UT Austin Portugal Program launches podcast to bridge gap between science, business

Kaushiki Roy

The UT Austin Portugal Program launched its first podcast on March 31 to help raise awareness about the connections between science and business. 

Cross Talks, a monthly podcast, focuses on scientific research on topics such as advanced computing, space-earth interactions, medical physics and nanotechnologies and how they apply to business. The UT Austin Portugal Program promotes the advancement of high-level education, research and commercialization activities, said Andreia Passos, executive director of the program in Portugal.

“People need to know how the money governments are putting into science and into bridging the gap between academia and businesses leads up to groundbreaking solutions for major challenges that are cross-border,” Passos said.

Marco Bravo, co-principal investigator and executive director of the program in Austin, said the podcast was started to increase the ways that the program communicates its research developments with the public.

“There’s been a rising interest in (STEM) podcasts, and we decided to adventure ourselves in this too,” Bravo said. “You can say it is our own ‘intrapreneurial’ project.”

The first podcast covered the impacts of advanced computing on day-to-day life. Passos and Bravo discussed computing’s role in anticipating natural hazards, monitoring the effects of climate change and strengthening national security. 

Cross Talks’ second episode should air at the end of April or beginning of May, Bravo said.  

Passos said they plan to cover 11 interdisciplinary projects throughout the podcast, using different lenses such as business and society. Passos said this will highlight how transatlantic corporations play a role in solving day-to-day problems in society. 

Currently, the team does not know how many people the podcast has reached. However, Bravo said they anticipate people from outside the science field will enjoy the podcast because much of the scientific jargon will be broken down into more palatable words and phrases. 

Passos said she hopes to bridge the gap between business and innovation through the podcast. They also want to reach a wider audience who may not be scientifically inclined, but are interested in learning about the connection between business and science, Bravo said. 

“Podcasts allow multitasking and time-saving — two features that are very important in times of overflowing mail inboxes and endless Zoom meetings,” Passos said. “You can learn new interesting things (and) catch up on the news without having to spend more time in front of your computer. This is extremely liberating.”