“Quality control polices and international talents training guidelines in transnational education between Portugal – CPLP _ Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries and UE-BRICS”.

The 5th Annual Conference on Chinese-Foreign Cooperation in Running Schools

Supporting organizaton: International Cooperation and Exchange Department of the Ministry of Education (MOE) of the People’s Republic of China

Co-sponsored by:

Center of  Research  on Chinese-Foreign Cooperation in Running  Schools ,Xiamen University

& Department of Education  University of Shenzen

& Research Society of Chinese-foreign Cooperation in Running Schools (in preparation) of China Association of Higher Education

Organized by the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzen

November 11-14 2014

Paper title:  “Quality control polices and international talents training guidelines in transnational education between Portugal – CPLP _ Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries and UE-BRICS”.

©António dos Santos Queirós [1]

Center Philosophy of University of Lisbon

(Centro de Filosofia. Faculdade de Letras da Universidade de Lisboa)

Alameda da Universidade 1600-214, Lisboa Portugal



In this paper, we propose to discuss the framework for such cooperation, involving an holistic approach, covering the three missions of modern higher education institutions, within a framework of high quality standards: (i) education, (ii) research and (iii) cooperation with society, namely regional development, entrepreneurship and knowledge transfer. The development of such programs will be accompanied by the implementation of quality concepts and standards (eg credit transfer system, learning outcomes, impact of research publications, number and economic value of patents, new business volume created from research and entrepreneurship activities, among others).

In the context of “Quality control polices and international talents training guidelines in transnational education”, we developed four themes:  Portuguese Higher Education Highlights. Evolution standards of pilot joint programs and how was applied them to practices in European Union. Theories and practices of development of specialist schools. On how joint programs help promote local industrial development and independent innovation. Proposed Sino-Portugal cooperation. A pilot plan, Portugal – CPLP _ Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries and UE-BRICS

Based on these principles and practices, we propose to establish a cooperation pilot plan that will consider provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities of China at different development levels. [2]

Key words: Transnational-education. CPLP-UE-BRICS. Quality. Excellence – Imperative.


  1. Portuguese Higher Education Highlights


The Portuguese Higher Education sector comprises a high diversity of institutions. In the public sector there are 15 public universities, 15 polytechnic institutes, plus 19 higher education schools not integrated in the polytechnic institutes. In the private sector there are 35 universities or university status schools, plus 39 polytechnic status schools. In general, the public universities and some of the public polytechnic institutes are much larger organisations than the remaining institutions.

In 2013 two of the public universities in the Lisbon region merged to create the University of Lisbon (which results from the old university with that same name and the Technical University of Lisbon). In the 2014 Scimago ranking of the universities of the ibero-american space the new university was ranked 2nd.

In the academic year 2012/13 for a total of 371,000 of enrolled students in Higher Education the breakdown was as follows (source: DGEEC-MEC): 197,036 in public universities; 106,674 in public polytechnics; 48,716 in private universities; and 18,576 in private polytechnics.

In the academic year 2011/12 a total of 94,264 students graduated from higher education. Their breakdown by areas was as follows (source: DGEEC-MEC): 29,681 in social sciences and law; 16,515 in health and social work; 16,635 in engineering and related fields; 7,837 in arts and humanities; 6,942 natural sciences and mathematics; 5,672 in services; 9,791in education; and 1,191 in agronomy. The number of female students graduating overcame by far the number of male students (57,033 versus 37,231).

Some of the public universities have a long history (Coimbra University goes back to the Middle Ages) and most of them are at least several decades old, while most of the private sector institutions emerged over the last three decades.

S&T courses, particularly those that require experimental facilities, tend to be concentrated in a few public universities. Thus, a very significant concentration of research activities exists.

As most of the research activities are concentrated in a few public universities, a larger share of the public funding of research is also concentrated in the public sector. However, there are some research centres from private university institutions operating under the FCT_ Foundation for Science and Technology, financing system. Altogether there are three hundred research units scattered among the schools that are part of the Higher Education sector. Universities as such do not have their research activities assessed by external bodies (though there is a national agency to certificate university curricula – A3ES, National Agency for Evaluation and Accreditation of Higher Education). The situation is that each university provides a framework for the research units acting in their respective disciplinary areas, and those units are generally acting under the support of the formerly called Plurianual Funding scheme managed by the FCT (research council). It is in this context that universities’ research is assessed every 3 years by external panels of independent scientists.

The share of HERD (Higher Education Expenditure for R&D)  in GERD (Gross Expenditure for R&D) rose from 36% in 2009 to 39% in, as the fraction of BERD (Business enterprise R&D) expenditure started rising.


  1. Evolution standards of pilot joint programs and how was applied them to practices in European Union


The ECTS – European Credit Transfer System. ECTS established a new education paradigm based on learning outcomes and student workload.

In describing the cycles the framework makes use of the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS):

1st cycle: typically 180–240 ECTS credits, usually awarding a bachelor’s degree.

