COMMITMENT TO EXCELLENCE

Portugal 2019 | HEALTH & EDUCATION | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Arlindo Oliveira, President of Instituto Superior Técnico, on the education sector.

Arlindo Oliveira
BIOGRAPHY
Arlindo Oliveira was born in Angola and has lived in Angola, Mozambique, Lisbon, Geneva, and San Francisco. He obtained an MSc degree from Instituto Superior Técnico (IST) in 1989, and a PhD degree from the University of California at Berkeley in 1994, both in electrical engineering and computer science.

Can you tell us more about your commitment to excellence in fields such as architecture, science, engineering, and technology?

Instituto Superior Técnico was established more than 100 years ago to play a role in knowledge transfer and economic development. We have fulfilled that mission extremely well to become the top engineering school in Portugal and amongst the top 12 engineering schools in Europe and the top 50 in the world. Our challenging teaching process transforms students into highly sought-after professionals. We are also a top R&D institution, with about 700 professors and researchers as permanent staff. Técnico excels in fields like naval engineering, machine learning, and robotics.

How does your research, development, and innovation activities promote a culture of innovation?

We have excellent researchers with international projection. In the last 15 years, we paid a great deal of attention to teaching students about entrepreneurship and technology transfer. We have a clear policy of intellectual property protection and a network of companies that sign long-term agreements with us. This special group of cooperating companies is involved in a number of activities, including R&D and social responsibility.

To what extent do you work with other top universities around the world?

We have numerous exchange programs and a special relationship with 11 other engineering schools in Europe that make up the CLUSTER network of the top engineering schools. These include KTH in Sweden, EPFL in Switzerland, Barcelona Polytechnic, and several others. We also belong to a larger user network called CESAR, with 25 top R&D technical universities.

What are your top priorities for Instituto Técnico in 2019?

We want to strengthen our connections with companies, primary economic agents, and our alumni base. We are launching Técnico Plus, the overarching image for our professional courses. Finally, we want to make Técnico more independent of the state budget and will launch an initiative where we can create an additional source of funding.