for carbon sequestration. She develops, in partnership with regional stakeholders, numerous R&D actions to support the community.

Challenges for a Smart and Sustainable Water Management: The Role of Technological and Social Innovations

The current consumption patterns and demand for natural resources for all human activities are beyond what is sustainable, causing serious damage to the Earth and human health, namely related to the increase in the atmospheric concentration of different greenhouse gases. The increasing pressure on natural water resources for all human activities, threats habitats and biodiversity, particularly in more vulnerable regions such as the Mediterranean. Water scarcity is increasingly severe and local alternative sources of water are necessary to supply all needs, including human consumption, agriculture, tourism, and industry, but reducing the pressure on aquatic ecosystem. Innovative technological solutions are a priority to promote the use of alternative water sources, and to improve efficiency in its different uses, reducing losses and avoiding water waste. Simultaneously, social innovation is necessary for sustainable and smarter water management, involving all citizens and especially young people, who will be the drivers of the planet’s future.

DEBORAH M POWERProfessor of Biotechnology at the Universidade do Algarve, coordinator of the Aquaculture and Biotechnology group of CCMAR - Marine Science Research Centre, Portugal. Prof. Power´s research area is comparative endocrinology and integrative biology of fish and mollusks. Professor Power has been involved in studies of science policy and has actively worked to develop better university-industry linkages, through development of service platforms offering high quality research services. She is the Portuguese representative of the committee of nodes of the European Marine Biological Resource Centre’s (EMBRC) and leads the Bioprospecting working group. Debora Power was awarded a merit professorship for women by the University of Gothenburg, Sweden (2011-2012) and was recently recognized with an Honorary Doctorate for her contribution to fish aquaculture by the same institution. She was appointed in 2015 as a distinguished researcher by Athlone Institute of Technology, Ireland. In 2015, she became a Shanghai Oversea expert. Prof. Power was recently honoured by the election as a Corresponding Member of Real Acadèmia de Ciències i Arts de Barcelona. Vice chair annually since 2012 for the evaluation of the European Union’s Marie Curie actions (MSCA), serves on many domestic and international grant review panels. She is an active and visible member of the international Scientific community and is an Editor-in-Chief of General and Comparative Endocrinology, the premier journal in the field.

Safeguarding Healthy Oceans by Developing an Ethical Screening Toolbox for Plastic contamination

Global plastic production is still increasing exponentially despite current legislation, and the emphasis on the development of alternatives to petroleum-based plastics. Large fragments of discarded plastics create floating artificial reefs, new ecosystems that are degrading planetary health. The effects of tiny plastic particle (micro to nano scale) not visible to the naked eye, but pervasive in marine and terrestrial environments is less clear. Responding directly to this challenge a reliable in vitro screening approach was developed using cells, instead of animals to establish ethical and rapid screening tools to assess the likely effects of plastic particles in the environment. The integration of biosensors to measure the electrophysiological response of cells in the in vitro assays is contributing to speed-up screening and bringing insight into the likely biological consequences of micro/nanoplastic exposure.

Acknowledgements:  Co-workers, Rute Felix, Maoxiao Peng and AVMC Canário. This study received Portuguese national funds from FCT - Foundation for Science and Technology and Macao Science and Technology Development Fund (FDCT) FDCT0004/2019/AP. FCT also contributed through the projects UIDB/04326/2021, 2022 and 2023 and LA/P/0101/2020 and from the operational programs CRESC Algarve 2020 and COMPETE 2020 through the project EMBRC.PT ALG-01-0145-FEDER-022121.

MANUEL LARANJA | Graduated in Engineering from the Higher Institute of Technology IST – Universidade de Lisboa, has an MBA degree from the Warwick University - UK and a DPhil on Innovation Policies from SPRU-Science Policy Research Unit at the University of Sussex - UK. He was Director of the National Innovation Agency Portugal and worked for more than 10 years as an advisor at the Prime Minister’s Office, at the Ministry of Economy and at the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Regional Coordination Commission, in issues relating to the Technological Plan and Innovation Policy. He is Associate Professor for Management and Policies of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at ISEG – Lisbon School of Economics and Management, Universidade de Lisboa where he teaches Industrial Strategy, Innovation Policies and coordinates a master’s on Management and Industrial Strategy. Published several articles in referenced journals and regularly collaborates with DG Regio and EU/JRC. His main scientific interests are on Deep Transformative Societal change through Innovation and Entrepreneurial Discovery as well as on Innovation Policies at regional and national to promote such transformative changes.

