As part of the celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the University of Minho, the School of Engineering proposed several initiatives to mark this important moment for our Academy, including the UMinho Spin-Offs and Interfaces Exhibition linked to Engineering “Engineering at the service of Society”, which took place on 27 September at the Azurém campus.
The event showcased the breadth and diversity of areas of activity, products and services of UMinho Spin-offs, Interfaces and Co-Labs, whose socio-economic impact on the region is undeniable. Figures from 2019 point to a turnover of more than €14 million and the creation of more than 175 jobs, in the case of spin-offs, as well as hundreds of projects with companies and other entities taking place every year, involving very significant investments, empowering them and enabling the creation of more competitive and innovative products and services, as far as interfaces are concerned.
“Engineering at the Service of Society” was also intended to congratulate all the members (former and current) of the School of Engineering involved in these activities. It should be emphasised that more than 75% of UMinho’s Spins-offs were “born” in this School or by the hands of our students, alumni, researchers, teachers or technicians. Of the 12 current UMinho Interfaces, 5 also originated from the proactivity and knowledge of members of the School of Engineering.
The former Minister of the Economy, Pedro Siza Vieira, was at the opening of the exhibition, visiting all the stands of all the participants, and in his speech he congratulated the University of Minho for its impact in terms of innovation, but also at a social and economic level. Pedro Siza Vieira highlighted UMinho’s example over the last 50 years, namely by “incorporating new ideas into their way of thinking and into what they offer the market. Without the School of Engineering, things probably wouldn’t have happened in the same way”. “I think it’s an example that is studied internationally, that of the University of Minho, because of the impact it has on the region. This is the best way to mark this half-century of existence,” he said.
For his part, the Vice-President of the School of Engineering, Professor Raúl Fangueiro, stressed that the aim of this initiative, which was funded by the Operational Human Capital and Portugal 2020 programmes, was above all to “position the work done with society” and to enhance its “innovation ecosystem”.
The event also included the participation of the Startup Braga and Set.Up Guimarães incubators, the Ordem dos Engenheiros Northern Region, and a lecture on “Valuing knowledge – Protecting the future” by the coordinator of TecMinho’s Industrial Property Support Office, Marco Sousa, which allowed those taking part in the exhibition to get to know and better understand the importance of protecting the knowledge and innovation generated by their activity, and what instruments they have at their disposal to do so.
A report on the event and statements by Pedro Siza Vieira, Raúl Fangueiro and Miguel Bandeira can be seen here (Porto Canal): https://portocanal.sapo.pt/noticia/337648/