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ITI at Unicorn Factory Lisboa: A new Hub for Innovation and Collaboration in Interactive Technologies

The opening ceremony of the new Interactive Technologies Institute (ITI) facilities took place on October 17th with the presence of Lisbon’s Mayor, Carlos Moedas. ITI is the first research institution part of Unicorn Factory Lisboa based in Hub do Beato, an initiative by  the Lisbon City Council to support startups and scaleups in creating sound products and business models, achieving sustained accelerated growth in Lisbon.

Credits: ITI

The inauguration event showcased a research demo show, where researchers and students will showcase prototypes they have been developing, including video games, robots and rover teleoperation control units. Rogério Colaço, President of Instituto Superior Técnico; António de Sousa Dias de Macêdo, President of the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Lisbon; Carlos Francisco Lucas Dias Coelho, President of the Faculty of Architecture of the University of Lisbon; and Inês Oom de Sousa, President of the Santander Portugal Foundation, also attended the ceremony.

ITI President and CMU Portugal National Director, Nuno Nunes, explains that “this is a unique research unit in the Portuguese landscape combining technology, design and art. Having partners such as Carnegie Mellon University, Fundação Santander Portugal and Câmara Municipal de Lisboa committed to this venture is certainly a privilege and an incentive to push our research efforts even further.”

Credits: ITI

The Interactive Technologies Institute was established as the result of a partnership between Instituto Superior Técnico (Técnico) and Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), under the scope of the CMU Portugal Program. Currently the Institute supports 90 doctoral students and 80 master’s students that are developing cutting-edge research and systems of interaction between people and digital technologies.

Emerging from the Carnegie Mellon International Partnership (CMU Portugal), the Interactive Technologies Institute is a research institution dedicated to advancing digital technology and its applications across various fields. Established in 2010 in Madeira Islands, Portugal, the creation of the Institute followed the success of  the CMU Portugal Dual Professional master’s degree in human-Computer Interaction (HCI) initiative at Universidade da Madeira, which proved to be a key instrument to attract talent and build critical mass in interdisciplinary areas of HCI. 

ITI has been later relocated to Instituto Superior Técnico, University of Lisbon, where it has since become a hub for interdisciplinary research, attracting experts from engineering, design, social sciences, arts, and humanities.

The institute’s founding vision was to create a unique environment fostering innovation and collaboration in interactive technologies. Since its inception, the Interactive Technologies Institute has concentrated on understanding the intricate relationships between humans, the environment, and technology to shape a sustainable and inclusive future for all.

“The collaboration with Carnegie Mellon, established through the CMU Portugal Program, was crucial to the foundation of M-ITI, now ITI. This US partnership has allowed us to create in Madeira a groundbreaking national and international innovation hub, focused on research in the field of human-machine interaction. The growth and impact that the Institute has achieved would not be possible without the collaboration of CMU, one of the top Universities in the field.”, explains Nuno Nunes. 

Now as part of the Unicorn Factory Lisboa, ITI will collaborate with Lisbon’s Council to expand the city’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and serve as an engine for economic growth and a driving force in innovation. 

More on the Unicorn Factory website.