2nd cycle: typically 90–120 ECTS credits (a minimum of 60 on 2nd-cycle level). Usually awarding a master’s degree.

3rd cycle: doctoral degree. No ECTS range given.

The actual naming of the degrees may vary from country to country.

One academic year corresponds to 60 ECTS-credits that are equivalent to 1,500–1,800 hours of study.  But one ECTS can be defined having 20-28 hours. The “ECTS point” is not standard at all. So the Diploma Supplement (DS) was created as a European Union document attached to a higher education diploma aiming at improving international transparency and facilitating the academic and professional recognition of qualifications.

The Diploma Supplement is designed to provide a description of the nature, level, context, content and status of the studies that were successfully completed by the individual named on the original qualification to which the supplement is appended. It is a flexible non-prescriptive tool which is designed capable of adaptation to local needs.

The ECTS will be complemented by the European credit transfer system for vocational education and training (ECVET).

At the Portuguese Universities and Polytechnic Institutes, an efficient quality program to monitor the teaching-learning process has been implemented since 2008-2009 and has received the European recognition “ECTS Label”.

It is based on a hierarchically organized structure, covering individual courses, degrees, university departments and, finally the whole university, involving students, professors, administration, pedagogical council and, latter, external stakeholders, including employers.

The external auditing and quality certification processes are assumed by the National Agency for Evaluation and Accreditation of Higher Education (A3ES) as well as by professional associations such as the Engineers Council (Ordem dos Engenheiros). At an European level, engineering degrees may be certified by EURACE, the European Accreditation of Engineering Programs. The Portuguese Universities and Polytechnic Institutes have several engineering degrees with the label of quality assigned by EURACE:  Electronics and Telecommunications Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Environmental Engineering and Physical Engineering…

One of the parameters evaluated during external certification processes of degrees, in the addition of the quality and adequacy of teaching staff and learning facilities, is the employability of their graduated students. One of the measures implemented to improve employability is the learning in labour context, by doing BSc project work or MSc thesis work within labour context, in companies or other external organizations.

To assess employability rate and conditions, the graduates are regularly enquired by our Observatory of the life-long socio-professional course of graduates.

Portuguese Universities and Polytechnic Institutes are also involved in several joint MSc and PhD programs, together with other universities, within the scope of the European Erasmus Mundus program. Erasmus Mundus supports Joint Programmes (Masters Courses and Joint Doctorates) that are operated by consortia of higher education institutions from the EU and (since 2009) elsewhere in the world. They provide an integrated course and joint or multiple diplomas following study or research at two or more higher education institutions.

Erasmus Mundus funds a number of scholarships for students and academics studying or teaching on Erasmus Mundus Masters Courses. Since 2010, fellowships have also been available for doctoral candidates following one of the Joint doctorates.

Scholarships cover participation costs, subsistence costs, and insurance for the duration of the study period. Many students also have the right to a contribution to travel costs.

Within this program, students follow their courses at, at least, two different universities, at different semesters; the thesis research work is also generally conducted in different universities of the consortium, with joint supervision. Staff mobility also takes place within Erasmus Mundus initiatives because some courses are jointly offered by different universities.

The Portuguese Universities and Polytechnic Institutes have been also involved in the last few years in joint initiatives aiming the development of new curricular programs. Joint degrees, within Erasmus Mundus, are good examples of such activity. However, has been also involved in cooperative design of several curricula for different degrees offered by foreign universities, particularly from CPLP_ Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries –  (namely Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, Cape Vert and East Timor) with whom Portugal has privileged relationships.

Polytechnic of Oporto. A case study

IPP_ Polytechnic Institute of Oporto does a significant contribution in CPLP _ Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries, participating actively in various projects for cooperation and has a vast network over 240 agreements with Universities from 27 European countries and with American and African Higher Education Institutions, manly Brazil and Angola….

The Polytechnic Institute of Porto (IPP) was created in 1985 in order to offer excellence in qualified education.IPP is the largest Portuguese Polytechnic Institution, with the most students, teachers, courses and schools. The outcome is a highly diversified offer of training profiles, contexts, targets, extension activities and geographic implementation – in six Municipalities of the Porto District. More than 18,000 students attend the 7 Schools which offer 58 Bachelor Degrees(180 ECTS) and 45 Masters Degrees in Engineering, Management, Health Sciences, Music, Arts and Education.  IPP has over two dozen research groups distributed by the seven schools and the highest number of research units recognized by the national Foundation for Science and Technology. IPP is the National Polytechnic Institution ranking highest in the international scientific rankings. On-going projects, both national and international, rely on the strong commitment of private companies, organizations and the community.

