April the 5th was the date for UoF’s Igniting Event in Portugal. Organized by Porto Design Factory, the event was an opportunity for showcasing the project and gathering around several partners, including public institutions, members of the academy and company. Throughout the afternoon, around 100 participants passed by and were able to follow an interesting and vivid debate on the “Collaborative Digital Shift Towards a New Framework for Industry and Education”.

The event was divided into three different moments. In the first part of this afternoon-long work session, and after a brief presentation of Porto Global Hub and Porto Design Factory by Paulo Ferraz, Executive Director and UoF Project Coordinator, João Queirós and Teresa Pereira, from Polytechnic of Porto and PDF, presented the project and its main goals and outcomes. Jorge Portugal, from COTEC Portugal, the business association which is responsible for implementing and evaluating the Industry 4.0 National Strategy, then linked the goals of projects such as UoF with the challenges the country is trying to overcome within this fourth industrial revolution, especially those relating to changes in teaching and learning processes. The challenge of “instant”, flexible, productive learning, and getting to know how we can collectively build the solutions for continuous, lifelong learning, were stressed.

The second part of the event comprised a panel session on the future of jobs and the future of education in the fourth industrial revolution. Presented and moderated by António Bob Santos, from ANI, one of UoF partners, this session included representatives from three large companies operating in Portugal – Bosch, Visabeira Global and IKEA Industry (this last one also a member of the UoF Consortium) –, as well as Professor Manuel Pereira Lopes, from Polytechnic of Porto’s School of Engineering. Manuel Pereira Lopes presented the experience of Polytechnic of Porto’s MSc in Industrial Management and Engineering, a master’s degree with innovative teaching methodologies and a strong alignment with Industry 4.0 needs. Among other relevant subjects, panelists from companies presented significative experiences of collaboration with Higher Education Institutions and R&D Units and underlined the importance of stronger cooperation in the design of relevant learning processes for current and future workers.

The third part of the event included two presentations focusing on new opportunities for this sector – by Renato Gonçalves, from Nokia Portugal, and by João Borga, from Startup Portugal – and a closing session with João Correia Neves, the Portuguese Secretary of State for Economy, and João Rocha, the President of Polytechnic of Porto. João Correia Neves highlighted the commitment of the Portuguese Government with the country’s Industry 4.0 Strategy and underlined the importance of educational innovation in this process. The President of Polytechnic of Porto stressed the role of Porto Design Factory as a laboratory for co-creating and experimenting new methodologies in an integrated model of multidisciplinary education focusing on the development of the skills required by a changing world, and reached out to the audience to ask for active participation in the open community of practice the UoF project is building.

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