Elisabete Brigadeiro is the coordinator for the Oeiras Science and Technology Strategy, a transformative agenda for society that promotes scientific culture and brings citizens closer to the Science being produced in the municipality.
The Oeiras Science and Technology Strategy develops, co-organises and finances initiatives by the Council and by the partners of the scientific ecosystem of Oeiras.
The aim is to support scientific research carried out in the municipality, as well as providing access to more and better knowledge, encouraging the people of Oeiras to participate and to get involved.
Learn more about the Oeiras Science and Technology Strategy through the words of Elisabete Brigadeiro, the “Face of Science” who is coordinating this strategy and who aims to position Oeiras as the Capital of Science and Innovation by 2025.
When and in what context did the concept of the Oeiras Science and Technology Strategy come about?
The Oeiras Science and Technology Strategy was formally presented in September 2019 and represents the opportunity and the enormous challenge to contribute to the construction of a more knowledgeable, inclusive and collaborative society.
We took the pre-existing dynamics as a starting point, but today the challenges are more comprehensive and require the territory to be able to position itself nationally and internationally. This involves creating an ambitious strategy that adopts the scientific-technological culture of the region and provides broad support and encouragement for research and development activities and their link to the community.
In Oeiras, we defined this strategy and opened a dialogue with research and education institutions, with the business community and with civil society. We took them on as partners in this ecosystem, where knowledge and openness to the world exists through Science.
What are the purposes and benefits of the Oeiras Science and Technology Strategy?
Improving people’s lives. This is always the first and foremost purpose of public policy. And to do so in a lasting and sustained way. How? Training, valuing the Municipality’s skills and instilling an attitude of appreciation and a liking for Science in people.
We strive to provide a regular offer of activities that stimulate curiosity, promote scientific culture and bring citizens closer to the Science produced in the Municipality.
At the same time, we increase the visibility and notoriety of the scientific activity taking place in the Municipality of Oeiras and affirm the Municipality as the one that most actively contributes to the scientific literacy of the community in the country.
This strategy is a response, with dimension and objective political support, because the current municipal council decided to allocate 1% of the municipal budget to its development each year.
What are the main initiatives of the Oeiras Science and Technology Strategy?
We are already funding impactful projects, which enable structured and structuring support for Science, filling the gap between research and its application, which translates into economic and social value for the region and for the country.
I would like to highlight the focus on setting up hubs in the areas of Life Sciences and Blue Economy, funding mechanisms for top research and funding for proofs of concept.
In the area of raising awareness and public involvement, I shall emphasise the programmes Oeiras Educa+, Lab in a Box, Startup Research, Ciência + Cidadã, Cogito and the António Coutinho Science Awards, as some good examples of the work that has been done with all our partners.
These financial incentives, together with the very favourable conditions for setting up companies and science and technology-based institutions, allow us to build a solid network of partnerships that put us in a particularly good position to respond to new challenges.
Also worth mentioning is FIC.A, the International Science Festival, a pioneer in Portugal, of which the Municipality of Oeiras is the main financer, and which was sponsored by the President of the Republic. It will take place in the gardens of the Marquês de Pombal Palace in Oeiras between 12 and 17 October 2021.
This set of initiatives underpins the municipal initiative and contributes to the Municipality’s aspiration of becoming the European Capital of Culture in 2027.
What are the citizens’ and partners’ expectations of the Oeiras Council regarding the Oeiras Science and Technology Strategy?
People have been more aware of the importance and value of science since the Municipality publicly stated the importance of investing in this area, although it is also true that the pandemic made the importance of science more visible.
In Oeiras, this work is facilitated by our demanding citizens who dare to challenge and to be challenged. They are critical, they get involved and they want the municipality to deal with the current situation moment ethically and socially responsibly. They hope, through this strategy, to have access to more and better knowledge, which will support their ideas, their choices and their participation and involvement in community life.
Our partners, in turn, expect us to support them in their mission to think about future problems and to investigate how to solve them, contributing to the advancement of scientific knowledge and putting it to the service of society.
What have you taken away from the Oeiras Science and Technology Strategy since its creation and how do you see its future?
Firstly, the Oeiras Science and Technology Strategy has stimulated the relationship and open dialogue between the municipality and research and development institutions, universities and companies, increasing institutional cooperation. It is a positive indicator that adds value to the territory and affirms it as an example, with demonstrative potential, among its peers at national and international level.
Secondly, it initiated a continuous relationship between science and society, valuing the social recognition of science, the promotion of scientific culture and, most importantly, public participation and appropriation of knowledge.
Thirdly, the identification of science as an area of policy intervention, with a dedicated budget and staff, is an example of how innovation and adaptation should be encouraged through governance, by adopting local policy measures with serious national reach.
Finally, we expect this strategy to attract and retain talent and to create more and better jobs, which is essential for qualified and sustained growth and for people’s well-being.
We propose to publicly debate the results and impact of this strategy and to identify the demonstrative potential for other municipalities.