The University of Aveiro (Portuguese: Universidade de Aveiro) is a top Portuguese university. The University founded in 1973 has over 15.000 full-time students, a strong research profile, a unique model of governance (16 Departments, 4 Polytechnic Schools and various training centres) acting as a network for education and training promoting strong links with the surrounding community, and was a pioneer in launching degrees in new subject areas. The BMD (Bachelor, Master, Doctorate) structure is fully implemented and learning outcomes are introduced. UA attracts a lot of foreign students both within undergraduate and postgraduate levels. It is a Research & Development university, with research departments developing programmes in fundamental and applied mathematics, physics, chemistry, telecommunications, robotics, bioinformatics, sea sciences, materials, design, business administration and industrial and civil engineering.
A team coordinated by Portuguese architect Nuno Portas had begun to select among various prestigious Portuguese architects in 1986 to design the Santiago University Campus in harmony with the architectural heritage of the city. Many of the buildings, therefore, were designed by internationally recognized architects, among them Álvaro Siza Vieira (Pritzker Architecture Prize 1992), Eduardo Souto de Moura (Pritzker Architecture Prize 2011), Alcino Soutinho, Pedro Ramalho, Luís Ramalho, Rebello de Andrade, Adalberto Dias, Jorge Kol de Carvalho, Gonçalo Byrne, Figueiredo Dias, José Maria Lobo Prata, whose works have been visited annually by national and international specialists. A particular building is the Library designed by architect Álvaro Siza Vieira in perfect dialogue with the lagoon that borders many other University departments. The library covers an area of 6500 square meters on four levels and is situated centrally in the campus in an inspiring harmony between the other buildings and the nature. The Campus is also composed by a mediateque, a field track, a multisports building with gym, a residential complex, green spaces, ecological spots, parking lots and many other facilities. The Rectory is located in a white building near the campus centre.
The University is a member of the European Consortium of Innovative Universities and was one of the first institutions to be granted the ECTS label in 2004, with this distinction having been renewed several times. UA has also signed an agreement as one of the Portuguese institutions to participate in the programme of collaboration between Portugal and Carnegie Mellon University for the development of postgraduate programmes and research in the field of ICT (Information and Communication Technologies). At the same time, the collaboration between the Telecommunications Institute (IT) and the Physics sector with Siemens is an example of the way in which the university has encouraged both innovation and commercialisation linked to research. It has also provided resources for its research policy through funding and the provision of high quality researchers.
The University of Aveiro has a national and international reputation in the areas relevant for this project namely in the discipline of Design. Under the Portuguese system of numerus clausus at the university level, the University of Aveiro receives the students willing to study Design with the highest grades. This prestige is due among other parameters, to the teaching staff’s academic and professional training and experience; to the studies programme quality that intertwine theoretical, technical, artistic components and skills; (Bologna 3+2 plus the possibility to follow a doctoral programme in Design); to the international atmosphere; to the connection with the employers reality; to the installations and tools at students’ disposal. Design students from University of Aveiro have been receiving awards at national and international competitions and the employment rate in the field is very high. Fátima Pombo, the key person involved in this project, has a long tradition in researching and teaching design courses at University of Aveiro and abroad. For almost a decade she was guest professor at University of Leuven, Department of Architecture where she was responsible for the master course ‘Interiors and Furniture in the 20th century’. Her research, publications and teaching focus on phenomenology, interior architecture, design theory/history, and aesthetics. She participates in international research projects and conferences; publishes in anthologies and journals, has a long record of supervision of Master and PhD thesis, was Head of Department and Research Unit during four years. Das Coisas Belas e Desenhadas [From Beautiful and Designed Things] is her most recent book (February 2018).