The CBQF has always maintained close links to the socio-economic environment of the country with an obvious emphasis on the northern region, and in particular its industrial and educational structures. In its portfolio, ESB/CBQF has offered industry not only specialized vocational training at various levels, but also many types of technical assistance – whether by direct contract under guarantee of confidentiality, or in the form of partial public financing. These services started in 2011 to be organized and delivered as Scientific Services.
Several projects were continued with schools and other institutions concerning consumer education on food safety and nutrition: e.g. NUTRIBRINCA, for children 6 to 12 years old; PEPINO for children 3 to 12 years old (2618 students participated); SABERFUNCIONAIS on functional foods, their properties, sources and benefits, directed to the food industry, health professionals and the community in general. An agro-portal and a platform for virtual training in food technology were also developed.
A series of seminar presentations at Portuguese elementary and secondary schools were regularly taken place concerning food, nutrition, health and environmental education. A programme of placements of students from Schools in the CBQF Labs is being carried out in the context of newly created Research Club.
Given the increase in the number of cases of listeriosis, ESB and CBQF has been present in the media (ex. TV, daily journals) providing useful informations to people at risk of listeriosis (the elderly, pregnant women and immuno-compromised patients) and their caregivers, health professionals and community in general. A web page and information materials are kept available for this purpose.
Different research results or problems being studied became regular presence on the media: TV, Radio, Press and Internet.
Public and free mass diffusion tools regarding Local Agenda 21 and ecoeducation (focusing, not exclusively, on green cities and water and solid waste management alternatives), have been instrumental in the creation of a real connection with the outside world, e.g.: Olympics for secondary school. Of noteworthy relevance is the creation of CRE, the northern Portugal Regional Center for Expertise on Education for Sustainability, recognized by UN and which has become a reference in the Porto Metropolitan Area and in the country.
Several major activities have been organized to promote students’ awareness of science, engineering and technology:
- Semana Aberta around 2000 to 3000 secondary school participants each year involving science and technology experimentation and demonstration.
- Olimpíadas da Biotecnologia – around 1.500 secondary school participants in the last years.
- Olimpíadas do Ambiente (national) – around 21.000 secondary school participants in 2011.
- Visits to CBQF laboratories: around 3.000 school students in 2011.
CBQF keeps a regular offer of national and international seminars in their areas of activity (30 in 2011)
With regard to interaction with civil society, the ESB has 25 years’ experience of this via its industrial association AESBUC which is developing the role of a Strategic Advisory Board. More recently the concept of academic chairs has been developed with several large companies – already with some success.