CITE - Indexed Articles in Journals

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    The role of a Proof of Concept Center in a university ecosystem: an exploratory study
    ( 2013) Catarina Maia ; João Claro
    The Proof of Concept phase in university technology transfer is considered to be critical for the success of both licensing and the creation of spin-off companies. In the United States, Proof of Concept Centers are emerging as successful structures to address the challenges of this phase. In this paper, we present a framework to assess the role for such a structure in a university ecosystem. The framework is built from previous references that we use to explicitly link the features of Proof of Concept Centers with the challenges of the Proof of Concept phase, and establish their specific contributions to the overall technology commercialization efforts of a university. We illustrate the application of this framework in a case study of the University of Coimbra, in Portugal, and develop a characterization that is representative of the role that a Proof of Concept Center can play in comparable university ecosystems that feature conventional technology commercialization structures, and struggle with the challenges of the Proof of Concept phase. Our study suggests that there is in fact a possible role for a Proof of Concept Center in the regional ecosystem of the University of Coimbra, with a potentially very relevant impact in the technology commercialization process, through networking outside academia and research environments, funding of Proof of Concept activities, and technology entrepreneurship education for the development of entrepreneurial skills for researchers.
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    Forest fire management to avoid unintended consequences: A case study of Portugal using system dynamics
    ( 2013) Collins,RD ; de Neufville,R ; João Claro ; Oliveira,T ; Abilio Pereira Pacheco
    Forest fires are a serious management challenge in many regions, complicating the appropriate allocation to suppression and prevention efforts. Using a System Dynamics (SD) model, this paper explores how interactions between physical and political systems in forest fire management impact the effectiveness of different allocations. A core issue is that apparently sound management can have unintended consequences. An instinctive management response to periods of worsening fire severity is to increase fire suppression capacity, an approach with immediate appeal as it directly treats the symptom of devastating fires and appeases the public. However, the SD analysis indicates that a policy emphasizing suppression can degrade the long-run effectiveness of forest fire management. By crowding out efforts to preventative fuel removal, it exacerbates fuel loads and leads to greater fires, which further balloon suppression budgets. The business management literature refers to this problem as the firefighting trap, wherein focus on fixing problems diverts attention from preventing them, and thus leads to inferior outcomes. The paper illustrates these phenomena through a case study of Portugal, showing that a balanced approach to suppression and prevention efforts can mitigate the self-reinforcing consequences of this trap, and better manage long-term fire damages. These insights can help policymakers and fire managers better appreciate the interconnected systems in which their authorities reside and the dynamics that may undermine seemingly rational management decisions.
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    Simulation analysis of the impact of ignitions, rekindles, and false alarms on forest fire suppression
    ( 2014) Abilio Pereira Pacheco ; João Claro ; Oliveira,T
    Rekindles and false alarms are phenomena that have a significant presence in the Portuguese forest fire management system and an important impact on suppression resources in particular and fire management resources in general. In this paper, we propose a discrete-event simulation model of a forest fire suppression system designed to analyze the joint impact of ignitions, rekindles, and false alarms on the performance of the system. The model is applied to a case study of the district of Porto, Portugal, for the critical period of the forest fire season, between July and September 2010. We study the behavior of the system's point of collapse, comparing the real base scenario with a benchmark scenario built with reference values for rekindles and false alarms, and also as a function of the number of fire incidents, considering historical variations. The results of the analysis are useful for operational decision-making and provide relevant information on the trade-off between prevention and suppression efforts.
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    The role of fire-suppression force in limiting the spread of extremely large forest fires in Portugal
    ( 2016) Fernandes,PM ; Abilio Pereira Pacheco ; Almeida,R ; João Claro
    Large forest fires are notorious for their environmental and socio-economic impacts and are assigned a disproportionately high percentage of the fire management budget. This study addresses extremely large fires (ELF, C2500 ha) in Portugal (2003-2013). We analysed the effect of fire-suppression force variation on ELF duration, size and growth rate, versus the effect of the concomitant fire environment (namely fuel and weather) conditions. ELF occurred in highly flammable landscapes and typically were impelled by extreme fire weather conditions. Allocation of suppression resources (normalized per unit of burned area or perimeter length) was disparate among fires, suggesting inadequate incident management. Fire-suppression effort did not affect time to containment modelled by survival analysis. Regression tree analysis indicated ELF spread to be negatively affected by higher fire-suppression resourcing, less severe fire weather, lower time to containment and higher presence of <9-year-old fuels, by decreasing order of importance; regional variability was relevant. Fire environment-to-fire suppression ratios of influence were 3: 1 for fire size and 1: 1 for fire growth rate, respectively, explaining 76 and 60 % of the existing variability. Results highlight the opportunistic nature of large-fire containment. To minimize the area burned by ELF, management and operational improvements leading to faster containment are recommended, rather than higher fire-suppression resourcing; more effective identification and exploration of containment opportunities are preferable to the accumulation of suppression resources.
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    Cohesive fire management within an uncertain environment: A review of risk handling and decision support systems
    ( 2015) Abilio Pereira Pacheco ; João Claro ; Fernandes,PM ; de Neufville,R ; Oliveira,TM ; Borges,JG ; José Coelho Rodrigues
    Wildfire management has been struggling in recent years with escalating devastation, expenditures, and complexity. Given the copious factors involved and the complexity of their interactions, uncertainty in the outcomes is a prominent feature of wildfire management strategies, at both policy and operational levels. Improvements in risk handling and in risk-based decision support tools have therefore a key role in addressing these challenges. In this paper, we review key systems created to support wildfire management decision-making at different levels and scales, and describe their evolution from an initial focus on landscape-level fire growth simulation and burn probability assessment, to the incorporation of exposure and economic loss potential (allowing the translation of ignition likelihood, fire environment terrain, fuels, and weather and suppression efficacy into potential fire effects), the integration with forest management and planning, and more recently, to developments in the assessment of values at risk, including real-time assessment. This evolution is linked to a progressive widening of the scope of usage of these systems, from an initial more limited application to risk assessment, to the subsequent inclusion of functionality enabling their Utilization in the context of risk management, and more recently, to their explicit casting in the broader societal context of risks and decisions, from a risk governance perspective. This joint evolution can be seen as the result of a simultaneous pull from methodological progresses in risk handling, and push from technological progress in wildfire management decision support tool, as well as more broadly in computational power. We identify the key benefits and challenges in the development and adoption of these systems, as well as future plausible research trends.