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Interview with the President of SPOT Nordic to Jornal das Comunidades Lusófonas: "SPOT Nordic wants to be a pillar of connection and innovation for the Portuguese in the Nordic Countries"

The President of SPOT Nordic, David Pereira de Castro, gave an interview to Jornal das Comunidades Lusófonas, where he discussed the development of the association and the impact it is beginning to have, summarizing SPOT Nordic's four years of activity.

Photographer: Charlotte de la Fuente

"Since it was founded in 2019, SPOT Nordic has sought to play an active role in promoting scientific and professional diplomacy between Portugal and the Nordic countries," said David Pereira de Castro. "With a presence in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland, SPOT Nordic has become a meeting point for Portuguese researchers and graduated professionals who wish to maintain a strong relationship with Portugal."

David Pereira de Castro: A Trajectory of Evolution

"My journey is marked by several important stages," said David Pereira de Castro. "After graduating in Public Administration from the Higher Institute of Social and Political Sciences of the University of Lisbon, I started my career at the General Secretariat of the Ministry of Economy in Portugal. I was a councilor at the Odivelas City Council between 2017 and 2019, and in 2019 I ended up moving to Denmark, motivated by a personal relationship."

"In Denmark, I completed my Master's degree in International Business and Politics at Copenhagen Business School (CBS) and I am currently a PhD candidate in International Political Economy at the same institution, where I also teach," he added. "My entry into SPOT Nordic occurred during my master's degree, when I helped found the association. Since then, we have had organic growth that has not only consolidated the organization but also allowed us to aim for new flights."

SPOT Nordic: Goals and Achievements

"SPOT Nordic emerged from the interaction between the Portuguese Ambassador to Denmark at the time, Rita Laranjinha, and Joana Lobo Vicente, the founder and first President of the association," explained David. "The organization serves the growing community of Portuguese graduates and researchers in the Nordic countries, seeking to promote knowledge transfer and cooperation between Portuguese and Nordic institutions and companies."

"Since our foundation, we have held networking events, collaborated with universities and promoted projects such as 'Science and Industry', which aims to transfer knowledge from academia to the business sector, or 'Researcher's Chronicle', which promotes work developed by Portuguese researchers in the Nordic countries," he highlighted. "We are also in the negotiation phase of a collaboration protocol with the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) of Portugal, aiming to strengthen scientific diplomacy between Portugal and the Nordic countries."

SPOT Nordic Activities and Projects

David Pereira de Castro detailed some of SPOT Nordic's main activities and projects: "One of our projects in the initial phase, as already mentioned, is 'Science and Industry', which aims to debate how knowledge generated in academia can be transferred to new companies. In 2023, we brought together two Portuguese university professors specializing in entrepreneurship at CBS, Professor José Mata and Professor Vera Rocha, together with two Portuguese companies managed by Portuguese but founded in the Nordic countries, Asgard Therapeutics and Auricle."

Furthermore, SPOT Nordic has promoted networking events that highlight the participation of Portuguese people spread across the Nordic countries, including joint events with the Portuguese embassies in these countries. "We also have a contact platform between all our members, which is in the private area of the website, allowing people to get to know each other and who they are," added David.

Mapping of Portuguese Researchers

"It is our task to promote the mapping of Portuguese researchers in the Nordic countries and find out who they are and where they are, helping the FCT in this sense," stated David. "We have a set of projects and initiatives that aim to ensure that Portugal's interests are aligned with the work of these Portuguese people, and at the same time allow them to connect with the work carried out in Portugal."

Challenges and Perspectives

“SPOT Nordic operates on a voluntary basis, with around 60 to 70 paying members and approximately 200 non-paying members,” said David. "Our challenge is to guarantee mapping and support for Portuguese researchers in the Nordic countries, promoting integration and scientific collaboration."

David also shared his vision about the importance of education and innovation for Portugal's development: "The country needs to value its qualified workforce more and create conditions to attract and retain talent. Strong investment in support for the implementation of business ideas coming from universities, especially in the area of scientific research in life sciences and technological development. It is essential that Portugal invests in economic diversification and high added value activities to increase competitiveness and salaries in the country. "

Photographer: Charlotte de la Fuente

The Future of SPOT Nordic: Launching Grants and Promoting Research Awards

"SPOT Nordic, under our leadership, is beginning to be an important link between Portugal and the Nordic countries," concluded David Pereira de Castro. "We are committed to completing the process of launching research support grants, signing protocols being negotiated with some Portuguese universities and promoting some research awards, in addition to the initiatives and events taking place within the scope of the Activity Plan. These initiatives aim to strengthen scientific and professional cooperation, consolidating the community of Portuguese graduates and researchers in the Nordic countries, and contributing to the multilateral development of relations between Portugal and these countries."


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