United Nations University inaugurates new facilities in Couros

Guimarães City Hall rehabilitated old factory for a research centre dedicated to electronic governance.

The United Nations University (UNU-EGOV) in Guimarães gained greater dimension with the inauguration of the rehabilitation of the old Freitas & Fernandes factory, in the Couros area. This ceremony took place on 24 June, as part of the commemorations of the “One Day of Portugal”, through a cooperation protocol between Guimarães City Hall and the University of Minho for subsequent cession to the UNU-EGOV.

“Guimarães is a history made for the future, we have to take good care of our memory to project the future. And the future is made arm in arm with science. The science that gives us the necessary knowledge to implement the projects and ideas that we define and understand for a better society and for the well-being of people”, stressed the Mayor of Guimarães, extolling the added value for Guimarães in strengthening the conditions for this research centre dedicated to electronic governance for the entire world.

Installed in Guimarães seven years ago, this UNU-EGOV unit has hosted around 700 researchers from more than six dozen countries from the four corners of the world working in the area of digital governance. According to the director of the United Nations Unit in Guimarães, Delfina Soares, “the recovery of this building by Guimarães City Hall reveals the nobility of action and the vision of those who lead this city”, reaffirming the great objective of the transformation of this unit into a United Nations University Institute.

The rector of the University of Minho highlighted the relationship between the Guimarães municipality and the higher education institution as “a unique framework in the national context”, underlining the common strategies for the Couros area as the second Campus of the University of Minho in Guimarães. “It is important to highlight the convergence we have seen between the two institutions, in a complex process such as urban rehabilitation and cultural renewal, in the commitment to knowledge and the transformation of our society,” stressed Rui Vieira de Castro.

UNU-EGOV is a research centre dedicated to e-governance. Located in the city of Guimarães since 2014, it is the only UN institution in Portugal not based in Lisbon. UNU-EGOV is part of the United Nations University, based in Tokyo and whose foundation dates back to 1974. It has several institutes and programmes located in different countries. It is the academic branch of the UN and its main objective is to work with Member States in solving the problems of humanity.

Delfina Soares has been appointed by the Rector of the United Nations University and Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, Dr David M. Malone, as Head of the Policy-Oriented e-Governance Operational Unit (UNU-EGOV), with effect from 1 September 2017.

She has been associated with the Operational Unit since 2015, when she joined as an Adjunct Associate Professor. She has strong ties with UNU-EGOV’s host university, the University of Minho, where she has held several positions over the past 18 years, including as Professor and Assistant Professor at the Department of Information Systems and as Researcher at the ALGORITMI Centre at the School of Engineering of UMinho.

Luís Soares Barbosa is the Deputy Director of UNU-EGOV. He is also Full Professor at the Department of Informatics of the School of Engineering of UMinho and senior researcher at the High-Assurance Software Laboratory (HASLab INESC TEC).

Source: CMG