Their guideline for cooperation is the exchange of researchers and participation in common projects, in Europe, China and BRICS, in the specified areas. Health and Well Being. Environment. Energy. Advanced Materials. Information and Communication Technologies.  With the support of IPP research centers: CIDEM- Centre for Research and Development in Mechanical Engineering; CISTER – Centre for Research in Trusted Systems and Real-Time; and GECAD – Research Group on Knowledge Engineering and Decision Support. We could identify two priority cooperative areas:

1.Research & Development (R&D): Health and Well Being. Environment

2.Exchange of Students:

_ Cooperation in Study Cycles Creation and Teaching: Portuguese Language and Culture. Musical Education. Traditional Chinese Medicine

_ Cooperation in the area of Hospitality and Tourism

  • Theories and practices of development of specialist schools


Modernising universities and polytechnics. The European Council in the spring of 2006 called for stronger action to drive forward successive reforms aimed at modernising universities and research.

With 4 000 establishments, over 17 million students and some 1.5 million staff – of whom 435 000 are researchers – European universities have enormous potential. The Commission has identified certain challenges

_the standardisation of national university systems and their fragmentation into small structures, which make national, European and international cooperation more difficult and form an obstacle to their diversification and impede their quality;

_identical courses offered to similar types of student. Other types of training and other target groups tend to be neglected (conversion courses for adults or transition courses for those who have not followed traditional educational pathways);

_inflexible administrative regulations and long-winded academic recognition procedures. The problem of the transferability of scholarships or loans and pension rights is another obstacle to mobility, training, research or employment in another country;

_the development of the research environment into one which is open, interactive and competitive, transcending traditional structures;

Innovation on research activities organisation. The Portuguese Universities and Polytechnic Institutes may be characterised as a research-based comprehensive higher schools but with focus on science and technology. The fundamental organic key to establish a strategically vision focused on specific scientific and differentiating areas, is to built a management structure based not in faculties, bur yes in multidisplinary research units (involving staff from different departments), together with a relatively young and highly motivated staff, supported by advanced and comprehensive scientific infrastructures (acquired by national and international funds), led to excelling and international recognition of the research developed ain Portugal, namely  on Materials Science and Engineering, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Environment and Marine Sciences[3] and Natural and Agro-Food Products, Education Sciences, Automation, Electroanalysis/Corrosion, Phytopathology, Geotech, among other.

‘Partnerships for the Future’. One of the key features of the internationalization of the Portuguese research system of S&T policy was the establishment of the so-called ‘Partnerships for the Future’ (which encompassed namely the cooperation with several US universities), and in the involvement in a number of initiatives in the context of FP7. Agreements were entered into with the following US Universities: MIT, Carnegie-Mellon, University of Texas at Austin and Harvard Medical School. The initiative also included an agreement with Fraunhofer Gesellschaft. Following the generally positive evaluation undertaken by the Academy of Finland, the partnerships with Carnegie Mellon University, with the University of Texas at Austin and with MIT were recently renewed for an additional term.

Another central vector has been the creation, in cooperation with Spain, of INL, the Iberian International Nanotechnology Laboratory. INL has an international legal framework similar to intergovernmental laboratories in other areas located in Europe such as CERN, ESO, EMBL, and ESRF.

More recently, the orientation for increased involvement in European S&T cooperation has been expressed along two axes: the development of a National Roadmap for Research Infrastructures, aligned with the ESFRI Roadmap.; and the commitment to enhance participation in Horizon 2020. The first has been considered by the MEC- Ministery of Education and Science, as a key initiative to strengthen S&T cooperation with other ERA countries. The second is simultaneously envisaged as an instrument for getting additional funding for Portuguese S&T organisations and for enhancing the capabilities of Portugal’s research and innovation system.

International cooperation in the framework of CPLP _ Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries and UE-BRICS, on research domain, takes place in different ways:

  • Direct enrolment of foreign PhD or post-doctoral students, doing their research programs within our research units
  • Joint PhD thesis (“combine” thesis, with joint supervision of professors/researchers from Portuguese and the foreign institutions), within university bilateral agreements
  • Joint multinational research projects, funded by international agencies,
  • Research and development contracts, directly celebrated between Universities and Polytechnic Institutes and foreign public entities, which directly beneficiate from the R&D results

Portuguese cooperation in European Union  born with the vision of Portuguese Universities and Polytechnic Institutes increasing their mission as centre for education and innovation, a trigger and driving force for regional development and wealth creation. Today, this vision is more than ever updated and is shared by our partners in European Union, e.g. ECIU – The European Consortium of Innovative Universities, involving 13 European member Universities and 3 non-European Universities as associated partners and similar international consortiums.

Another e.g., came from UA_ Aveiro University, that has created a Centre for Asiatic Studies (CEA) which, among other activities, led to the creation (1998), together with another Higher Education Portuguese Institution (ISCTE) of the first Master Degree on Chinese Studies in Portugal and to the launching of the open access journal ESIYA – Interdisciplinary Journal of Asian Studies. Today, UA is involved in several mobility programs with Chinese Higher Education Institutions and joint research projects, with significant scientific outputs. UA, together with other Portuguese Universities, is also involved in specific program aiming to produce digital pedagogical materials to support the teaching/learning process of Portuguese language in China.

