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(11 - 04 - 2014)


Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn is in the Portuguese region Centro on 11 April together with Minister of the cabinet of the Prime Minister and for Regional Development Miguel Maduro where he will visit two EU funded projects, Biocant and TecBis, which are seen as important examples of how structural funds can be used to support Portugal as it emerges from the crisis as to create good reliable jobs for the future.

Located in the central part of the Portugal, the Centro region with 2.3 million inhabitants has a strategic position since it is located between the two biggest urban centres in Portugal, Lisbon and Porto. Its regional capital is Coimbra. The region is characterized by a low population density and a desertification of the "inland" areas (except for the urban centres Coimbra and Porto) in contrast to the coastal areas which are highly populated and urbanized.

The economy in the Centro region is focussed on low technology industrial sectors (ceramics, glass, cement), forest industry (wood, pulp, paper, agro-food) and on high-tech sectors such as health services, biotechnology, telecommunications, new materials (particularly the moulds industry), ICT, and renewable energies.


What are the region’s priorities and how has EU regional policy contributed?

For the programming period 2007-2013, the regional programme 'Centro' represents a 2.9 billion investment with 1.7 billion funding from the ERDF. The regional development programme  is organized around three main priorities:

  • Competitiveness, innovation and knowledge: increase the presence of innovative enterprises in the regional economy, support the internationalization of SMEs, while investing in scientific and technological infrastructure and increase investment in Research & Development; 


  • Valorisation of the regional space: develop the potential of the region’s assets in the fields of environment protection, risk management and culture. 


  • Local and urban cohesion: support to urban networks for competitiveness and innovation, urban and rural renewal, local equipment for cohesion including education and health infrastructure.

For the new period 2014-2020, the Centro region can expect a significant share of the € 16.67 billion that has been set aside for the so called less developed regions of Portugal (Norte, Centro, Alentejo and Açores). This forms the greatest part of the €21.5bn going to Portugal to support the creation of new jobs and the support of areas like research, innovation, energy efficiency and medium sized business  and the region is expected to become an "Innovation leader".


Project examples

Biocant : EU contribution EUR 9 million

Next to its own research and development (R&D) centre, BIOCANT features a business incubator for new enterprises active in Life Sciences and biotechnology research. The knowledge cluster and scientific networks in place attract talented young researchers to Portugal’s Centre region. Since 2005, BIOCANT Park has grown to host 25 businesses, a third of the total number of biotechnology companies in Portugal. Together, they have attracted around EUR 70 million of investment, out of which EUR 40 million comes from national and international private investors. Over 300 highly qualified jobs, mostly for young MSc or PhD graduates, have been created.


TecBis: EU contribution EUR 7 million

With its Technology.Business.Innovation.Sustainable Growth (TecBIS)Business Accelerator, the Instituto Pedro Nunes (IPN) provides advanced services to technology-based and innovative businesses, promoting technology transfer and internationalisation. In close cooperation with academic and scientific institutions such as the University of Coimbra, TecBIS aims to support around 20 high-tech and high-growth businesses by 2016. In addition to the 12 new jobs within IPN’s support team, the companies located in TecBIS are expected to create over 200 new jobs by 2020. The project also has a beneficial effect on the wider region, retaining and attracting around 400 qualified positions to IPN and the University of Coimbra’s business campus in the same period.


UNITED RESINS - Resins Production SA: EU contribution EUR 5.3 million

UNITED RESINS produces resins mainly derived from rosin with varied applications in adhesives and printing inks industries . Located in Figueira da Foz it received EU funding for productive investment by the establishment of the company and for the expansion of its production capacity using innovative technology. Thanks to this investment, the company has grown up from 30 people around 80 people.


Moldes RP: EU contribution EUR 4.6 million

Located in Marinha Grande, Moldes RP is a company specialized in the production of plastic injection molds for several business sectors.  Thanks to EU financing the company has modernized its equipment, implemented innovative manufacturing processes and integrated all sorfware tools in order to optimize the production processes and to reduce time. EU financing also supported two R & D projects from Moldes RP, one of them in cooperation with the University of Coimbra and CENTIMFE - Technological Center for Industrial Molds.


Further Information

Operational Programme CENTRO
Region of Centro