This is the second year in a row with our lives upended, depending largely on Zoom, Teams, Webex, and the like, perhaps now with less gloomy perspectives because we have vaccines, schools are open, as well as restaurants, and we know better than before how to work in a hybrid mode. Although all of Europe and a large part of the world currently face a new pandemic wave, the economic prospects are encouraging and there is even promising news of drugs with the potential to help treating COVID-19 infections.
All this progress, made over roughly a year and a half, was grounded in people and science. That is what INESC TEC is also about: people and science. But we know that leading people and science to actual social impact calls for a third pillar: organisation. In the case of INESC TEC, this has been embedded in our managed science model for years and without surprise has been well highlighted along the pandemic.
What we have been building together, and we are still improving and transforming, is not just any organisation. It is an institution capable of constantly influencing and adapting to its evolving context in the pursuit of its mission, even in harsh, troubling, and volatile circumstances like those that were imposed on us in 2021.
We were nevertheless able to publish in some of the best journals and present at some of the best conferences in our areas of work. We have organised top events, like the EUCN Conference (on-line), as well as the Autumn Forum (face2face) and the CENTRA Meeting, a US-Asia-Europe hybrid event. We went on working with companies, filing patents, licensing technology and mentoring start-ups. We put considerable effort in both direct contract research and national and European consortia projects, while preparing many proposals for future work. We have pursued investment in new labs, like the TEC4Sea vessel and the Innovation in Manufacturing Lab. And we still managed to generously contribute to public policies in different domains.
With all its challenges, 2021 was a year of sustainable growth, transformation, and preparation for the challenges ahead: the challenges of the country and the challenges of the society are our challenges too. This is especially true with the Innovation Agendas that are being promoted within the scope of the Recovery and Resilience Plan that Portugal is putting in place, where INESC TEC plays leading roles in areas of transformation of the country’s economic fabric in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
At the closing of the year, we wish to share with you our deep satisfaction and pride in what we have achieved together in 2021. All the Members of the Board wish to thank you for all that you have brought to INESC TEC through the year.
Have a Happy Season of festivities with your family and friends, stay safe and have an excellent year of 2022. We´ll then hopefully make up for the deprivation of Bolo-Rei and Champagne that you had to suffer this year at INESC TEC!
José Manuel Mendonça (Chairman of the Board)
João Claro (Chief Executive Officer)