Transformative Innovation Policy and Discovery processes

Confronted with the consequences of global climate change and a health crisis (IPCC, 2023; IPBES, 2019) and with new geopolitical challenges, the European Union is adopting new strategies for industrial and innovation policy, which are oriented towards resilience and new social and ecological sustainability challenges. These new strategies need, however, to be different from the Smart Specialisation Strategies – S3 introduced in 2012. While they are also formulated and implemented through collective thinking and discovery processes their focus is now, not just on transformation of industrial ecosystems and value chains but need to go further and consider “socio-technical” regime changes.

In the session we will introduce and revise the concepts of mission and transformative innovation policies, as well as the concepts and existing cases of Entrepreneurial Discovery, and more recently Open Discovery, implementation. The objective of the session of to learn the concepts and contrast from actual cases of implementation of effective discovery processes that support mission and transformative innovation policy.

ANDRÉ PACHECOPhysical oceanographer specialized on collecting, processing of coastal oceanographic data. His PhD thesis was focused on measuring hydrodynamics and sediment transport at tidal inlets. Today, although continuing to research on coastal dynamics, his current research topics are more focused on marine renewable energies and sustainable island’ communities, as response to adaptation and mitigation planning to climate change. Since 2019, he is coordinating the Culatra 2030 – Sustainable Energy Community, one of the six-pilot initiatives for island transition supported by the European Commission. The initiative is conceived as a living lab for sustainability, through which the island will become the first Portuguese community that is fully sustainable (e.g. energy production/distribution through a decentralized market, water production and storage, waste valorisation through new circular economy models and net-zero transportation).

Culatra2030: A Sustainable Energy Community

In 2019 a participatory process was put in place at Culatra Island supported by the Clean Energy for EU Islands, a programme framed within the European Commission initiatives of the “Clean Energy for All Europeans”. The initiative today known as “Culatra 2030 - Sustainable Energy Community” is a ‘living lab’ for the green transition and is focusing on the specific needs of the island and capitalising on its assets. The initiative has an all-encompassing strategy covering multiple aspects of green transition including social issues such as energy poverty. The community is succeeding in tailoring new technological solutions according to the specific needs of the island, as expressed by islanders themselves. To date, interventions have included installing solar panels and lithium storage batteries, as well as developing a solar-powered boat to make aquiculture farming zero carbon. On January 2023, Culatra received the status of pilot project on REC by the Portuguese Energy Regulator (ERSE) which will be able to test, in 25 houses of Culatra Village, different energy sharing models in collaboration with the Distributor System Operator (DSO), E-REDES.

HUGO PINTOEconomist. Currently Professor of Regional and Urban Economics in the Faculty of Economics, University of Algarve. Collaborator researcher at CES (permanent between 2016-2022). Member of CinTurs - Research Centre for Tourism, Sustainability and Well-being. Since 2003, project manager in several R&D institutions in Portugal (BIC Algarve-Huelva, University of Algarve, CCMAR, University of Aveiro). In 2010, Hugo Pinto was visiting scholar at Institute of Advanced Social Studies of CSIC (Cordoba, Spain). He was involved in the design and evaluation of several innovation policy and instruments. He participates regularly on expert groups about smart specialisation in European Commission and other national and international entities. He was co-coordinator of NECES - Research Group in Science, Economy, and Society at CES between 2018 and 2022.

