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OECD Review of Higher Education, Research and Innovation: Portugal

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Portugal aims to develop a more innovative, inclusive and productive economy, and to ensure that the ensuing benefits are widely distributed, regionally and socially. This report assesses the extent to which Portugal’s higher education, research and innovation system is well configured to help Portugal achieve its vision of inclusive innovation, and identify which policy options might help it achieve its goals.

The assessment and the related recommendations focus on: 1) governance, strategy and funding in higher education, research and innovation; 2) the missions, profiles and use of resources of higher education institutions; 3) undergraduate and master’s level education activities; 4) doctoral training activities; 5) academic careers; 6) high-skill employment and business innovation.

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High-skilled employment, co-operation with HEIs and innovation in the business sector

Although Portugal has significantly increased its innovation capacity since it joined the European Union, the innovation output of Portuguese businesses have remained at a low level in international comparison, partly due to the dominance of SMEs and the weight of traditional sectors in the economy. Strong efforts have been dedicated to the support of research-based innovation and the upgrading of low-tech small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The government has progressively created a diversified system of intermediary organisations to support SMEs upgrade their innovation capacity and collaborate with academia. They fulfil a wide range of business knowledge transfer and service needs, but most of these organisations have, until recently, operated with fragile business models without systematic public support, which has hindered their ability to fulfil their mission.

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