University of Aveiro (Portugal)

University of Aveiro (Portugal)

Created in 1973, the University of Aveiro (UAVR, quickly became one of the most dynamic and innovative universities in Portugal. Now a public foundation under private law, its main mission is to provide undergraduate and postgraduate education, to generate research and promote cooperation with society. Attended by about 14,000 students on undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, the UAVR has achieved a significant position amongst higher education institutions in Portugal, being one of the top universities regarding the quality of its infrastructures, the strength of its research and the excellence of its staff.

The UAVR is a highly regarded institution of research led education, constituted by university departments, research units, polytechnic schools, interface units, and a vocational education network. Its integrated structure permits the articulation and harmonisation of the teaching and research environments, and enables the construction of individual educational paths, from post-secondary technological specialisation programmes to doctoral degrees. Teaching activities are developed in a research-based environment, and throughout the academic year, dozens of national and international conferences are organised, generating a dynamic and multicultural atmosphere for students and staff.

Since 1998, UAVR integrates the European Consortium of Innovative Universities (ECIU) [], a leading international cluster of research intensive universities, with a collective emphasis on innovation, creativity, and societal impact driving the development of a knowledge-based economy. Each member institution shares a number of distinctive characteristics with a strong commitment to innovation and applied research, with close links to industry partners. 

During 2016, 282 research and technology transfer projects were active in UAVR. 95 of these projects are/were funded by International and European Programmes, of which 20 by the 7th Framework Programme, 25 by the Horizon 2020 and 21 by the ERASMUS +.

The Department of Chemistry of the University of Aveiro (DQUA) has two groups working actively in the area of polysaccharides, one from CICECO-Aveiro Institute of Materials, more devoted to agro-forestry based materials and the other from QOPNA - Organic Chemistry, Natural Products and Food Stuffs) centered on the study of polysaccharides from food and by-products of agro-food industry.

Description of CICECO:

The projects developed by UAVR are developed under 19 research centres, one of its more proficient R&D units is CICECO - Aveiro Institute of Materials, an Associated Laboratory of UA that joins some near 375 chemists, physicists and materials engineers making it the largest Portuguese Materials Science and Engineering (MS&E) institute (

Created in 2002, the institute has contributed to the development of scientific and technological knowledge necessary for the innovative production and transformation of materials, for a sustainable development and the benefit of society, (from ceramics to soft matter and hybrids).

CICECO is organized in 4 research lines (thematic axes transversal to groups) expressing areas of societal challenges:

L1 - Information and Communication Technology;

L2 - Energy and Industrial Applications;

L3 - Sustainability and Health;

L4 - Computing and Modelling;

integrating 5 groups focused on materials:

G1 - Inorganic Functional Nanomaterials and Organic-Inorganic Hybrids;

G2 - Multifunctional Ferroic Ceramics and Nanostructures;

G3 - Materials for Energy and Functional Surfaces;

G4 - Biorefineries, Biobased Materials and Recycling;

G5 - Biomedical and Biomimetic Materials.

With a solid international profile, 40 % of 30 full-time researchers, 31% of 96 post-docs and 23% of 108 PhD students are foreigners.

CICECO national and international scientific recognition is reflected in the participation on several European Excellence Networks. Moreover, in the recent National Science Foundation (FCT) research assessment, CICECO was ranked 24.5 in 25 points (Excellent) and placed among the top 5% of research units in all fields of knowledge. In the last year, 457 papers were published (55% Q1), 22 PhD and 92 MSc theses were finished, and 4 patents (1 international) were filed.

CICECO has been actively engaged in European projects (> 60) mainly within the R&D Framework Programmes with more than 32 projects financed (FP5, FP6, FP7 and H2020 including an ERC grant).

CICECO has also been building an excellent track record of working with industry, with more than 2 M€ per year funding coming from industrial projects and services. With near 130 patents filled (49 international) and 4 spin-offs are currently running or being created.

Its instrumental facilities are the best in the country for MS&E, including SEM, TEM, AFM, X-ray diffraction, NMR, vibrational spectroscopies, measurement of optical, magnetic, electric, thermal, mechanical properties, furnaces, autoclaves, reactors, ALD, CVD, a computer cluster, etc. Aligned with its dynamic strategy, CICECO researchers are given starting up financial support, depending on the nature of their work, and a per annum allowance, determined by their scientific productivity and technology transfer performance.

In the topic of polysaccharides, the research activities of CICECO (G4) are centered essentially on i) design, production and characterization of nanostructured and porous materials, ii) transparent nanocomposites films/blends and iii) hybrid materials for different applications including bioactive materials for tissue regeneration (namely wound healing), nanosystems for cancer diagnostic and therapy (nanotheranostics), membranes for drug delivery, functional food packaging, substrates for organic electronics, membranes for fuel cells, conductive materials, innovative functional textiles and papers, among many others. This group has also a strong experience and interest on the production of nanocellulose (in particular bacterial cellulose).

Name: Carmen Sofia Rocha Freire


Phone: +351 234 370 604

Fax: +351 234370

CICECO/Departamento de Química

Campus Universitário de Santiago

3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal


Description of QOPNA:

The Organic Chemistry, Natural Products and Food Stuffs (QOPNA) Research Unit was created in 1994. It comprises the activities of researchers from the Chemistry Department, Aveiro University, with scientific interests centred in organic synthesis, mass spectrometry and food chemistry/biochemistry. Research has been performed in synthesis, identification, structural characterization and valorization of the new molecules; these were obtained by synthesis, chemical transformations or isolation of natural sources (plants, algae, agricultural and food products, and by-products / food residues). Application in human health promoting materials (e.g. diagnosis, prognosis and control of the response to a given therapy and potential therapeutic targets for diseases and / or functional foods / nutraceuticals). This research line comprises: i) the axis of sustainability and ii) the health axis.

Our strategic line of research considers functional molecules applied to the promotion of human well-being by developing new therapeutic strategies, ensuring food safety and protection and environmental sustainability. The scientific and technological knowledge and know-how of QOPNA Researchers is an added value for the discovery, preparation, transformation, structural and functional characterization, and the valorization of molecules and functional materials in a sustainable way.

Mission: Development of scientific and technological knowledge in the discovery, preparation and transformation of naturally related bioactive compounds and materials in a sustainable way.

Vision: To become a leading inter-disciplinary European research laboratory studying bioactive compounds, through organic synthesis and isolation from natural sources, and further application as health promoting materials and/or as functional foods; a laboratory contributing to the development of a scientific culture at the national level and educating students to high levels of scientific literacy and stimulating innovation within the industrial sector and promoting the science literacy through divulgation of science.


We are 135 members in 2017: 18 University staff members and full time researchers, 7 PhD collaborators, 29 post-doctoral fellows, 42 PhD students and 39 research fellows and MSc students.


During 2016 QOPNA members carried out postgraduate work which gave rise to 9 PhD and 38 MSc theses. Also 157 publications took place in scientific journals (16% IF> 5; 38% 5 <IF> 3), 1 ebook, and 14 chapters were published in international books. Unit members registered 1 EU-patent and gave lectures in national and international meetings and academic institutions.

The national and international scientific recognition of QOPNA members is well demonstrated by their participation in several National and International Projects and European Networks.

Name: Manuel A. Coimbra


Phone: +351 234370 706

Fax: +351 234370

Departamento de Química

Campus Universitário de Santiago

3810-193 Aveiro