Transformation and path development: a political economy perspective for tourism

Tourist regions were particularly vulnerable to the socio-economic consequences of the pandemic. Restricted mobility has led to recession and severe job loss in the tourism sector. Many tourist regions with limited economic diversification are overly dependent on this sector as their main economic driver. Before the pandemic, many destinations were already facing the negative effects of overtourism. By causing a temporary reduction in tourism, the pandemic has made it possible to reflect on these issues and consider the need for more sustainable practices for the future. This has led to a growing debate on tourism and possible alternatives in the sector. This communication, based on the case study of the Algarve (Portugal), a sun and sand destination and one of the most tourism-intensive regions in the European Union, highlights the vulnerability of tourism regions to external shocks and internal sustainability challenges, such as water governance or the need to degrowth. Using a political economy perspective, it presents regenerative tourism as a potentially useful concept for path development. By focusing on a symbiotic relationship between a wide range of stakeholders, tourists, the industry and the destination, regenerative tourism can contribute to regional transformative resilience.

CARLA NOGUEIRAPhD in Sociology, is an integral member of CinTurs - Centre for Research in Tourism, Sustainability and Well-being. Her research interests focus on regional development, sustainable development, sustainable transitions and social innovation. Her varied career spans research and S&T management. With numerous publications and contributions, Carla is also an Invited Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Economics of the University of the Algarve.

Social Innovation and Sustainable Transitions in Intentional Sustainable Communities: An Analysis of Different Local Experiences

Environmental problems and the need for social changes that could lead to a transition to more sustainable development models have been the subject of discussion and reflection. The cross-cutting nature of these challenges implies the involvement of different actors. Micro-based (or grassroots) initiatives have been analysed as relevant to this discussion.  This Communication starts from the idea that Intentional Sustainable Communities (ISCs) can act as laboratories of social innovation to promote sustainable transitions. To this end, it presents four case studies of European ISCs, analyses their innovative practices and compares the different existing representations of innovation and sustainability. The central premise is to reflect on the role that ISCs can play in building more sustainable social, economic and environmental models to address contemporary challenges such as climate change.

HUGO BARROS | Head of Department and Operational Manager at CRIA (DETT) - Division for Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer in the University of Algarve. In charge of the incubation area, Hugo provides the necessary support to the entrepreneurs and companies that want to set up in UALG TECH START. Hugo is also responsible for the initial contact with entrepreneurs, the support of the business plan, the definition of a business model, the identification of funding opportunities and the contact with potential investors. He participates in numerous international cooperation projects in this field, representing the University. He has been a member of CRIA since its creation in 2005 and its coordinator since 2011. In 2010, Hugo completed a Tech transfer internship with UTEN (University Technology Entreprise Network), in Portugal and in external organisations (University of Texas - USA, Carnegie Mellon University - USA and Cambridge University - UK). Hugo Barros is an economist, postgraduate in Economics of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. He is currently developing a doctoral thesis related to academic entrepreneurship.

Innovation for regional transformation in the Algarve

In 2004, the Centre for Regional Innovation of the Algarve (CRIA) was created as part of an ERDF Innovative Actions project to initiate a series of efforts to strengthen university-industry relations. Since then, CRIA has consolidated its role as a strategic player in the regional innovation ecosystem, coordinating and implementing the activities of the Extension Strategy and Third mission of the University of Algarve. This long-term effort has been aimed at valorising the scientific knowledge and technical competences generated within the University, as well as attracting and retaining talent, investment and companies, thus improving the regional economy. This brief visit presents CRIA and the recently created Algarve Tech Hub as a collaborative regional effort, involving a variety of regional stakeholders, to drive innovation and structural change and transformation in the Algarve.

RITA CAMPOSPhD in Biology and researcher in Science Communication and Science Education at the Centre for Social Studies of the University of Coimbra (CES). Member of the Observatory of Education and Training Policies (OP. Edu), and co-coordinator of the CES Working Group on Citizen Science and Education (CC. Edu). Interested in the study and production of science communication tools, active learning, interdisciplinary approaches, and methodologies that enhance public involvement with and in science (citizen science).

The collective word cloud of sustainable transformation 

In this hands-on session, we will engage in an individual and collective reflection on sustainable transformation and the role of biotechnological development and innovation in this process. The results of this session will be a living product that will accompany the school’s different working sessions, receiving new contributions, facilitating discussions, and helping to share knowledge and expectations.

