IPN Model

Project information

Index: 0969R2
Priority:1: Innovation and the knowledge economy
Sub Theme:Innovation, research and technology development
Location PORTUGAL CONTINENTE COIMBRA Centro (P) Start/End date of the practice
Start: 1995-12-01
End: in implementation

Topic of the practice

- enhancing university/enterprise relationship; - Technology Transfer; - Tech-based start-ups creation.

Good Practice Information

Instituto Pedro Nunes is the technology transfer organization from Coimbra University.
Its mission is to leverage a strong university / enterprise relationship for the promotion of innovation, quality and entrepreneurship in private and public sector organizations, by acting in three complementary areas:
- Research and technological development, consultancy and specialized services;
- Business and ideas incubation;
- Highly specialized training and promotion of science and technology
IPN has its own technological infrastructures – six R&TD laboratories and a Business Incubator that promotes the creation of tech based firms by giving support to innovative and technology-based ideas generated by its own laboratories, institutions of higher education, and other entrepreneurs. As a transversal support, the Innovation Department: provides services on intellectual property, support to RTD projects, and marketing and technology commercialization.

It also belongs to several national and international networks, including TII, EARTO, Incubator Forum and Proton (Gate2Growth).

IPN has specialized laboratories in Automation and Systems, Information Technologies, Materials, Electro analysis and Corrosion:, Pharmaceutical Studies and Geotechnique, besides accessing a network of researchers in the scientific and technological system, particularly from the University of Coimbra, mainly through the Faculty of Sciences and Technology. It also has a Training Department that organizes high level technological specialized training and training addressed to young entrepreneurs engaged in the creation of start-up companies.

IPN- Incubator has recently won the 1st place in the world award for "Best Science based incubator”. The award was given during the 9th Annual Incubator Conference and Awards on "Best Practices in Science Based Incubators" on November 18 and 19, 2010 in Liverpool, UK. Rankings for the award are based on a combination of 25 quantitative performance indica
1. Detailed description of the promoting entity and of its skills
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. 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 technologies.
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;
- Incubation of business ideas and companies;
-Specialized formation and divulgement of science and technology.
RTD activity assumes pivotal importance for the economic and entrepreneurial fabric, contributing to ensure innovation in its products and productive processes, a determinant issue to achieve competitive capacity that, in a global market, is assessed to be more and more indispensable. The strong connection that IPN keeps with the University of Coimbra, prime source of knowledge, together with the multi-level connections established with other superior education institutions, both national and international, have placed IPN in a privileged position to conduct RTD activities together with companies.
For that purpose, IPN makes use of its own technology development labs, in diversified areas such as informatics, automation, materials, geotechnique and others, plus the access to a comprehensive network of researchers from Portugal’s registered scientific and technologic system, particularly from the University of Coimbra, some of them organize

Evidence of success

Through its business incubator, in activity since 1996, IPN has supported the creation and development of about 150 technology and/or innovation-based projects

Total firms supported: > 150 (in 15 years)
% of firms in activity: > 80%
Annual aggregated turnover of incubated firms (2010): > 70 M euros
Job creation: > 1.500 jobs (direct)
Self-sustainable business model
High return on Public Invesment

Through its business incubator, in activity since 1996, IPN has supported the creation and development of about 150 technology and/or innovation-based projects with nationally and internationally distinguished results, among which can be mentioned, as examples, companies such as Critical Software S.A., Crioestaminal-Saúde e Tecnologia, S.A., Wit-Software, Lda., CWJ-Componentes Eléctricos e Electrónicos, S.A., Netvita-Sistemas de Informação, Lda. or Active Space Technologies, Lda. All of these companies are cases of technologic entrepreneurship of undeniable success, highly recognized by the Portuguese market and with a growing stake bet on the international markets, constituting thus real exponents and examples of the modern, dynamic, and entrepreneur Portugal that all of Portuguese wish to build.
The success of these and other cases of technologic entrepreneurship is also attested by numerous awards and distinctions, pointing out the following:
Critical Software – “Young Entrepreneur Award”, granted by Portuguese Young Entrepreneurs National Association (ANJE) (1998);
XMLpontoPT and Netvita – citation of honour in the edition of annual young entrepreneur awards of Portuguese Young Entrepreneurs National Association (ANJE) (2001);
Aferymed – Portuguese national winner of the start-up category of European award for entrepreneurial spirit (JEE & EFS Awards) participating in the respective European finale (2001);
Aferymed – winner of the innovation category of ANJE annual young entrepreneur award (2001);
Critical Software – citation of honour in “Coimbra Innovation and Excellence” award (2003);
Crioestaminal – “Young Entrepreneur Award” granted by ANJE (2003);
Insert-Solutions – Winner of the Business Ideas’ Contest of Entrepreneurs’ Club / University of Coimbra (2004);
Crioestaminal – “Coimbra Innovation and Excellence” award (2005);
Critical Software – distinguished, for the third consecutive year, as one of the 500 fastest growing companies in Europe;
Active Space Technologies – “Young Entrepreneur Award” granted by ANJE (2007);
Bruno Ramos de Carvalho, founder & CEO of Active Space Technologies, was elected as one of the 10 finalists of “Young Entrepreneur” European Award (2007);
Infogene - “Bio-Entrepreneur of the Year” award granted by APBIO – Portuguese Association of Bio-Industries;
Infogene – “BES-Innovation” award, granted by Banco Espírito Santo (2007/2008);
CWJ, WIT-Software and Crioestaminal – “SME Leader” label granted by IAPMEI (2007);
Critical Software (with EdgeBox product) – “Convergence Product of the Year” international award granted by TechWorld (2007);
Critical Software – COTEC Award – BPI Innovation 2008;
Active Space Technologies and Crioestaminal – Admission to COTEC Innovation network that congregates 100 of the most innovative SME in Portugal;
Critical SW, CWJ, WIT-Software and Crioestaminal – “SME Excellence” label granted by IAPMEI (2009);
ITSD, WIT-Software, Crioestaminal – “SME Excellence” label granted by IAPMEI (2010);

The following results, computed until December 31, 2010 and respecting to all of the companies supported by the incubator, are to be pointed out:
Survival Rate >80%
Accumulated Turnover in 2010 (35% of exports) >70 M€
Current Direct Employment (highly qualified) >1500

After a route to success of wide acknowledgment at national level, IPN Incubator has recently achieved the following international distinctions:

2010 - 1st Place at world’s contest “Best Science-based Incubator Award”
2009 – 7th Place at world’s contest “Best Science-based Incubator Award”
2008 – 2nd Place at world’s contest “Best Science-based Incubator Award”
2007 – 5th Place at world’s contest “Best Science-based Incubator Award”

The attribution of this award is based upon the analysis of a combination of 25 indicators of performance of the Incubator itself and of the incubated companies, carried out by the Centre for Strategy and Evaluation Services (CSES), founded by former members of Ernst & Young Economics Group. The results are assessed by an international jury composed by scientists and highly qualified experts.
IPN Incubator is, in its turn, one of the key players of RIERC – Portuguese Central Region Incubation and Entrepreneurship Network, informal network that gathers 12 incubators aiming the development of several joint and complementary actions in that region, in the areas of incubation and qualified entrepreneurship promotion.
Further still, IPN is a reference institution for the FINICIA-Coimbra-Leiria platform, a network for raising projects to be presented to investors and venture capitals, distinguishing itself by presenting innovative projects from entrepreneurs that search for venture capital instruments’ funding.

Contact details to obtain further information on the practice

Ana Seguro

IPN Incubadora



Annex completed on: 09-27-2011

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