“Locating the Fraunhofer Institute in Portugal was a great success”, underlined Olaf Scholz referring to the Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS, the first Fraunhofer research center in Portugal, created in 2009. The German Chancellor continued his opening speech recognizing that “Portugal has written an impressive economic success story” and hailing the economic recovery after the economic and financial crisis, but also progress in the digital and energy transition.
The speech by the German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, as well as the Portuguese Prime Minister, António Costa, marked the opening of the Hannover Messe, considered one of the largest industrial fairs in the world which takes place until the 2nd of June.
The German Chancellor's reference relates to the history and growth of the Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS (FhP-AICOS), the first Fraunhofer research center to be created in Portugal. Based in Porto and with offices in Lisbon, it emerged in 2009, following a partnership between the Fraunhofer Society (Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft), the Foundation for Science and Technology and the University of Porto. The almost 13 years of existence of the first Fraunhofer centre in Portugal continue to be marked by a growing demand for technological solutions that have a positive impact on people's lives, organizations, and society in general.
FhP-AICOS continues to set records, both in terms of growth and revenue value, as well as increased contracts with Industry and even Human Resources. A 34 percent growth in 2021, which translates into a total of 2.7 million euros in research project revenues. In 2021, FhP-AICOS consolidated its position as an innovation partner for national and international companies with a value of revenues from contracts with Industry of 1.4 million euros. Also, in terms of Human Resources, 2021 ended with an increase in employees. If in January there were 80 employees at FhP-AICOS, in December the number rose to 96, including researchers, support staff, scholarship holders and master’s students.
The positive numbers and results reflect the fulfillment of the research centre's objectives. “We focus our work on people and information technologies. Our motto is to solve real problems of society, using innovation. We propose solutions in advanced technology that consider the needs of end users", says Liliana Ferreira, director of Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS.
With a portfolio of clients from different business areas such as health, agriculture, retail or energy, FhP-AICOS has consolidated skills in the areas of Artificial Intelligence; Cyber-Physical Systems; and User-Centered Design.
The study and monitoring of users in different environments combined with information and communication technologies allow us to develop solutions that support our day-to-day or decision-making. Currently, FhP-AICOS focuses on the following innovation themes: cognitive connected solutions; digital farming; accountable artificial intelligence; decentralised health technology; and living and ageing with data.
In addition to FhP-AICOS, the Fraunhofer Portugal Research Association (Fraunhofer Portugal) manages a second research center in Portugal, the Research Center for Smart Agriculture and Water Management (Fraunhofer Portugal AWAM or FhP-AWAM), created in 2019.