The Algarve Technology Pole project, presented today in Faro, promises to change the face of the University of the Algarve (UAlg), deepening its mission of interaction with society and companies and creating more wealth for the region.
This € 5.4 million investment, with EU funding of € 3.8 million, aims to be "a focus of business attraction, regional, national and international", linked to three areas – information technologies, health and wellness and energy.
The project is aligned with the Algarve Regional Development Strategy and with the objectives proposed by the Operational Program of the Algarve, seeking to attract a significant number of companies with installed activity, with a privileged relationship with the university and responsible for a growing volume of business directed to the export, taking advantage of the "workforce" formed in the region.
"When the work is finished, it will not be as it was before. First of all, life on campus. The flexibility of the project, in terms of architectural solution, can allow more than 300 people to work in the Algarve Tech Hub, the overwhelming majority of which, if not all, with higher education, "said the rector of the University of Algarve, Paulo Águas, at the presentation session of the project, held this Saturday at the campus of Penha da UAlg, in Faro.
This center aims to add skills for technological development and innovation in sectors of economic activity with consolidated or emerging expression in the Algarve, namely information technologies, health and well-being and energy.
The infrastructural area for the reception of companies will be 6,134 square meters, in the two UAlg campuses.
The infrastructure of the Science and Technology Park (Algarve Tech Hub), in the building until now occupied by the educational complex of the campus of Penha, will have a total of 5,360 square meters. The investment in this case will be applied mainly in the requalification of the property.
The Center for Clinical Simulation and Transfer of Knowledge (865 square meters) will be established on the campus of Gambelas, with investment mainly destined to the installation of equipment.
The companies will be chosen by tender, "due to the positive impact they can have in the region and the counterparts for UAlg," said João Guerreiro, project coordinator.
"I hope there will be skilled labor. For example, UAlg forms 50 IT engineers per year. In a recent survey of companies, we found that the immediate needs were as high as 100. We are still in a weak position in our training, "added the official, putting on the table the hypothesis, in partnership with companies, to create short and medium-term training courses to reorient professionals from other areas.
The main benefit for the university, said Paulo Águas, will be "the interaction established with companies, both in educational projects and research projects," deepening the mission of the academy.
"The Algarve Tech Hub will contribute to the creation of wealth, to the increase of qualified employment, to the diversification of the regional economic fabric, to pedagogical innovation and to the creation of knowledge," said the rector of UAlg.
The initiative, which was signed almost two dozen contracts with companies from various sectors, was attended by the Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education, Manuel Heitor, and the Secretary of State for Regional Development, Maria do Céu Albuquerque.
The minister stressed that the project is "symbolic" of what should be the strategy of "bringing companies into the" campus ", respecting four vectors: cohesion, competitiveness, convergence and knowledge.
"There could be no better way to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the University of Algarve," said Manuel Heitor, adding that the academy should not have physical walls separating it from the city and the surroundings.
"This project will transform the" campus "and its relationship with the city of Faro. The next challenge is to remove the fence because the "campus" has to be open and relevant. If knowledge creates employment, it must be closer to people, "said the Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education.