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EIP Active & Healthy Aging Reference Sites: Central Region of Portugal

The Centro Region of Portugal, with Coimbra as a strategic core, is one of 32 reference sites for active and healthy ageing recognised by the European Union and the only one in Portugal. 

This distinction is the result of an unique ecosystem which is conducive to the development of best practices in the healthcare associated with active and healthy ageing, founded on the axes of Education/Inovation/Research.

Education

The University of Coimbra is a reference in higher education and R&D in Portugal, due to the quality of the courses taught at its eight faculties and to the advances achieved in pure and applied research in various scientific domains and in technology related areas.

In addition to a wide range of undergraduate courses, UC offers a vast selection of graduate and post-graduate programmes that include areas such as health, biomedical sciences and physical education.

In the area of education, it should be noted that Instituto Pedro Nunes, with a strong connection to UC, focuses its efforts on high level continuous training, promoting and encouraging the transfer of knowledge and entrepreneurship and the Innovation and Knowledge Transfer Unit (DITS), which is the University contact for companies and organizations aiming to take advantage of all the institutional potential for businesses.

Innovation

The Centro Region of Portugal offers a health hub in Coimbra, which concentrates resources, professional competence and quality services. This highly differentiated core is based at the Coimbra Hospital and Universitary Centre (CHUC) and University of Coimbra working in close collaboration with the regional health network and charities administered by the Regional Health Administration of Centro (ARSC).

In relation to social assistance for its senior citizens, the municipality of Coimbra has been developing projects that promote the well-being and quality of life of the elderly population, such as: Elderly Georeferencing (to identify the location of the elderly and to assess the degree of risk); Household Telecare (to increase security and combat loneliness among the elderly through a permanent call center); and A Table for the Grandparents (to ensure that elderly people living in isolated conditions and/or with low incomes get the meals they need at weekends and holidays).

Besides being equipped with an excellent network of health centers and hospital units which stand out in the field of assistance and medical care, Coimbra also stands out in the area of technological innovation. The robustness of programs in the technology transfer domain for supporting the elderly, created within the business environment associated with the Instituto Pedro Nunes and BIOCANTbusiness incubators, is to be emphasised. Innovative products for the promotion of active and healthy ageing, in particular the functional independence of the elderly and their involvement in health management, are developed here.

Research

Coimbra is a leader in the development of health technologies and the proof of this is the involvement of the Instituto Pedro Nunes in several European projects related to Ambient Assisted Living that put Information and Communication Technology at the disposal of health and inclusion. It is worth mentioning some projects funded by the Ambient Assisted Living Joint Programme (AAL JP): Co-livingCaMeLiCogniWin; and also national projects funded by QREN such as AAL4ALL and TICE.healthy.

A symbol of the international affirmation of the scientific research carried out in Coimbra in the areas of neuroscience and vision is CNC.IBILI, the latest biomedical research unit in the central region of Portugal. It results from the fusion of two excellent research institutes in Coimbra: the Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology (CNC), with a long tradition in molecular and cell biology and neuroscience, and the Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Life Sciences (IBILI), a research institute at the Faculty of Medicine in University of Coimbra, an internationally recognised centre of excellence in the area of health sciences.

The Institute of Nuclear Sciences Applied to Health (ICNAS) stands out in the area of biomedical imaging. ICNAS is a multi-disciplinary research centre at the University of Coimbra which uses major medical imaging modalities for biomedical applications, ranging from basic sciences to pre-clinical and clinical.

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