New UAlg Portimão Campus takes «important step» to become a reality

University of Algarve, Câmara de Portimão and CCDR signed an agreement for the project to move forward

What is wanted is for a «true Campus» of the University of the Algarve to be born in Portimão, with new courses, more training and research. The UAlg, the Portimão City Council and the Coordination and Regional Development Commission (CCDR) want it, who signed on Saturday, December 3rd, a memorandum that is a «very important step» towards the realization of this dream.

This official act turned out to be a gift, at the party celebrating the 30th anniversary of the UAlg campus in Portimão, which took place on Saturday at the Teatro Municipal de Portimão, because, deep down, it is the relaunch of a process that has been talked about for a long time, but which is taking a long time to leave the field of intentions.

And what changes this time?

The memorandum of understanding signed between the three entities means that not only is there a piece of land waiting, provided by the Portimão City Council, but there is also a commitment on the part of the municipality to provide it with infrastructure and, with that, open the purse strings.

There is also a proposal from the CCDR of the Algarve to the European Commission for this project to be financed by European funds and the willingness, internally, at the university, to create a new organic unit in Portimão.


Paulo Waters


In statements to the Sul Informação, Paulo Águas, rector of UAlg, considered that this was «another important step» in this process and that there is «great commitment» from the partners.

For UAlg, the construction of the new Portimão Campus is a strategic plan, since, in the Rector's view, it is necessary «to have more students in Higher Education, in the Algarve. The region currently has less than 3% of university students in the country, which is a number that cannot satisfy us».

«In order to increase the qualification and percentage of Higher Education students studying in the Algarve, towards values ​​that are more consistent with the demographic expression of the region, it is crucial to expand education in the Barlavento area, based in Portimão», believes Paulo Águas .

“But with the current facilities, we can't do it. It is totally impossible », he illustrated.

«What we propose, with the construction of the new Campus, is to triple the expression of Portimão in the context of the University of Algarve. Portimão, at the moment, represents less than 5% of UAlg students and we want to at least triple that percentage, four or five years after we have completed the installations», he added.

Until that happens, it will not be possible to «develop new training offers that can contribute to the diversification of the economic base of the territory».



The vision of the rector of UAlg is shared by Isilda Gomes, mayor of Portimão.

«We want to provide more training offer here in Barlavento, so that the number of university students increases significantly in the Algarve, which is one of the regions of the country with fewer students enrolling in Higher Education», framed the mayor.

As for the role of the City Council in making the future Campus a reality, it involves «giving the University of the Algarve an excellent plot of land for this purpose, in Barranco do Rodrigo, with 26.640 square meters, which even has a view of the sea».

«We want a true Campus to be built there, not what we have now, which is a pole. We want a university Campus, with more diversified courses, with more training offer», said Isilda Gomes.

With the creation of this new university complex, the local economy will benefit, which will benefit from the «appreciation of human resources», but, mainly, the young people and families of the Western Algarve.

«We want to bring education and training closer to target audiences. As everyone knows, it's not easy for our young people - those from Portimão, Lagos, Monchique, Aljezur - to go live Faro, because life is very expensive», illustrated Isilda Gomes.



The other apex of the triangle is the CCDR of the Algarve, whose president, José Apolinário, assumes «the commitment to defend with the Government and the European Commission the need to mobilize European funds, either from the Regional Operational Program [PO Algarve 2030], or from other lines of funding, to advance this Campus in Portimão».

«The CCDR, within the perspective of regional development that it presented to the Regional Council, in Albufeira, a month and a half ago, proposed to the European Commission that, in the next framework, there be a reinforcement in Higher Technical Courses of Professional Specialization (CTESP), of four semesters, mainly focused on the diversification of the economic base».

And that implies, defends this entity in its proposal, the creation of new infrastructures.

The CCDR, together with the UAlg, is advocating «investment in two buildings, one in Gambelas and the other in Portimão. And this investment could leverage the restart of the process of the new Campus of Portimão, with the support of the Chamber, which will have to guarantee the infrastructure and, perhaps, more support for the development of this project, of this ambition», concluded José Apolinário.

More than thinking about the always essential financing of the work, UAlg is already thinking about what the Portimão Campus could be in the future.



Currently, UAlg has in this Barlavento city an extension of the Higher School of Management, Hospitality and Tourism, where it teaches two degrees – Tourism and Hotel Management – ​​and a Master’s in Management of Small and Medium Enterprises.

«We want, in the future, to have other training offers. This is being studied. But changing what has been done depends a lot on having new infrastructure. Only from the moment the new Campus becomes a reality can we dream bigger», he told the Sul Informação Alexandra Gonçalves, director of ESGHT.

The future should involve the creation of a new organic unit in Portimão, not least because «it is very difficult to carry out the daily management of an organic unit in Portimão from Faro».

«The greater autonomy the new Campus has, which we hope will be created here in Portimão, the better», believes Alexandra Gonçalves.

Although there is not yet «a defined model», Paulo Águas admitted «the possibility of offering degrees in other areas in the future».

«But what I like most is the creation of an organic unit in Portimão. It is not my decision, it is a proposal that I will have to present to the General Council, which has already discussed the matter. This body understands that UAlg should increase its presence in the Western Algarve. Now, how this will be done is not fully defined, we will still have to debate what exactly the valences of this organic unit will be, although it is already certain that they will be in the STEAM areas – Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics».

«What no longer seems interesting to me is that, in Portimão, we have a place where there is a bit of each organic unit of Faro🇧🇷 That doesn't work. Portimão needs to have a strategy and that means having autonomy, an organic unit with elected bodies, which works with the rectory», concluded the head of the University of Algarve.