The president of IBM Portugal, Ricardo Martinho, announced that the company will create an innovation and technology center in Coimbra, which will work in areas such as artificial intelligence and smart cities.
Ricardo Martinho, president of IBM Portugal, announced the creation of the innovation and technology center during the Coimbra Invest Summit, where the company and its subsidiary Softinsa also signed a protocol with the University of Coimbra and the Coimbra City Council to draw up an integrated development program for the region.
“The ambition is great and what we want is to quickly start working on this project and for it to come to fruition as soon as possible,” the president of IBM Portugal told Lusa after signing the protocol.
Still without an estimate of the number of jobs to be created by the center, Ricardo Martinho explained that the center should start, in temporary facilities, in 2023 and that it should be operational in 2024, “with an idea of resources and jobs”.
According to the official, some of the areas to be explored in the future center will be artificial intelligence, but also smart cities. For Ricardo Martinho, the future innovation and technology center and the celebrated integrated development program are related.
“The protocol will dictate the quality and capacity of the center, because in this protocol we want to identify the priority areas for the Coimbra region, in line with IBM’s priorities,” he said.
The protocol should lead to the requalification of “some of the University of Coimbra’s own training areas, so that they are in line with the creation of talent in the areas that will be needed and with the needs of the municipality and what makes the most sense for the region,” he added, noting that there could be training designed for the renewal of careers and specialized supply “in what are the areas of added value and that can be differentiating”.
At the signing ceremony, Ricardo Martinho thanked the mayor “for his inspiring leadership” and predicted that the program now announced would allow Coimbra to be used as a “model city and living laboratory to test features” in areas such as smart cities, energy efficiency and sustainability.
Coimbra’s entrepreneurial ecosystem will also be able to count on IBM’s “methodology” and technology.
“Why Coimbra? The involvement, effort and commitment we feel from the leadership of Coimbra City Council and the University of Coimbra clearly make a difference,” said Ricardo Martinho.
The rector of the University of Coimbra, Amílcar Falcão, foresees “short-term results” from the partnership, considering that the program “will be disruptive”.
The mayor of Coimbra, José Manuel Silva, highlighted the fact that several institutions are working together, believing that the opening of an IBM center in the city and the development program to be developed will be “a tremendous opportunity” for the municipality.
“For Coimbra, it’s a quantum leap. This is the path to the future that it wants to take,” he said, arguing that the city should be increasingly “epicentric in scientific, technological and environmental development”.