The visibility and international attractiveness of the Portuguese higher education area and the European research area are essential to strengthen the role of Portuguese Universities and Polytechnics and research in the CPLP _ Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries and BRICS.

Good practices.  Other critical issues on the success of higher education cooperation and mobility programs, or specific programs to attract foreign students, deals with the information availability and visibility, the existence of supporting services with specialized staff to host and help foreign students, social infrastructures as well as cultural insertion programs, including specially designed language courses and cultural activities. We take a special care with these issues in our University.

A good webpage in English and in the others national languages, with all the relevant academic and social information must be available at Portuguese Universities and Polytechnics websites.

Foreign students, when they arrive to Portuguese Universities and Polytechnics receive a personal treatment by the staff of our International Office. Accommodation on campus dormitories or in town, near the campus, as well as canteens or university restaurants, are available for students.

Special insertion programs, including cultural activities and the Erasmus Buddy program (a native student is assigned as “friend” to each foreign student) are provide by the International Offices.

Institute Polytechnic of Leiria_ IPL, train translators and interpreters with adequate command of Portuguese / Chinese language allowing them to translate and interpret to and from Portuguese / Chinese language, also capable to command other aspects of the nature and functioning of both cultures and societies, with a combine Undergraduation – Translation and Interpretation Portuguese/Chinese – Chinese/Portuguese. Students of the IPL will do the 1st and 4th year in Leiria, the 2nd in Beijing (the Beijing Languages and Cultures University) and 3rd year in Macau (the school of languages and translation of the Instituto Politécnico de Macau). Students of the IPM will do the 1st and 4th year in Macao, and the 2nd and 3rd year in Leiria. The cost of accommodating displaced students is supported by the host institutions.

Additionally, the Portuguese Universities and Polytechnics Departments of Languages and Cultural offers special courses on Portuguese language and culture, to our recently arrived foreign students.

University funding must be reformed so that a level of teaching and research excellence can be achieved in accordance with the Lisbon Strategy, the aim of which is to commit 2% of gross domestic product (GDP) to a modernised higher education system. In parallel, the funding of students should be amended to ensure greater fairness between students, in particular those coming from disadvantaged backgrounds, as regards university admittance and chances of success.

In Europe, before the financial crises, these contributions are generally limited or even prohibited, in order to allow democratic access to higher education; Deutschland tuition fees are now (2014) completely free.

Funding and evaluation research. One of the critical points of research issues is funding. In Portugal, public universities are funded by the central government with a budget that, together with student fees, covers essentially salaries and running costs for teaching activities.

Research is funded in a competitive way, by national and international agencies, namely the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology – FCT (the national science funding agency from the Ministry of Education and Science), Regional Development Agencies and different R&D programs funded by the European Commission and other international agencies.

Evaluation of the performance of research units is regularly promoted by FCT, involving international boards. More than 83% of research units (involving more than 90% of professors/researchers) were evaluated by as “Excellent” or “Very Good”. Evaluation involves the international best practices in this domain, namely the strategic vision of the research unit within the strategic plan of the University,  bibliometric indicators for scientific production (number of published papers, citations, journal impact factors), capacity to attract external and competitive funding from public and private entities, potential impact of research results on innovation wealth creation (number of patents and spin-offs, contracts in companies), degree of internationalization (number of international projects and networks) and outreach activities, among others. Two of the critical issues in international research cooperation include the seeking and availability funding as well as the attractiveness and international recognition of doctoral programs.

Doctoral School (DS) and the Research Support Office (RSO). At Portuguese Universities and Polytechnics, the international research activities are boosted by several internal managing structures and services, namely the Doctoral School (DS) and the Research Support Office (RSO).

Considering the growing importance of research and knowledge in modern societies and the crucial role of higher education institutions in training through research, as well as the need to face new challenges arising from increasingly competitive and demanding markets, Portuguese Universities and Polytechnics has established a Doctoral School (DS). DS has the mission to coordinate doctoral programs, internally and externally, and is responsible for developing new innovative courses and admitting candidates. In pursuit of its mission, develops doctoral programs of excellence, including national and international joint ventures, while implementing specific measures to enhance the employability of holders of its doctoral degrees based on training needs and market requirements.

Portuguese Universities and Polytechnics aspires to become one of the foremost research organizations in Europe in terms of involvement in International collaborations. In order to reinforce international and, particularly, European collaboration, Portuguese Universities and Polytechnics strongly encourages its researchers to create ties with their colleagues worldwide, by responding jointly to calls for proposals for international funding agencies and European programs. To achieve this goal, has set up the Research Support Office (RSO), with specialists and projects managers who can offer research units at Portuguese Universities and Polytechnics help in the development and implementation of strategies for research, in pursuit of the objectives established for the University and for the European Research Area, and individually assist national researchers in the whole process. RSO supports researchers in the preparatory phase, during the submission and with the management of international and European research activities. RSO provides up-to-date information on national and international research programmes, information on fellowship programs and on specific announcements of calls and events, one-to-one coaching and support of proposal submission and project management.


