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MOST SUSTAINABLE UNIVERSITY OF PORTUGAL AND No. 1 in Portugal in the HEALTH AND WELL-BEING category
WORLD HERITAGE SITE
level of employment of graduates at the University of Coimbra
one of the first 40 universities in the world with FISU Healthy Campus certification
A document by King Dinis, dated 1March, announces the foundation of the “General Study” in Lisbon, as a result of a plea addressed to the king two years before by a large group of clergymen. The confirmation was given by Pope Nicholas IV’s bull De Statu Regni Portugalliae on the 9th August 1290. Portugal thus becomes the 5th state to join the University Europe, integrating the small group of 15 universities by the end of the 13th century. De Statu Regni Portugalliae. Portugal thus became the fifth state to join university Europe, integrating the scarce batch of fifteen active universities at the end of the 13th century.
The transfer of the “General Study” from Lisbon to Coimbra, acknowledged the cultural pre-eminence of the city (with its Cathedral and the Santa Cruz Monastery) as well as its greater capacity to offer the university community a better study environment.
Transfer of the Royal Palace to Prince Pedro, Duke of Coimbra and future king (1439-1449). Important renovations in St. Michael’s Chapel and in the entire west wing (with a new residential area).
O Livro 1 dos Book 1 of the Books of the University of Lisbon from 1506 to 1526 contains the first documentary reference to a library at the University, probably of public access (which was not common at the time).
King João III permanently establishes the University in Coimbra and remodels it, offering it the Royal Palace. Several Colleges are created (the Royal College of Arts, St. Paul’s and St. Peter’s Colleges). Faculty members are renewed, within a new scientific spirit. In Coimbra one can now find world-class professors, such as the Portuguese mathematician Pedro Nunes, or the Spanish philosopher and theologian Francisco Suárez (known as Doctor Eximius), as well as French, Scottish and Flemish experts, among others.
The College of Coimbra was one of the first to be installed by the Company of Jesus worldwide. It became famous for a set of comments (made between 1592 and 1606) to the main works of Aristotle; the authors of this internationally known work are known as “Os Conimbricenses”. Descartes, for instance, studied “The Coimbra Jesuit Aristotelian Course” at the La Flèche College.
The University buys the Royal Palace from King Filipe I (Filipe II of Spain). For the first time in the European history, a University is settled in a Royal Palace, where we still find it today.
Renovation of the Sala dos Capelos, within the scope of the Restoration during the Rectorate of Manuel Saldanha. The work was conducted by the master António Tavares and the ceiling was built by Francisco Morais and painted by Jacinto Pereira da Costa. The famous gallery of royal portraits (from King Afonso Henriques to King João IV, excluding the Spanish monarchs), by the Danish painter Karl Falch, also dates from this period. The room acquired the layout it has today, including tile coverings, rosewood railings and the mannerist chair, among other features.
Construction of a new building in the west wing of the Royal Palace to accommodate the “Casa da Livraria” (House of the Library). The architect of the work which the University itself financed is unknown, but the final result was ... the most beautiful Baroque library in the World! About 60,000 works are kept here, especially from the 16th to the 18th centuries, in several different languages.
The Baroque organ, a miracle regarding the use of the available space, was built by the Benedictine organist Manuel de S. Bento Gomes, with a chinoiserie painting by Gabriel Ferreira da Cunha. The sound of this organ of multiple records is exceptional, and it was probably premiered by Carlos Seixas, born in Coimbra, former organist of the Cathedral and a prominent musician at the court of King João V.
The Marquis of Pombal himself came to Coimbra to deliver the new Statutes. Two new Schools were then created: the Faculty of Mathematics and the Faculty of Natural Philosophy (Natural Sciences). Some buildings were adapted (such as the ones that belonged to the Jesuits, who were expelled), as well as new buildings of neoclassicist construction with projects designed by Lieutenant-Colonel Guilherme Elsden. The UC then launched itself in a pioneering way on the path of experimental science, being endowed with “Laboratorio Chimico” (The Chemistry Laboratory), Anatomical Theatre, Physics Office, Astronomical Observatory, University Press, among other equipment. The foundation of the Botanical Garden is also being prepared, according to a project by the Italian naturalist Domenico Vandelli, its first director.
In the scope of the French Invasions, a body of Academic Volunteers is formed in Coimbra. The Batallion, which includes a few dozen students (involving an Artillery Sergeant, Bernardo António Zagalo) advances to Figueira da Foz, where it takes the “Forte de Santa Catarina” from the French. Afterwards, there are operations in Leiria and the surrounding region, led by Engineer Sergeant Major Tristão da Costa Silveira (Mathematics teacher). This is when the first newspaper in Coimbra was born: “Minerva Lusitana”.
Date of the license that approves the statutes of the Dramatic Academy, now called the Academic Association of Coimbra. The first president was a law student named António Luís Gomes. Its first headquarters was the former College of São Paulo Apóstolo, in the same place where the UC General Library is installed today..
