The Insitituto Pedro Nunes – Association for Innovation and Development in Science and Technology (IPN) is a subject of private law, non-profit and public utility institution, created in 1991 as the result of an initiative of the University of Coimbra, the most important city of the Centro Region of Portugal. Assuming itself as an interface institution between scientific environment and the economical and entrepreneurial fabric, IPN connects those two worlds, promoting mutual knowledge, developing networks based on concrete projects and, most of all, transferring knowledge and technology.
IPN has for mission to promote a culture of innovation, quality, rigour and entrepreneurship, based upon a university / company solid connection. To accomplish this, it acts in three fields that strengthen and complement each other:
- Research and Technologic Development (RTD), consultancy and specialized services;
- Specialized formation and divulgement of science and technology;
- Incubation of business ideas and companies.
The IPN business incubator, IPN INCUBADORA, was created in 1995 with the purpose of stimulating entrepreneurship and promoting the creation of spin-off companies by the means of supporting innovative and technology-based ideas emerging from IPN’s own research labs, from superior education institutions (mainly from the University of Coimbra), from private sector and from RTD projects in consortia with the industrial sector.
In IPN INCUBADORA, the companies are provided with support for the elaboration of their business plan, privileged contacts with financing entities, easy access to the registered scientific and technologic system and, also, with an environment that allows them to enlarge their knowledge in matters such as financial and administrative management, marketing and internationalization.
Since the start of its activity, IPN INCUBADORA has supported almost 200 entrepreneurial projects with a survival rate of nearly 80%, several of them with internationally distinguished results and having generated 1800 highly qualified jobs, as well as a turnover of 75M € in 2011.
In recognition of these achievements, IPN INCUBADORA, a full member of the Technopolicy and WIN Networks, has been granted the award for Best Science-Based Incubator at the 2010 SBI Conference held in Liverpool, UK and a global 2nd place for the 5 year term 2006-2010, in last year’s event that took place in Auckland, New Zealand.
IPN INCUBADORA started its activity as science-based incubation was still stumbling on its first steps all over Europe, in the first half of the 90’s. Therefore, IPN INCUBADORA was a pioneer of this business in Portugal and, through the pass of the years, became a reference and a model to follow to other business incubators. This model, that involves all of IPN, makes of business incubation the last link of a knowledge transfer chain that begins in the University of Coimbra and ends up in the economic tissue of the Centro Region of Portugal.
The virtues of the model and the results achieved by its implementation –of which worth mention, as one of the most relevant for the Centro region, the creation by the incubated companies of almost 1800 highly qualified jobs– have earned for IPN the status of regional strategic partner in operational programs for regional entrepreneurship enhancement.
It is the case of the INOV C, a program that, among other objectives, aims to put in place a “Support System for Science and Technology Parks” in the Centro Region of Portugal; of IPN has been requested to disseminate its model and its good practices, in order to achieve economic and social valorization of infrastructures and activities directed to foster and support science and technology transfer, such as new science-based incubators. The award of Best Science-Based
Incubator conceded to IPN INCUBADORA by occasion of the IX SBI Conference of the Technopolicy Network held in Liverpool UK, November 2010, also granted a considerable capital of public acknowledgment and even political recognition to all of IPN, both at regional and