  1. What are the scientific production models that we must solidify and create to support the economic and sustainable development determinate by moral criteria?


Universities have evolved throughout the twentieth century to a functional model of formation of specialists, progressively integrated in their polytechnic structures. This process was developed to the detriment of another primary function of University: scientific research.

With the emerging knowledge and an informed society, scientific and technical revolution and global finances and business concentration, it has become even more imperative to restore the social function of public University in its role as center of excellence of fundamental scientific research.

The foundation of basic scientific research is the formation of research groups, with professors, PhDs or those who choose the path of a doctorate in line with the scientific objectives they wish to pursue and not mere academic requirements and administrative career progression. These researchers may originate from all universities and congregate around a mission and purpose of scientific research.

The results of this research must be returned to the University and society through the pursuit, in parallel, the three missions of modern higher education institutions:  education, research and social development, in the framework of sustainable development and environmental ethics.

Creating a scientific elite, framed by the public University, they can correspond to the national interests and put at the service of the country, its economy and its population, the results of advanced research, that tends today to be appropriated by the large business conglomerates, through the registration of patents, products and brands.

It is in this perspective that we considering Integrative/Multidisciplinary activities during the year. Special activities that aim to carry out research across disciplines. And Outreach activities during the year. Science and society, general public, schools, etc.

Frederick Schiller, in his Letters on the Aesthetic Education of Man, argued that “the student must learn to follow an objective, and, for the sake of this goal, to tolerate a little painful. He should aspire to the noblest pleasure soon which is the price of the effort “. Victor Weisssskopf, a pupil of Niels Bohr, likened the art of scientific disclosure as a”… sweeping interpretation of a Beethoven sonata …” and amounted to the highest social recognition.

This means understanding the scope of the educational research in multiple dimensions: community outreach –  outreach campaign: outreach work.

The imperative of excellence

A new evaluation model of higher education can pass dialectically the quantity to quality, through the addition of the following parameters:

1th. On the link between their project of research and education and scientific dissemination:

How does the educational process offer a social science perspective / approach?

2th. In clarification of the purpose of their research project in its action and relationship to science, society and schools:

What is the contribution to knowledge, theory, policy or practice?

3th. In the “translation” of the results of research activities in real applications, e.g. experiences of teaching in University and other schools;

4th. On the proposition of new topics to be included, in the next year, with a view to a permanent strategy of quality in research (circular or qualification in feed-back process and objectives project;

5th. In the analysis of the results obtained with the means placed at the disposal and recovery;

6th. On the elucidation and appreciation of the different tasks, which have been over or under planned complemented with the analyses of the difficulties in their pursuit in real context.

7th. In the development of methods (creation of new or improvement and adaptation of existing ones) that promote a better educational research.

This sequence and planning are not arbitrary.

The first two issues are essential. With the emerging knowledge and an informed society, scientific and technical revolution and global finances and business concentration, it has become even more imperative to restore the social function of public University in its role as center of excellence of fundamental scientific research. .

The third question drives to a key problem, which is also an ethical imperative: the results of this investigation should be returned to the University and society, in particular through the exercise of the function of teaching, applied research and scientific work.

The fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh questions are the determinants of quality and progress of the investigative route.

  1. On how joint programs help promote local industrial development and independent innovation


Incentives to encourage structured partnerships with enterprises will be needed to bring universities and polytechnics closer to the world of business.

Universities and Polytechnics must also provide knowledge and skills geared to the needs of the labor market.

1.Regional development, technology transfer and entrepreneurship programs:

Although cooperation with society (3rd mission of modern universities) covers a wide scope of activities, we will focus, in this paper, in three main issues:

(i)                          Regional development programs

(ii)                         Technology transfer activities

(iii)                        Promotion of entrepreneurship

Such topics are not referred in most international cooperation programs involving higher education institutions. We believe this is a domain with an enormous potential to explore within universities and polytechnics (and their associated entities or interface operational units) international cooperation programs.

Entrepreneurship program

The entrepreneurship program at Portuguese Universities and Polytechnics aim at promoting in our students the capacity of developing their business or creating their self employment.

Most of our degrees (BSc, MSc and PhD) involve courses in entrepreneurship. In addition to “formal” entrepreneurship courses, has several “hands on” entrepreneurship initiatives, such as the “Entrepreneurship Labs”, promoted. by Liasion Office (LO)

Here, students, researchers and any other member of the academy may develop its own business plan or create its startup company, supported by Liasion Office (LO) staff and internal and external mentors, contributing to the success of the project. Startup projects or companies may then be installed in our business incubator (BI, Business Incubator) and follow our Incubation Programs (“BI Start Ups” for starting companies or start-up projects, “BI Graduate” for graduate companies). Within such incubation programs, in addition to basic supporting services, companies have access to specific coaching and mentoring programs and internationalization supporting services.