Beginning of the students’ movement against the dictatorial regime of Estado Novo. On this day, at the inauguration of the Mathematics building, attended by the President of the Portuguese Republic (Admiral Américo Tomás) and the Minister of National Education (Dr. José Hermano Saraiva), among other personalities, the President of the General-Directorate of the Coimbra Academic Association, Alberto Martins, a student from the Faculty of Law, asked to take the floor but was not allowed to speak. It was the beginning of the largest student crisis ever in Portugal.
This is the 15th Portuguese site classified by UNESCO, following a process launched in 2004 by Rector Fernando Seabra Santos. The University of Coimbra is one of the few universities in the world to have this status. In the final decision of UNESCO, taken at a meeting in Cambodia, the support of the countries of the Portuguese-speaking community was especially important. In 2019, the Machado de Castro National Museum was integrated into the classified area.
Building a modern, competitive and sustainable future, preserving history, culture and tradition.
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STAFF OF UNIVERSITY OF COIMBRA
Throughout its history, the UC has been through a lot, and it often had a say.
We are living one of the most complicated times of our lives. That is undeniable. However, throughout its history, the University of Coimbra has been through some of the most significant periods and events of humankind, many of them equally challenging. If we are still here it is because we always knew how to overcome adversities and how to use them to become stronger. These challenges inspire us to do better. For more than 700 years, we have been redesigning the future in social action, research, innovation, teaching, health and sustainability. This has only been possible thanks to a set of characteristics. That is the UC Identity.
social action is part of uc identity
In 1309, King Dinis grants the UC the Magna Charta Privilegiorum, with a set of norms of social protection for the students of the University of Coimbra, creating what would be the first basic law of social action in Higher Education. Nearly 500 students are supported by the University of Coimbra every year through scholarships and the Social Support Fund. There are more than 1,500 students living in the residences provided by the UC. During the COVID-19 pandemic, social action has become even more relevant both economically and emotionally and the University of Coimbra will continue to work on building a better future for its students and for society.
sustainability is part of uc identity
The history of the University of Coimbra is itself an example of sustainability. The Royal Palace, where almost all the kings of Portugal’s 1st Dynasty were born, was built on an Islamic alcove, which in turn was built on ruins of the Roman era. It is in this same space that today an important part of the UC still operates. In order to double its 700 years of history, the UC has adopted a series of measures that have placed it in the top 100 of the most sustainable universities worldwide, which aim to make it the first Portuguese university to achieve carbon neutrality.
Teaching is part of the UC Identity
Some of the most outstanding personalities of Portuguese culture, science and politics have studied at the University of Coimbra. Writers like Almeida Garrett, Eça de Queiroz and Miguel Torga; scientists like Pedro Nunes or Cristovão Clávio; statesmen such as the Marquis of Pombal or José Bonifácio de Andrada e Silva (the father of Brazil's independence), the list of students who graduated from the University of Coimbra merges with the history of Portugal. For more than 730 years, the University of Coimbra has been concerned with building a modern and competitive future while preserving history, culture and tradition.
research is part of the UC Identity
In 1772 the Marquis of Pombal started an unprecedented reform in the University of Coimbra. The Pombaline reform placed experimental teaching at the top of the University concerns and scientific research eventually took on a crucial role in the work developed by the UC. Since then, it became clear that the research carried out at the University of Coimbra was essential for the evolution and well-being of society and, from that moment on, one of the most important links of the UC identity. Currently, the University of Coimbra has over 1,000 researchers working in around forty research centres and almost 500 ongoing research projects.
health and well-being are part of the UC Identity
Over the more than 730 years of its existence, the UC has faced and resisted several epidemics, such as the Black Death, which killed one third of the European population, or the 20th century Pneumonic Influenza. The COVID-19 pandemic is another challenge in the long list of obstacles that the UC has overcome throughout its history. Health has always been one of the major concerns of the University of Coimbra, which has made it the most highly rated Portuguese university in the good health and well-being categories in the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings. The UC has seized the knowledge and experience acquired over the years to prepare to fight the pandemic from the beginning. Since April 2020, the UC Clinical Analysis Laboratory created a unit dedicated exclusively to the analysis of diagnostic tests for the novel coronavirus. Investing in health and well-being and in building a society with a better quality of life will always be a priority for the University of Coimbra.
innovation is part of the UC Identity
In the 15th and 16th centuries, the extraordinary epic of the Portuguese Discoveries took place, an era of strong scientific and technological innovation in which scientific knowledge acquired at the University of Coimbra played an essential role. 730 years later, the University of Coimbra is still an engine of technological development and entrepreneurship in the region and in the country. In Coimbra there is one of the best business incubators in the world, the Pedro Nunes Institute, comprising 50% of the spin-offs of the University of Coimbra. Near the city, in Cantanhede, BIOCANT is the first biotechnological park in Portugal, created in partnership with the UC, gathering cutting-edge research centres and companies in the area of biosciences. In addition, UC professors and researchers have the “UC Business” at their disposal, a unit specialized in promoting and advising on connections between the university and the business community.
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