"People are the University's most valuable resource, the one on which the quality of the performance of its mission to serve society through knowledge essentially depends.
This concern is transversal to all NOVA that, for this reason, has as one of its strategic objectives until 2030, "to attract and promote the best national and international talent in its various aspects", students, academics and employees.
Students are the reason for the University's existence. And, as is well known, providing excellent teaching is only possible if we have academics, teachers and researchers of the highest level. This guarantee that, at NOVA, even teaching is closely related to research and innovation.
But, and this is what I want to talk about now, the importance of non-academic professionals in determining the quality of the activity and in pursuing the mission of a university of excellence.
These professionals are the ones who guarantee the quality of information with which all strategic decisions are taken, the quality of student support services - from reception to employability -, the quality of research support - of projects, of laboratories, of dissemination - the quality of innovation support - in intellectual property issues, in the connection to companies, in the communication of impact stories -, the quality of digital transition - of teaching, of processes and services - and, in short, of all the support activities that are critical to the exercise of the triple mission of the University: teaching, research and value creation (or innovation).
Given the nature of the mission, universities, and certainly NOVA, can never be, and should never claim to be enterprises. But, more than ever, they must be professionally managed at all levels.
To testify to this importance and our commitment to collaborators and services we launched this year the ADN Awards - Acting Different at NOVA, whose award ceremony will be celebrated on the 21st of April.
We had 46 candidates, from all the constituent entities of NOVA (the 9 Organic Units, the Rectory and the SAS). I would like to thank everyone for their commitment and for having applied. 46 applications, what an impressive number!
Symbolically scheduled for the World Day of Creativity and Innovation, NOVA will distinguish, for the first time, the good practices implemented throughout the University, either in terms of new processes, services or solutions, or in terms of new forms of organization, and in a wide range of areas that include the support to the three axes of the University's mission (Teaching, Research and Innovation), but also to Students, Internationalization, Culture, the various areas of Management, Sustainability, Digital Transformation, and many others.
We want Organisational Innovation to truly be part of our DNA. Our services and those who work in them win, as they become more efficient and productive; our students win, as they have a more complete, enriching and valuable academic experience; our partners in society win, as they obtain a higher level of satisfaction in their interaction with NOVA.
In short, the University wins, because by combining technological progress with the improvement of processes and the satisfaction of the people who are part of its organisation, it is possible to optimise the results and motivate the professionals of higher education to create innovative ways of fulfilling NOVA's primary purpose - the one that should always move us all - and that is the excellence of the service provided to the Society."