FILIPE SANTOS | Has a Ph.D. in Sociology and a member of the Research Line Risk(s), Ecologies, Health. His research interests are focused on the intersections between criminal justice and forensic science, privileging theoretical approaches from the science, technology, and society studies. Filipe’s latest publications include the book “Do Meia Culpa a Madeleine McCann. Casos mediáticos e genética forense em Portugal" (2021) and "Crime in a prison cell: Epistemic cultures and institutional neutrality in an inquisitorial setting" (2023). His current research project (CLINIC) focuses on the execution of security measures by mentally disordered offenders in Portugal.

Meanings and understandings about the potential risks and opportunities of monitoring bodies and ecologies

Biosensor technologies have been developed since the 1960’s and have made several advances in miniaturisation, integration, sensitivity, and multiplexing. The main drivers in the development of technology are compounded by market forces, industrial requirements, and market demand.

In a series of interviews with leading actors in the design and production of biosensors, we explore emerging themes and dimensions of technology-in-the-making. What sort of political, ideological, and economic processes influence the creation of technology? To what extent is the democratization of knowledge a feature in technology design? Is future sustainability considered in the decision-making?

Overall, we have found aspects of focus on the segmentation of knowledge. Put simply, technology developers are driven by pragmatic imperatives that surround their own tasks. Thus, their voiced concerns are focused on lab achievements, particularly in terms of time and efficiency of the processes implied in technology development. The social and political dimensions of technology applications appear detached from the processes of making it.

Acknowledgements:  Co-workers, Joana Vaz Sousa and Gustavo Garcia.

BERNARDO VALENTEPhD candidate in Political Science, with research interests related to innovation policy for sustainable practices, public participation in environmental decision-making and the ecological impacts of the European Cohesion Policy. He is also a Junior Researcher at the Centre for Social Studies in Coimbra, where he develops his research on the EU-funded Horizon project BioAssembler. He got a master’s degree in political science from the University of Copenhagen and has held research and taught classes in various Portuguese universities and research centres.

Scientific Partnerships and Knowledge Transfer for Biosensors’ Sustainable Innovation

Biosensors have become indispensable devices in our daily lives, from wearable devices to smartphones that citizens carry in their pockets. The BioAssembler project has sought sustainable solutions to build multiplex biosensors through DNA recombinant technology. The project's research until now shows that scientific and enterprise partnerships have been fundamental to the development of innovation research on biosensors and the technological transformation associated with it. This session aims to map scientific and enterprise partnerships, produce new literature and patents on biosensor technology, and unravel the knowledge transfer mechanisms between universities and the private sector. By attending this session, the participants will get an overview framework of interdisciplinary synergies between activity sectors, allowing them to build a comprehensive map of partnerships in biosensors’ sustainable innovation.


Applicants must submit the application form attaching a short bio (1 page) and a motivation letter (max. 800 words), and an extended abstract (max. 2000 words), in pdf or word. The motivation letter should explain the reasons to participate in the School and how you hope to integrate the shared knowledge and experience in your work.

The documents with the short bio, the motivation letter and the extended abstract should be named CES_SS_Bio_your last name_your first name, CES_SS_letter_your last name_your first name and CES_SS_abstract_your last name_your first name, respectively.


Registration Fees

Early Bird (by June 15, 2024): 70 euros
Regular rate (by July 1, 2024): 100 euros
Reduced rates for CES or UAlg doctoral students (up to 6 participants; by June 15, 2024): 30 euros
Reduced rates for other doctoral students (up to 9 participants; by June 15, 2024): 50 euros
Scholarship for PhD students from low or lower to middle income countries (up to 2 participants): 0 euros

Important Notes
- Registrations are only considered valid after payment.
- Fees cover seminars, workshops, keynotes, reading materials, coffee breaks, and the Summer School’s dinner.
- For cancellations up to June 1 an administrative fee of 25€ will be charged; there will be no refunds for cancellations after this date. 

Overview Programme Speakers Applications Registration