The award-winning research topics were: analysis of two contemporary writers; the relationship between companies and shareholders focusing on innovation and improving performance; and bio-refineries using micro-algae.

Doctoral thesis were presented in Portugal, at the universities of Coimbra, Aveiro and Porto, and Brazil, at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

Lisbon, 26 October 2020. PRESS RELEASE
Ana Rita Sousa, Ricardo Zimmermann and Monique Vieira were awarded the Mário Quartin Graça Scientific Awards, a partnership between Banco Santander and Casa da América Latina, which this year were being awarded for the eleventh time.

Ana Rita Sousa, who is a Portuguese national, won the Social Sciences and Humanities category with her thesis on "The mechanics of a person: landscape, writing, authorship", presented at Coimbra University. The jury highlighted her ground-breaking study of two contemporary writers: the Portuguese author María Gabriela Llansol and the Chilean Roberto Bolaño. Her thesis focuses on the diverse textual strategies used by these writers in their work and, in particular, in the creation of their characters.

Ricardo Zimmermann, from Brazil, won the Economics and Business Studies category with his thesis "Supply chain innovation and management: strategies, capabilities and the effect of alignment on company performance", which he wrote at Aveiro University. The jury found this work to be particularly innovative. It demonstrated differences in the application and the results of the adoption of management strategies, and confirmed the impact that innovative capacity can have on business performance and the moderating effect of management strategies in the supply chain.

Monique Vieira, also from Brazil, won the Technology and Natural Sciences award for her thesis "Quantitative analysis of sustainability for the third generation of biofuels, using process data from a micro-algae bio-refinery", which she wrote at Porto University and the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (COPRE). The aim of this study was to analyse the biochemical composition and technical and economic viability of pilot-scale outdoor bio-refining in Chile's environmental conditions, for the production of biofuels and high-value compounds.

These were the 11th Mário Quartin Graça Scientific Awards. These awards have always fostered the merit of doctoral theses, particularly those of interest to universities in Portugal and Latin America, or which involve collaboration between universities on both sides of the Atlantic.

To date, 33 awards have been presented, with 723 applications, mainly from Portugal and Brazil. More than 85 theses were considered this year.

The winner of each category received €3,000. The jury comprised Arlindo Oliveira; João Proença, professor in Economics at Porto University; Pedro Cardim, professor in Social Sciences and Humanities at Lisbon's NOVA University; João Paulo Velez, head of Communication and Corporate Marketing at Santander Portugal; and Manuela Júdice, General Secretary of Casa da América Latina.

This initiative reflects Santander's support for education and knowledge. Its objective is to foster the development of Latin American and Portuguese students in areas of mutual interest for Portugal and Latin America.

Banco Santander and its support of higher education
Banco Santander is firmly committed to progress and inclusive, sustainable growth, with a long-standing dedication to higher education that sets it apart from the world's other financial institutions. With more than €1,800 million invested in academic initiatives since 2002 through Santander Universities and over 430,000 university scholarships and grants awarded since 2005, it has been recognised as the company that invests the most in education worldwide (Varkey/UNESCO, Fortune 500 Report), with agreements in place with 1,000 universities and institutions in 22 countries.