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Title: From the École de Ponts et Chaussées to Portuguese Railways: the transfer of technological knowledge and practices
Authors: Matos, Ana Cardoso de
Diogo, Maria Paula
Keywords: railways
École de ponts et chaussés
Technology transfer
Issue Date: 2006
Citation: “From the École de Ponts et Chaussées to Portuguese Railways: the transfer of technological knowledge and practices”, comunicação apresentada na II International Conference of the International Railway History Association – Railway Modernization: an historical perspective 19th and 20th centuries, que teve lugar no ISCTE, Lisboa, 27 - 29 de Novembro de 2006
Abstract: Despite frequent but minor changes concerning the curricula of the courses, civil engineering, continued to be considered during the 19th century as part of military training, having no autonomous status. Thus, public works kept being carried out by military engineers, who were part of the whole embracing “technical services”, which were in charge of «the defence of the country, civil works, roads, geological and other surveys, draining, improvement of ports and the supervision and management of arsenals.» However, this hybrid profile was increasingly inadequate to the country's needs. In the Portuguese modernization agenda, which was largely based on public works (in particular railways, roads, sanitation and hygiene, and ports), civil engineers embodied the idea of progress, thus playing a decisive role in the “new” Portugal. Although the choice of “buying” foreign scientific and technological knowledge in the European market-place had evident costs to Portugal, namely by delaying the implementation of national centres for developing expertise and skills, the role played by Portuguese engineers that went abroad to attend foreign schools was crucial to the modernization agenda of the 19th century. In a peripheral country such as Portugal the quest for knew and updated technological knowledge relied deeply on the efficiency of a network of formal and informal channels, which acted has vehicles for learning and spreading new skills, new machines and new expertise’s. Studying abroad was part of this overall strategy aiming to appropriate foreign knowledge and to adapt it to local needs and expectations.
Type: lecture
Appears in Collections:HIS - Comunicações - Em Congressos Científicos Internacionais
CIDEHUS - Comunicações - Em Congressos Científicos Internacionais

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