5th edition of Forward Research & Innovation Summit focuses on space
The fifth edition of the Forward Research and Innovation Summit, presented by the Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust, returns on Nov. 30.
The event will take place at the Caribe Hilton in San Juan and will gather experts, researchers, entrepreneurs and decision-makers to discuss the intersection of the space sector with other fields, such as biotechnology, health, the environment, economy, entrepreneurship, education, technology and research.
Since 2016, the annual event has provided a platform for participants to engage with professionals and experts from various industries, including agriculture, biotechnology, renewable energy, engineering, cybersecurity, medicine and public health.
Through events like this, the Research Grants Program, supported by the Science Trust, paves the way for impactful discoveries and fosters the growth of science and technology in Puerto Rico and beyond, the entity stated.
“Recently, the Trust was designated by the U.S. government as one of the 31 technology centers aimed at promoting innovation and job creation. This event undeniably celebrates our mission to establish Puerto Rico as a hub of innovation, empowering our scientists, researchers and innovators to unlock their potential and actively participate in the global scientific and technological community,” said Lucy Crespo, the Trust’s chief executive officer.
This year, the summit boasts a comprehensive agenda, featuring renowned speakers including Puerto Rican astronaut and chief of the Astronaut Office, Joseph Acaba; Machelle Sanders, secretary of Commerce of North Carolina; Richard DalBello, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of Space Commerce; Quincy Brown, director of Space STEM and Workforce Policy at the Office of the Vice President of the White House; and Wanda Díaz-Merced, an astrophysicist at the AstroParticle and Cosmology Laboratory at the Center for Scientific Research in Paris.
Other expert panelists and speakers include Yajaira Sierra-Sastre, a materials scientist at Blue Origin; Francisco Córdova, the chief operating officer of the International Space Station National Laboratory; the COO of the Space Foundation, Colorado Springs, Shelli Brunswick; the CEO of the MILO Space Institute in Phoenix; and the former director of NASA’s Glenn Research Center, Marla Pérez-Davis, among other panelists and speakers.
Locally, the event will feature researchers and leaders from several universities in Puerto Rico, such as Sheilla Torres, Gerardo Morell and Ingrid Padilla from the University of Puerto Rico. Representatives from Honeywell, Lockheed Martin, Pratt & Whitney, and Collins Aerospace will also participate, along with local government officials.. Meteorologist Ada Monzón will be among the speakers. Additionally, the event will include the participation of Engine4, PRatian, and the Caribbean Center for the Rising Seas.
Among the topics added to the conference are the significance of space as a platform for innovation, the impact of microgravity on bioscience, and space policies and regulations.
As in previous years, students, researchers and entrepreneurs have been invited to present their projects in a poster session. These submissions will be evaluated by an expert committee, and winners will be acknowledged. More than 100 posters will be on display at the event.
While the event primarily focuses on the intersection of space and science, presentations in any field related to science are welcome. Projects in aerospace technology and physical sciences, agricultural and environmental sciences, electronic and computer science, engineering and mathematics, communication and cybersecurity technologies, life sciences, medicine, public health, as well as other related sciences are encouraged, organizers said.
“Since 2016, we have been celebrating this event because we need to showcase the incredible talent and hard work of researchers on the island. It is the only local peer-reviewed mechanism that offers funding. Every event we celebrate, every grant one of our researchers receives, is a significant step in accelerating scientific activity in Puerto Rico and the world,” said Andreica Maldonado, director of the Research Grants Program.