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Ana Sara Costa receives Doctoral Dissertation Award

Ana Sara Costa, an early career researcher who finished her PhD in Engineering and Management at Instituto Superior Técnico in 2020 (supervised by Professor José Figueira from CEGIST and Professor José Borbinha from INESC-ID) has recently received the Doctoral Dissertation award at the 26th International Conference on Multiple Criteria Decision Making (University of Portsmouth, UK 26 June – 01 July 2022).

Ana Sara Costa

Currently a researcher at CEG-IST and an Invited Assistant Professor at Instituto Superior Técnico, Costa wrote her thesis — A multiple criteria integrated approach for nominal classification problems: Methods and applications — with a very clear purpose: according to Costa, “to developed multicriteria decision support methods for classification problems with nominal categories [which can group objects/concepts together based on a given characteristic or property] without any order of preference between them.” These were implemented in DecSpace, an online platform where Costa provides several methods and demonstrated their applicability through three studies with different objectives and contexts: housing assignement for refugees (contributing to the definition of an urban strategy and the decision aiding process as it relates to the accommodation system) and the cultural adaptive reuse of abandoned buildings, both in the city of Turin, and a recruitment process in the Special Forces of the Portuguese Army.

“The methods we developed make it possible to model the preferences and judgments of decision makers when comparing two decision objects in terms of similarity and dissimilarity,” Costa explains, “and it is possible to consider the effects of interaction between two criteria and the structuring of the criteria in a hierarchy. The methods have potential for application across several areas in decision-making situations that involve classification into nominal categories, considering different criteria, which can bring value to decisions in organizations.”

What does this award mean for Ana Sara Costa? “[It] represents a recognition of the merit of my doctoral thesis, which I had the privilege of developing under the guidance of Professor José Rui Figueira and Professor José Borbinha, as well as the relevance of their contributions to the area of ​​MCDM [Multiple Criteria Decision Aiding].”

And what about the future? “The plan is to continue performing research and teaching in this area,” Costa told us. As a true academic, she concluded “as I consider my contribution to the construction of students’ knowledge and their motivation for research to be very gratifying.”

The other two finalists at the Doctoral Dissertation Award of 26th International Conference on Multiple Criteria Decision Making were Gökhan Ceyhan - "A study of the day-ahead energy market auctions from a multi-objective perspective" and CEGIST member Miguel Alves Pereira - "Efficiency and public policy of the Portuguese healthcare sector: A look at the pressing issues".