STARLab, a Sino-Portuguese laboratory dedicated to the development of technology to monitor the oceans, has become part of the Chinese Belt and Road initiative.
According to China’s Ministry of Science and Technology, STARLab – properly called the Joint Space and Maritime Technology Laboratory – was awarded the distinction during a seminar with nearly 40 representatives from universities and scientific research institutions in China and Portugal.
STARLab is a joint project of the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology and the Academy for Innovation in Microsatellites of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (IAMCAS) and resulted from a scientific and technological cooperation agreement signed during the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Lisbon in 2018.
Zhang Yonghe, director of IAMCAS, said the laboratory is studying climate change, deep ocean currents and the health of marine ecosystems.
The laboratory has served as a platform for cooperation with universities and research institutions in Portugal, added the deputy principal director of IAMCAS, Lin Baojun.
The Portuguese minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education, Manuel Heitor, and his Chinese counterpart, Wang Zhigang, also held a video conference meeting.
Heitor called for a greater exchange of scientific students and researchers between Portugal and China.
Wang said that since 2018 there has been “substantial progress” in bilateral cooperation in areas such as climate change, sustainable development and protection of cultural heritage. Both ministers called for a strengthening of Macao’s role in scientific and technological cooperation between Portugal and China.
The STARLab hub in Portugal opened in Caldas da Rainha in July 2019, in a public-private partnership which on the Portuguese side included the aerospace company Tekever and CEiiA – Centre for Engineering and Product Development.
The project originally planned to launch the Portuguese microsatellite Infante into space to collect maritime and land surface data by the end of 2021, however it has since been postponed, CLBrief reported.