Business technology solutions

Technology Interface Centers: catalysts of innovation and knowledge transfer to the economy


Since 2000, there has been an effort to requalify the business fabric in Portugal. This commitment has resulted in the introduction of digital technologies and new skills, but has also led to the emergence of new technology-based companies. This process highlights the role of TICs, liaison entities between higher education institutions and companies.


Innovation is the critical success factor of the business fabric, in a globalized economy where companies will only be competitive if they are able to produce products, services or differentiating solutions.

As President of the National Innovation Agency, I am to lead it in the pursuit of its mission: to support technological and business innovation in Portugal, contributing to the consolidation of the National Innovation System (SNI) and to increasing the competitiveness of our economy in global markets. In constant coordination with other national public policy objectives, we intend to help Portugal position itself in the group of ‘Strongly Innovative’ countries by the end of the next decade.

Since 2000, we have seen in Portugal an effort to requalify the business fabric, with the introduction of digital technologies and new skills, but also the emergence of technology-based companies, many from academia and the scientific and technological system. Known as “born global”, they have highly qualified human resources and compete with the best in the world in their areas of expertise.

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Interface Centers

Nevertheless, it is still seen that there is still a huge fringe of the business fabric that is not properly exploiting the potential offered by digitising the industry. These are, above all, small and micro enterprises that need a clear strategy and whose daily lives are primarily related to liquidity problems, access to sources of finance and qualified human resources. But they are also companies with concrete technological challenges, for which they have difficulty finding answers or even in formulating the right questions. And it was precisely to respond to this gap that a process of recognition and capacity building of existing technological infrastructures (called Interface Centers – TIC) was launched in 2017.

TICs are liaison entities between higher education institutions (universities and polytechnics) and companies engaged in the economic enhancement of knowledge and technology transfer.

Currently, there are 28 Interface Centres recognized by the Ministry of Economy, which received, in total, a total of around 33 million euros for the next three years, through the Fund for Technological Innovation (FITEC). Spread throughout the country and operating in various areas of knowledge, these centers are designed to help companies find innovative technological solutions that can overcome market failures, weaknesses and structural deficits.


The ISQ is one of the national entities recognized as interface center and its role in the development of various services and solutions to support the restructuring and business requalification is unquestionable.

Over the past 30 years, ISQ has been a partner or coordinator on more than 500 R&D projects, invested in a highly qualified human resources framework and has become one of the most prestigious Portuguese technological infrastructures at national and international level.

ANI is the entity responsible for monitoring the activity of The ItCs over the coming years, supporting them whenever necessary in their mission to empower companies in their innovation process. Because we believe in the value of the work developed by the CIT, in February 2019 we launched the Technological Demonstrator, a set of inclusive events open to the participation of all companies and entities with innovation projects based on scientific and technological.

Framed in the More Innovation Roadmap, this initiative aims to disseminate, demonstrate and make known to society the results of innovation and entrepreneurship developed by the Interface Centers.


The Technological Demonstrator, promoted by ANI under the SIAC – Knowledge Transfer Initiative, aims to involve the national business fabric with the results of innovation and entrepreneurship based on scientific and technological.
This activity will take place in several Interface Centers (CIT) which are liaison entities between higher education institutions and companies, dedicating themselves to the valorization of knowledge and technology transfer.



Former President of Portugal National Innovation Agency

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