In the last few years our collaboration with the Portuguese Universities and Polytechnics, Regions and its authorities was extended to entrepreneurship. The knowledge gathered by on the promotion of entrepreneurship and on the management of incubators was shared with the 11 municipalities, leading to a “multipolar incubator concept” (BIR – Business Incubator of Region), with incubating pole in each municipality, following common rules and services. Municipalities are responsible for the physical management of its own incubator pole, while Portuguese Universities and Polytechnics  promote regional initiatives such as the “Entrepreneurship Labs” and offers the services of creation of spin-off companies, Incubation Programs “By Startups” and “BI Graduate”. The managerial aspects and issues regarding intellectual property are crucial.

The corollary of all these regional dynamics can launched “Regional Science Parks –” (CSP-R). Science parks are implemented in the neighborhood of the University and Polytechnics Campus .CSP-R is a private stakeholder company, owned by the University and Polytechnics, Municipalities of Region, different industrial associations and companies as well as the banks. The science parks, will host incubator, joint research labs, design factories spaces to install graduated and consolidated knowledge intensive companies and will provide specialized services to the hosted companies. CSP-R will develop in straight coordination with University and Polytechnics, others Business Incubators of Region, as well with the modern industrial parks installed in different municipalities, completing the entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem of Region. Although the construction of physical infrastructures of CSP-AR has not started yet (scheduled to the end of 2013), the science park concept is already implemented in the region, involving the university, municipalities, the regional business incubator, enterprises and the municipal industrial parks. Within this context, CSP-Rs are full members of IASP, The International Association of Science Parks.

2.Regional development policies

Portuguese Universities and Polytechnics participates actively in the definition and implementation of regional development policies, particularly in cooperation with the Council of Mayors of the regional municipalities and the industrial and commercial associations of the Region, not only with the cluster of innovative and ICT companies and major and emblematic companies, but also with low and small companies.

The Portuguese Universities and Polytechnics has been strongly engaged in the development of the strategic plan for the Region, and in the definition and implementation of major regional investments.

Also, has been promoting and participating in joint development projects and initiatives with local authorities, covering economic, social, cultural, governance and entrepreneurship issues mostly financially supported by the Portuguese Regional Development Agencies (CCDRs). An example, was the” projects, involving stakeholders from the different sectors of society, which focused on the modernization of public services as well as on qualification of people and improvement of well being, using Information and Communication Technologies.

In addition to projects with a pure regional dimension, together with local municipalities Portuguese Universities and Polytechnics has been involved in several European projects. This is the case of URBACT, a “European exchange and learning programme promoting sustainable urban development, enabling cities to work together to develop solutions to major urban challenges, reaffirming the key role they play in facing increasingly complex societal challenges”. URBACT program involve 181 cities, 29 countries, and 5000 active participants

The commitment of Portuguese Universities and Polytechnics to regional development is also clearly demonstrated on the delocalized nature of higher schools campus involving polytechnic schools, running on neighbor cities, offering BSc and MSc courses, as well as Technical Specialization Degrees, mostly oriented to specific regional economy needs and in an excellent relationship with local industries and companies, the TSD teaching and training program is carried within labor context.

3.Innovation in Technology Transfer organization

 The application of science and its conversion into economic value is a foremost activity of Portuguese Universities and Polytechnics , highlighted in its long term strategic plan. This mission is supported by the Technology Transfer Office (TTO) of the Portuguese Universities and Polytechnics, having four main activities: (i) Intellectual property protection, (i) Intellectual property valorization and commercialization, (iii) innovation (knowledge transfer to companies by R&D contracts and specialized services, including consultancy) and (iv) entrepreneurship promotion.

Portuguese Universities and Polytechnics higher patent portfolios are growing roughly, although the revenue of science and technology commercialization is still quite modest, it’s growing gradually every year.

In a study carried out by the University of Leiden for FCT in 2013, it is shown that out of a total of 9,479 ISI papers with Portuguese authors in 2010, 7,693 were published by authors of entities funded by the FCT. Total research output originated in Portugal has been expanding rapidly and approaching the EU average, with 1567 ISI publications per million inhabitants in 2012, while in 2000 the performance was still at 435 publications per million inhabitants.

In what concerns patenting, the university and polytechnic sector became the main actor in Portugal by the late 2000-2009 decade, filing for more national patents than the business sector itself. In the period 2000-2008 the top 4 entities filing for national patents were the Universidade Técnica de Lisboa, Universidade do Minho, Universidade de Aveiro and Universidade do Porto. In the top 10 of patenting entities there were two research units associated with the university sector (INESC Inovação and INESC Porto). Meanwhile the share of universities in national patenting dropped as universities started to be more selective in patent application. Instituto Pedro Nunes (IPN), another Portuguese Association for Innovation and Development in Science and Technology – an initiative promoted by the University of Coimbra, was distinguished in 2010 by the international prize Best Science Based Incubator Award 2010.

