News nr. 31 | January 2013
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Interview - Professor João Ferreira, Coordinator GAPIC
Interview - Professor João Ferreira, Coordinator GAPIC

Sónia Barroso
Editorial Team 

The Editorial Team of news@fmul interviewed Professor João Ferreira, Coordinator of GAPIC under the 2013 Research Day Event

Why have a Research Day?
The main goal was to give students a global and integrated overview of the possibilities and perspectives of the practice of scientific research at FMUL/IMM, at an early stage – undergraduate – of their medical training. In particular, to make them aware how that practice can be structuring for the training of future physicians, particularly those who wish to exercise clinical activity as a predominant or exclusive activity.

This first Research Day was marked by a tribute to Professor David Ferreira: what was to be remembered? 
At GAPIC we value the role of history as a companion of the present. Those who are not aware of their history do not know who they are, and those who do not know who they are cannot have a perception of the future. Therefore, it is about this future that we refer to when we pay tribute to David-Ferreira, our master and founder of GAPIC. His tutelary and exemplary figure is alive. We will not do the same, but we shall continue his work. 

How did the presentations of the research projects conducted by students as part of the Programme “Education through Science” go?
They were extremely professional, indistinguishable from those made by postgraduate students, both in terms of capacity to develop concepts and in the form they did it, which makes us very happy and motivated to go even further...

What was the purpose of the session “How do I question myself?” 
It was to try to answer legitimate and frequent questions posed by students: how do questions arise? What do I need to know to be able to ask a good question? Am I able to ask a good scientific question? 

In this session it became clear that the quality of the scientific question is the focus of a research programme, that there are different modes and styles when interrogating nature and that often the best questions are simple ones. I believe that the session contributed to the demystification of this topic, especially among those who wish to become clinical practitioners. The participation of Isabel Pavão, Maria Mota and Luis Costa in this session was undoubtedly the highlight on Research Day. 

How important is visiting the research units? 
It is the opportunity to see in loco how research is carried out and how people behave when they talk about their experiences, when they are in “interrogative mode”.

What was the main message you wanted to convey in the lecture “Body and Machine”?

To bring to the fore an old but pertinently current vision – that the conception of man as a machine, extendable to a mechanistic view of the full potential of his activities, is in no way incompatible with a (much needed) culture of humanistic values. This Epicurean view of man and of the world, refined by Democritus and praised by Lucretius in his De rerum natura, has taken now a new role when medicine is impregnated with technology and the machine is often the extension of man. The question that was left hanging in the air, obviously without pretending to have a definite answer, is that the concept man-machine is dehumanizing; perhaps not; maybe it is the opposite...
This optimistic message was conveyed to us by Porfírio Silva, philosopher, whom we thank for his excellent contribution.

Will this initiative be repeated in future? If yes, what can we expect in the next edition?
This initiative will surely be continued, on public demand, given the results of the evaluation made by the participants. The next edition will be further enriched by the participation of students with Gulbenkian Foundation scholarships, and will have a series of additional activities that are at the planning stage. As with the 2012 edition, GAPIC is counting on the very competent and committed involvement of the AEFML and of the administrative infrastructures of FMUL to ensure the success of this event in 2013.


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Prof. Doutor J. Fernandes e Fernandes
Editorial Commitee: Prof. Doutor J. Fernandes e Fernandes, Prof. Doutor Alexandre Ribeiro, Prof. Doutor António Vaz Carneiro, Prof. Doutor João Ferreira, Dr. Luis Pereira
Information Officer: Ana Raquel Moreira
Editorial Team: Ana Maria Silva, Ana Raquel Moreira, André Silva, Lara Ponte, Miguel Andrade, Rui Gomes, Sónia Barroso, Susana Henriques, Tânia Simões
Collaboration: Communication and Image Office - Ana Isabel Gonçalves da Silva, Bruno Moura
Design and Technical Support: UTI 
Design and development: Spirituc