NOVA University Lisbon welcomed on May 11 the Portuguese Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education, Manuel Heitor, to meet the University's start-ups and projects that have been presenting innovative solutions to respond to the pandemic. The visit took place at the Center for the Study of Chronic Diseases (CEDOC) at NOVA Medical School (Campo de Santana, Lisbon).
At the opening of the session, NOVA's Rector, João Sàágua, mentioned that «this is a moment when fundamental research and innovation with direct and rapid impact need to hold hands», encouraging researchers and start-ups to «have the sky as a limit» in the search for solutions.
In a panel moderated by NOVA's Vice-Rector, Elvira Fortunato, the nine projects that were recently approved by the Foundation for Science and Technology under the scope of “RESEARCH 4 COVID-19” were presented. Isabel Rocha, Pro-Rector of NOVA, moderated the panel on the role of “Bio Start-ups”, Private Associations, and R&D platforms in combating the new coronavirus.
The role of Universities in the global response to the pandemic, as well as the phased return of classroom activities and face-to-face research, were also discussed during the visit.
In his speech, the Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education, Manuel Heitor, highlighted the scientific and academic activism of universities and announced the launch of 'Skills 4 post-COVID - Competencies for the Future', an initiative promoted with the General Directorate Higher Education (DGES), along with higher education institutions and public and private employers.
The session also included interventions by José Fragata, Vice-Rector of NOVA; Paulo Pereira, CEDOC Coordinator; Guy Villax, CEO of Hovione, and Carlos Moedas, Director of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.
The presentation session was followed by a visit to the COVID-19 testing laboratories and the signature of a protocol between NOVA Medical School and Santa Casa de Misericórdia de Lisboa, with the presence of the Minister of Labor, Solidarity and Social Security, Ana Mendes Godinho.
The session also paid tribute to the 70 volunteers who are helping to carry out COVID-19 diagnostic tests at CEDOC, which coincided with the day when the 2000 test mark was exceeded.