The cooperation with companies (“innovation”) also involves another interface unit, the Liasion Office (LO) that has the mission to promote outside Portefolio of Competences and Services among companies and then, make the link with Technology Transfer Office (TTO) and, finally with research units or other units at the university, specially devoted to services providing or consultancy.

Technology Transfer Office is involved in many international networks, aiming to improved technical skills and share best practices with international TTOs. These include, among other, UTEN – The University Technology Entreprise Network. University Technology Enterprise Network (UTEN) is a network of professional Technology Transfer Offices focused on the commercialization and internationalization of Portuguese Science and Technology (S&T) and is mostly supported by The University of Austin, Texas.

Institute “Pedro Nunes (IPN)”. Case study

Founded in 1991 as an initiative by the University of Coimbra, Instituto Pedro Nunes (IPN) – Association for Innovation and Development in Science and Technology – is a non-profit private institution for public benefit. “It promotes innovation and the transfer of technology, establishing the interface between the scientific and technological system and the production sector.”

Mission Statement

Contribute to the transformation of the business environment and organizations in general, promoting a culture of innovation, quality, rigor and entrepreneurship, built on a solid university/enterprise relationship and operating in three fronts that reinforce and complement each other:

  • Research and technological development, consultancy and specialized services;
  • Business and idea incubation;
  • Highly specialized training and dissemination of science and technology.

Research and technological development, consultancy and specialized services

Holds its own technological infrastructures – six Technological Development Laboratories – besides access to a network of researchers from the National RTD System (Sistema Científico e Tecnológico Nacional), in particular from the University of Coimbra, namely through the Faculty of Science and Technology:

  • LED&MAT – Wear, Testing and Materials Laboratory, comprised of two units: UMS – Surface Modifications Unit and UGRAN – Granular Materials Unit.
  • LIS – Information technology and Systems Laboratory.
  • LAS – Automation and Systems Laboratory, integrating an Industrial Instrumentation Unit.
  • LEC – Electroanalysis and Corrosion Laboratory.
  • LABGEO – Geotechnical Engineering Laboratory.
  • FITOLAB – Phytopathology Laboratory.


Business and ideas incubation

IPN promotes the creation of spin-off companies, supporting innovative technology-based ideas from its own laboratories, higher education institutions, in particular from the University of Coimbra, the private sector and from RTD projects in association with the industry.

The incubator, managed by an autonomous association, IPN-INCUBADORA, provides companies with easy access to the National RTD System and an environment that allows the broadening of knowledge into fields such as quality, management, marketing and also facilitates contact with national and international markets.

Highly specialized training and promotion of science and technology

IPN focuses its efforts on high level continuous training, directed at the increasing number of professionals seeking actualization in new technological domains that have emerged or evolved since their initial training, at preparation of specialized technicians, at qualification of unemployed graduates and also, linked to its activities in the creation and incubation of technology-based companies, training directed at young entrepreneurs.

This training activity is based in a strong connection to the University of Coimbra and other R&D institutions, and to the network of companies that collaborate regularly with IPN, covering complementary training areas and profiles.


Business Accelerator

Fields of activity – Support services to help technology-based and innovative companies increase their technological competences and internationalization capacity

Goals-TecBIS (Technology.Business.Innovation.SustainableGrowth) – Business Accelerator, it’s a QREN initiative, operation n.º 3986, co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) with the overall objective of building up a Business Accelerator. The total estimated amount of investment is 8,1M€ with 6,9M€ of public funding.

TecBIS project intends to boost high-tech high-growth companies by providing a wide set of advanced services, focused on developing their technological competences and internationalization capacity, through a closer cooperation with the academic and scientific institutions. The TecBIS’ specific goals are:

– To launch a new technological infrastructure – Business Accelerator, providing high standard facilities with common use areas, where the network with the academia, research centers and funding will be emphasized;

– To support the growth and consolidation of high-tech high-growth companies through the provision of high added value services in order to:

  • Increase the internationalization capacity;
  • Develop technological competences.

– To promote innovation and help Coimbra region to keep and explore the knowledge generated in the local academic and scientific entities;

– To boost the attraction and retention of high qualified human resources in Coimbra region.


Training Department

Fields of activity Training Department’s mission is to organize training and consulting according to client and partner demands, promoting and stimulating knowledge transfer and the entrepreneurship.

IPN is a certified training institute by DGERT – General Direction of Employment and Labour Relationships in the following themes of intervention:


Goals.  The aims of this department are:

1.Approach the scientific and business environment;

2.Promote technologic entrepreneurship and innovation;

3.Recognize the specific needs of clients and partners, promoting through consulting and training;

4.Promote networking and sharing of knowledge;

5.To facilitate the access to work market for new graduated people through specific training.



Services  Training  SME Training Program is a financed project for small and medium companies, with less than 100 workers, that pretend to take advantage of free training and consulting according to the company’s needs.

