Knowledge and networking exchange

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Since 1999, members of the so-called SIG 33 (Special Interest Group on Transition Mechanisms, Prediction and Control) have organized a number of international meetings to discuss important issues related among others to aerospace research. SIG 33 is linked to ERCOFTAC, a European association that promotes joint efforts of research institutes and industries who are active in all aspects of Flow, Turbulence and Combustion.

The researchers interested in SIG 33 focus on understanding the transition from laminar to turbulent flow and ways to control it. This topic is of great importance for design of aircraft with lower aerodynamic drag, which results in reduced fuel consumption and lower pollution.

This year, after nearly two decades, the meeting was held for the first time outside Europe. The 13th ERCOFTAC SIG 33 workshop took place between March 6 and 8 in Paraty (RJ) and had about 40 participants from all over the world for a profound exchange of knowledge and networking.

Throughout the days, participants presented their research work (experimental, numerical and theoretical investigations), shared their ideas and discussed them with present colleagues. "We invite people who have published relevant works more consistently," explains André Cavalieri, one of the organizers of the event, professor at ITA (Aeronautics Institute of Technology). He recalls that it was an important opportunity for Brazilians to have contact with the most advanced international research in the area.

The choice of Brazil as the first non-European country to host a SIG 33 event happened thanks to CISB. The entity has been leading a program of collaboration between institutions in Brazil and Sweden since 2011, and one of its most significant contributions is the formation of a program of chairs at ITA led by Swedish researchers. Professor Dan Henningson of the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) has been holding one of these chairs for more than a year, strengthening the bond between KTH and ITA.

"This generated a close collaboration with the research groups of Professors Cavalieri and Flávio Silvestre of ITA and of the group formed by Professor Marcello Faraco de Medeiros of USP São Carlos with the Department of Mechanics at KTH", explains Ardeshir Hanifi, a KTH researcher and SIG 33 coordinator. Hanifi, who also is one of the event organizers, also reminds that ERCOFTAC aims to become international and Brazil is one of the countries that have already established a so-called Pilot Center, becoming an interesting target for this new stage. "We want to expand our collaboration with the country and we understand that organizing one of the workshops in the country would be a good step in that direction."

The meeting was also important to strengthen the bonds between the Brazilian researchers, since the research groups are very fragmented by universities scattered throughout the country. In fact, one of the goals in choosing an attractive and small place like Paraty as the venue for the meeting was precisely to increase the interaction among participants.

"We always choose small places to hold the event because they facilitate interaction between people," Hanifi explains. The scientific part of the meeting (presentations of works on the first and third days interspersed with a boat trip with all participants in the second) was designed precisely to facilitate networking.

Professor André Cavalieri (ITA) welcomes the positive feedback he has received and also praises another positive point of the conference. "Many graduate students presented their work and were able to interact with important international researchers. For those starting out, being able to quickly interact with key-players of the area makes everything easier, because keeping in touch with those who have already done similar work prevents the student from getting trapped during the development of their own, thus achieving faster advances", he says.