With the flags at half-mast INL joined the Portuguese scientific community and observed a minute of silence in memory of Mariano Gago. The former minister of Science passed away April 17th.
Mariano Gago played a significant, indeed an essential role in the setting up of INL, driving the project forward with much determination and strength.
He led this political project but he also had an important role in defining the scientific programme in order to make INL internationally competitive.
Mariano Gago fostered research that is now increasingly carried out in a framework of international cooperation, as an opportunity for Portugal to develop new products and provide new types of knowledge-intensive services.
He graduated as an electrical engineer from the Technical University of Lisbon’s Instituto Superior Técnico and did advanced research work in Paris at the École Polytechnique as a high-energy physicist. When Professor of Physics at Instituto Superior Técnico in Lisbon, he worked at CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) in Geneva for several years. He was a member of the CERN Council (1985–1990), the EC Joint Research Centre Board of Governors (1986–1989), President of the Portuguese National Board for Science and Technology (1986–1989), and was chair of the European EUREKA initiative from July 1997 to June 1998. Prof. Gago was the Minister for Science and Technology of Portugal from 1995 to 2002 and again from 2005-2011, and represented Portugal at the Council of Ministers for Research and Development of the European Union. He was also responsible for the coordination of the Portuguese policy on Information Society, and for the promotion of science education and scientific culture.
Throughout his career, Prof. Gago emphasized the link between teaching and research. He was a founder of the Ciência Viva programme (since 1996), which on behalf of the Ministry of Science and Technology, aims to promote scientific and technological culture in Portugal. “My generation’s legacy will be that research and technology made great progress in being more accessible and understandable to the public. The present development of technical advancement would have been unthinkable if we were unable to rely on the basic technical knowledge of the average citizen”, Mariano Gago said.