As mentioned by the Mayor of Aveiro, José Ribau Esteves, “We aim at competing with the stronger national economic centres, being able to attract and retain the necessary talents for our economy to grow and produce more added-value, making Aveiro a more competitive city globally”. The challenge of Aveiro STEAM City, indeed, is not how to create more jobs, but how to improve the added-value and socio-economic wealth produced by the jobs created. Such a complex and present-day challenge cannot be addressed by traditional means. It means helping local firms to rethink the resources they need to innovate and grow, and that may not be just those traditionally associated with functions like engineers, coders, etc., but other creative roles equipped with the necessary digital competences. It also means that we need to address short term and long term needs, and that is why an innovative educational program to promote STEAM competences will be implemented, already, from October 2019.
The kick-off has seen the presence of the European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, Carlos Moedas, who stated: “Aveiro, once again, is leading the way. When we see so many cities and universities that competed for this project, Aveiro was the only Portuguese city and with this project Aveiro positions itself for the future of what will be the capacity, or not, to win”. Also Raffaele Barbato, Project Coordinator from Urban Innovative Actions, stressed in his intervention the great work that Aveiro carried out in order to become one of the 55 UIA cities in Europe and closed his speech looking already at the future implementation of the project. He said: “A new bold journey is starting today! A project that will improve the quality of life of Aveiro’s local community”.
The event counted with over 250 participants, including project partners, other different stakeholders and the local community.