University of Aveiro, Portugal

University of Aveiro (UA) is a young university, founded in 1973, with over 15000 full-time students (graduate and postgraduate). The University has a strong research profile and unique model of governance (16 Departments, 4 Polytechnic Schools and training centres), as well as acts as a regional network for education and training and promotes strong links with the surrounding community. The BMD structure is fully implemented and learning outcomes are introduced. Recognition of prior learning is also implemented for those who do not have the formal entrance requirements. The University is a member of the European Consortium of Innovative Universities and was one of the first institutions to be granted with the ECTS label in 2004. This distinction was then renewed in 2009 and 2014, and the Diploma Supplement Label was also awarded in those years.
The University of Aveiro offers a set of initiatives to promote entrepreneurship among students and beyond the traditional "in-class" training. A good example is the "Technological Entrepreneurship" program which is open to the community once a year and has the purpose of involving students, researchers, etc. in groups trying to "push" university technologies from laboratories to the market. An important aspect of the University activity is related to the relationship and cooperation with the city and the region of Aveiro and its stakeholders for promoting local development by means of applied projects. We are currently cooperating with local actors in several regional development projects, including two European URBACT programs: EUniverCitites - a project that brings together the University, the municipal authorities and local companies in developing activities to strengthen the links between academia and practice, city life and engagement; JobTown - brings together the University and local stakeholders for finding ways to promote the creation of youth employment. Moreover, the University is engaged with the Region (the city of Aveiro and 10 other municipalities) in the implementation of a local network of competencies and structures for entrepreneurship (e.g. incubators, services, entrepreneurial culture, etc.).

With this regard, the University has, since its creation, devoted important efforts to strengthen its 3rd mission, i.e. the outreach and engagement with local economic actors by effectively establishing itself as a partner for regional development. To this end, the University has established structures to facilitate and stimulate the interactions among its students, researchers and professors with the local economy, including research laboratories, business incubation services and facilities, a science park, a technology transfer office, etc., as well as an agenda of programmes and initiatives to promote entrepreneurship qualifications across its community. The engagement in the project “Catch it! Non-formal academy of activities” is aligned with this strategy which creates opportunities to engage the academic community in activities aimed at increasing the entrepreneurial competencies and fostering employability and economic initiative, leveraging the body of knowledge, as well as the aforementioned University structures and services.

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