U.Porto invests 16 million euros to create more courses and upgrade facilities

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Filipa Brito

Assuming the commitment to the Multidisciplinary Training Program, the University of Porto will invest, over the next four and a half years, more than 16 million euros to attract new students. The fund, made available by the Plano de Recuperação e Resiliência (PRR), will allow the launch of more than 150 new courses and training for adults, as well as five degrees in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM).

According to the U.Porto, this initiative is part of the “effort to modernise college education and (re)qualify the Portuguese population” and expects to attract more than 9.500 new students through training opportunities, the reinforcement of the incentives and intervention in the physical and technological infrastructures.

The project, which began in early 2022, is part of the “Impulso Jovens Steam” and “Impulso Adultos” programmes. It is, in fact, the latter that takes most of the investment, more than nine million euros, that will translate into the “launch of 157 short term courses of initial and postgraduate level, designed to meet the needs of updating and retraining skills of active adults”, explains the institution.

The offer also includes 153 non-degree courses such as specialization courses, advanced studies, and continuous training in areas such as Environment and Sustainability, Arts and Humanities, Science and Technology, Education, Teacher Training and Career Guidance, and Health. In addition to these, there are three vocational master’s degrees and one in Artificial Intelligence.

This “Impulso Adultos” has “more than a hundred partner entities, including research centres and collaborative labs, high schools and training centres, municipalities, associations, companies, among others”.

The remaining seven million euros will be invested in the “reinforcement of the first cycle training offer in the field of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics). The focus on the “Impulso Jovens STEAM” has already taken its first steps with the creation, in 2021/2022, of the degree in Artificial Intelligence and Data Science, and now sees a chance to grow with the launch of new degrees in Bioinformatics, Drawing, Literature and Integrated Studies, Applied Mathematics, Digital Health and Translational Medicine.

In the incentive area, and “with the aim of fighting school dropouts and promoting a greater and more inclusive participation of the population in college education”, the U. Porto will extend the support to students “from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds”. The actions include, for example, the co-payment of tuition fees “for people with a lower level of qualifications or in unemployment situation”, or the attribution of merit scholarships.

The amount coming from the PRR will also allow the rehabilitation of the Abel Salazar building, “which will receive a large part of the new training actions”, according to U.Porto as well as the “updating of the IT network infrastructure” and the “adaptation of auditoriums, amphitheatres and classrooms to hold e-learning or b-learning classes.”