The Training Initiative for Entrepreneur has the purpose to increase and develop the entrepreneur’s skills of micro, small and medium companies (SME) through specific training and consulting according to the company’s needs.


Technology transfer and IP

Fields of activity – VCI stands for Department of Innovation and Knowledge valorisation and works on technology transfer and innovation, trough the following activities:

  1. Support to spin-offs creation – promotion of tech-based entrepreneurship by researchers, students and other members of the National Innovation System;
  2. Intellectual property (IP) – Support to firms, researchers, students and other members of the National Innovation System, enterprising and companies in IP issues;
  3. Commercialization of technologies – Support in the technology transfer and product development (contract licensing, financial management, etc.);
  4. R&D management – elaboration, support and management of R&D projects


  1. Proposed Sino-Portugal cooperation. A pilot plan, Portugal – CPLP _ Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries and UE-BRICS

The pilot plan will be developed along three main axis, with the following suggested actions:

  1. Education

– Mobility programs for BSc students in Portuguese and Chinese Language and Culture

– Mobility programs for MSc students specially offered in English in Portuguese and Chinese universities

– Development of a Joint Degree Program (MSc or PhD) on one of the scientific topics above,

– Sharing of best practices in quality evaluation and monitoring programs and recognition of competences acquired by students

  1. Research

– Development of joint research programs on specific domains of mutual interest, oriented for sustainability and the green economy (eg, green and smart materials, efficient exploitation and use of natural resources, tourism, among others)

– Creation of joint research facilities (eg a Sino-Portuguese Research Centre on Advanced Materials) and specific programs for sharing big scientific infrastructures, supported by a mobility programme for researchers;

  1. Regional development, technology transfer and entrepreneurship;

– Sharing of best experiences and support to the development of regional innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystems, based on the triple helix model;

– Sharing of best practices between university technology transfer offices, including the management of Intelectual Property and its commercialization;

– Joint programs to promote technology transfer, entrepreneurship as well as regional development, supported by TTOs, university business incubators and science parks;

Such cooperation pilot plan may extended, upon mutual interest, to other higher education institutions and regions in Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries – CPLP (namely Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, Cape Vert and East Timor) with whom Portugal and the University of Aveiro has previliged relationships.

The implementation of such program calls upon the political commitment of national authorities and financial support of national and local governments, international entities and major national and international economic agents.


Queirós, António. “Towards a golden age in China-Portugal higher education cooperation: a perspective inside the Portuguese university”. International Conference on Quality of Sino-foreign Cooperation in Running Schools, December 8 -10, 2013, Xiamen, China .

Queirós, António. “A new education paradigm, from China to the World”. International Conference on “Standardizing Chinese-foreign Cooperation in Running Schools, Exercising Administration According to Law and Promoting Sustainable Development” June 20th -21st, 2011, Xiamen, China

http://ec.europa.eu/education/lifelong-learning-policy/higher_en.htm Accessed in 01.10.2013

http://erawatch.jrc.ec.europa.eu/erawatch/opencms/index.html  Accessed in 01.10.2014

http://www.en.aau.dk/ Accessed in 01.10.2013

http://www.ehea.info/. Accessed in 01.10.2013

https://www.facebook.com/CamaraDeCooperacaoEDesenvolvimentoPortugalChina Accessed in 01.10.2014





[1] Queirós, António dos Santos, is Researcher of Environmental Philosophy and Ethics, in Lisbon University Philosophy Center, visiting the Universities of Salamanca and Sorbonne.

It’s member of Way Ching Research Center the University of Hong Kong, research of Cultural Tourism, Tourism of Nature and Sustainable Development in the University of Aveiro, Portugal.

His research interests include ethics, higher education, international heritage and environmental projects.

Association of Museum and Science Centers of Portugal_ MC2P (ONG) President

Secretary General of CCDPCh_ Chamber of Portugal-China Cooperation and Development     葡萄牙-中国合作发展协会

[2]   Since 1979,  hundred Chinese students got their PhD degree and  post-doctoral research programs in  Portuguese Universities and Polytechnic Institutes  with scope of multiple joint research programs, with different Chinese institutions (Beijing Languages and Cultures University,  Xi’an Jiaotong University, Nanjing University, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai Institute of Ceramics, Shanghai Univeristy, Beijing University, Fudan University, Beijing University of Science and Technology, Tsinghua University, Wuhan University of Technology, Hebei University of Technology, China University of Petroleum, Sun Yat-Sen University, Zhejiang University, Taiyuan University of Technology, Instituto Politécnico de Macau, among others that jointed this process more recently, Guizhou University, Zhenghzou University… ).

[3] Portugal is a small continental country, with 89,000 Km2 but exerts its sovereignty over an area of the Continental Maritime Platform 20 times higher, 1,800,000 Km2. The strategic localization of the archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira and its vast Atlantic coastline is ongoing at the United Nations the process which should extend its sovereignty in the Atlantic Ocean until 3,800,000 Km2