Elvira Fortunato revealed that the tax revenues for social activities will increase by more than 70%, about 23 million euros, allowing "with effect in 2022, increase the scholarships of higher education students in 10% for all scholarship students, plus 5% increase in the supplements when these scholarship students are displaced, and a 50% increase in the scholarships of needy students to perform Erasmus mobility periods.
The minister also announced a strengthening of public investment in R&D, "with an effective increase of 3.5% in the annual allocation of the Foundation for Science and Technology", and reiterated that "during 2023 the status of scientific research careers will finally be updated, the legal regime for teaching and research careers in private higher education will be enshrined and approved and a mechanism will be established to support the opening of tender procedures for scientific research or teaching careers to which public institutions are obliged at the end of six years of fixed-term contracts, under Decree-Law no. º 57/20163".
Elvira Fortunato, who was a researcher and vice-rector of NOVA until she joined the Government, also said that "the public discussion about the reform of the access system to higher education will be initiated and the admission in the 2023/2024 academic year will already benefit from the conclusions of that discussion".
Closing her speech, the minister stressed that "on its way to 50 years, NOVA University of Lisbon has reached the maturity that characterises us in middle age: we know what we want and what we should do to achieve it".
The Sustainability challenge at NOVA
The rector of NOVA focused his intervention on the theme of this year's NOVA Day, Sustainability.
João Sàágua recalled that "NOVA has assumed the UN agenda of the Sustainable Development Goals and the European Ecological Pact as its great agenda with society. This is the commitment that sustains our strategic vision of being a global and civic university".
The rector of NOVA defended that Sustainability "is also our most ambitious commitment because its success depends on several internal and external factors".
João Sàágua also said that "like all great values that are founders of a specific type of society, Sustainability has a political dimension (which involves decision, planning and implementation) and a knowledge and training dimension (which requires education, science and culture) and that supports and shapes the decision; and it even involves a dimension of innovation, which uses knowledge in a specific direction and not in another, for example, turning it towards renewable energies and not extractive ones, towards vaccines and not biological weapons, towards designing effective policies to combat inequality and not towards useless ideological debates. "
In this framework, João Sàgua defines the challenge for NOVA: "To strategically assume sustainability, not to get lost in making or communicating pseudo allegedly sustainable initiatives, but to contribute to the agenda of sustainable development. To contribute to the production and transmission of relevant knowledge for technological and social innovation, for public policies, and to inform the decision and support the activities of all kinds of institutions: companies, IPSS, municipal councils, NGOs, etc.".
And NOVA's action in this matter is consolidated in numbers and facts: "In teaching, we have 28 licentiate degrees, 115 masters (12 of which integrated) and 84 doctorates. Of the course units that make up these study cycles, about 4,000, more than 400 are either focused on sustainability (that is, they have a theoretical and practical focus on at least one of the SDGs) or include sustainability (that is, at least one of the SDGs is referred to and its relationship with the subject of the CU is explored). And of these 400-course units, one-third are focused on sustainability. The overwhelming majority of them belong to Master's degrees. In the next three years, NOVA should aim to increase from 10 to 20% the number of course units related to sustainability".
And NOVA's practice does not stop there, as, "in research, in 2021, 46% of the total number of articles published with peer-review are explicitly associated with one or more SDGs, that is 1,370 of the 2,954 articles published. In the next three years, NOVA should aim to increase the number of sustainability-related publications from 46% to 70%."
In the scope of the NOVA Day ceremony, the President of the General Council, Luísa Ferreira, and the representatives of the students and workers also took the floor, besides the keynote speaker, Pedro Matos, Emergency Coordinator of the World Food Plan.