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FAIR4Health Consortium

University of Porto (UPORTO, is Portugal’s second largest university and one of the most prestigious teaching and research institutions in the country.

University of Porto (UPORTO) is Portugal’s second largest university and one of the most prestigious teaching and research institutions in the country. It has around 1600 non-teaching staff, over 31.000 students (around 1500 from foreign countries) and 2300 full-time academic staff, two thirds of which are post-graduates. This high qualification level of the teaching staff, combined with advanced lab technology and equipment, as well as the close connections with the business world ensure first-class training, which is fully recognized by the labour market.

As the biggest producer of science in Portugal, UPORTO provides an exceptional variety of courses (over 600 training programmes per year) covering the whole range of study areas and all levels of higher education, from degrees to lifelong education courses. Currently, UPORTO hosts almost 50 research centres (9 of them are state associated labs) covering a wide range of areas, from the humanities to sciences and technologies, and six competence centres in the fields of cybersecurity, ageing, biomechanics, media, ocean and materials research. Evaluated by international panels of independent experts in assessments by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology, more than a half of these research units have been awarded as “Excellent” and “Very Good”. Many of these centres are used as interfaces for institutions, bringing the University together, as a main partner, along with other organisations representing external interests. Assuming itself as a Research University, UPORTO is responsible for over 20% of the Portuguese scientific papers indexed each year in the ISI - Web of Science (ISI-WoS).

In the last years, UPORTO has been putting large efforts in providing greater economic value to its scientific production and partnerships with industry leaders have already resulted in several innovations with proven success in the national and international sphere. University of Porto Science and Technology Park (UPTEC) has been playing a very important role in this matter. UPTEC has been supporting knowledge and technology transfer between academia and industry since 2007, by incubating start-up companies and hosting business innovation centres. In recognition of its outstanding performance on bringing academic knowledge and business closer together, through its strategy of sharing research findings and fostering local entrepreneurship, UPTEC was the European Commission’s REGIO STARS 2013 - Smart Growth Award winner.

The Porto4Ageing competency centre, promoted by UPORTO, is a two-starred Reference Site and Partner Plus of the European Innovation Partnership and Healthy Ageing of the European Commission, bringing together over 90 organisations, the large majority of them established within the Porto Metropolitan Area, in the Northern Region of Portugal. The partnership is built upon the quadruple helix approach – it involves different stakeholders (regional governments and health and care providers, academia and research, industry and civil society), which are in good position to drive structural changes far beyond the scope any organization could achieve on its own, aiming to innovate and experiment in real world settings. Despite the different backgrounds, goals and actions, Porto4Ageing revolves around a shared vision and common targets, where each organisation actively contributes in a specific way to the overall goal of responding to the citizens’ needs, specifically in matters related to active and health ageing in the Porto Region. The Porto4Ageing alliance is committed to promoting local convergence and improving the health innovation ecosystem, while reducing and overcoming existing bottlenecks. It is doing so by promoting joint work for high impact, thus bridging the gap between public and private actions and instruments and, ultimately, facilitating knowledge exchanges and scaling up of results ( Porto4Ageing consortium stems from the UPORTO Ageing Network, established in 2013, as UPORTO considered that it could play a vital role in the improvement of health and quality of life of European citizens, and particularly relating to elderly population, by contributing through research and development in this particular field. In this context, the top management of UPORTO had decided that a network composed of experts in the field of ageing should be created within the university, to bring together, not only different stakeholders to join up forces and expertise, but also different visions and contributions (health and social services, social, cultural, behavioural determinants, etc.).