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"It is something very special to issue a doctoral diploma with the seal of Halmstad University. We have offered third-cycle education for many years, but until now we have been dependent on other higher-education institutions for the granting of degrees. In practice, the doctoral candidates have usually done all of their doctoral program at the University but the final examination has been done in the name of another institution," says Thorsteinn Rögnvaldsson, professor and chair of the Faculty Board at Halmstad University.
"It's especially gratifying and a bit special to be the first person to complete a PhD at Halmstad University. At the same time I feel a certain responsibility, as this is something new here at the University," says Edison Pignaton de Freitas.
Edison Pignaton de Freitas dissertation, in the subject of computer science, deals with surveillance systems for covering large areas, such as harbors and national borders.
"Such a system consists of moveable and fixed sensors that can communicate with each other via radio. The moveable ones can be carried by vehicles such as unmanned aircraft. The idea behind my dissertation is to coordinate the use of—and cooperation between—the fixed and moveable sensors for better function and efficacy," explains Edison Pignaton de Freitas.
Examples of operations that can benefit from Edison Pignaton de Freitas findings are defense systems and farmers, who can identify diseases in crop fields.
"I'm already a captain in the Brazilian army, and there we have a major project for monitoring the Brazilian border. The idea behind the dissertation is to use the method from my research in part of that project. But anyone who needs a surveillance system can benefit from such a system. It has multiple applications."
Why did you choose to pursue your PhD at Halmstad University?
"I had a Swedish girlfriend when I was an exchange student in France in the early 2000s. The idea was for me to move to Sweden when I finished my studies in Brazil, and I studied Swedish for several years. But our relationship came to an end, and I chose to continue my studies in Brazil instead. Then my supervisor, who has contacts with researchers at many European universities, told me that Halmstad University was offering a doctoral studentship in my subject area. Since I was already interested in Sweden and the Swedish language, I applied for the position. I came here in February 2008."
What are you going to do now that you've completed your doctorate?
"I'm returning to Brazil to continue work on my research in the army, but I'll be staying in touch with Halmstad University."
Text: LENA LUNDÉN and LINDA LUNDELL
Picture: NICLAS ROSANDER