The Partnership Since 2018

Since the partnership was established in 2018, NOVA and Lancaster have promoted collaborative research among some faculty members of both institutions. While several research conferences played an important role to foster a collective agenda, parallel meetings took place, fine tunning the extent of this partnership.

Built on Historic Connections

Lancaster has historic ties to Portugal. In 1986, the President of Portugal, Mário Soares, received an Honorary Doctorate from Lancaster University. The occasion served to celebrate 600 years of the Treaty of Windsor between England and Portugal, the oldest diplomatic alliance in the world still in existence.

Portuguese President visits Lancaster in 1986
Portuguese President visits Lancaster in 1986


A new strategic partnership was established between Lancaster University and the Universidade NOVA de Lisboa (NOVA) in 2018.

A delegation from Lancaster travelled to Lisbon to sign a Memorandum of Understanding between NOVA and Lancaster.

The purpose of the partnership is to explore opportunities for collaborative research, joint teaching initiatives and strategic knowledge exchange including internationalisation, staff development and student recruitment.

Under this agreement, all faculties, departments, centres and units of the two partner institutions will be able to explore potential areas for collaboration that will be of mutual benefit.

Both Lancaster and NOVA play a leading role in the recently formed Heritage Language Consortium, a strategic partnership between six leading European universities and the Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Professor Robert Geyer, who led the delegation to Lisbon in his capacity of Lancaster’s Academic Director (International), said: “This partnership will allow us to explore joint initiatives in areas that are of strategic interest to both institutions, e.g. social innovation, digital futures, ageing, and global health challenges. Like Lancaster, NOVA has particularly strong ties to Africa, so this is another area to explore.”

In the year previous to this, the Portuguese Secretary of State for Education spoke at a symposium on heritage language education that took place on campus.

The Portuguese Minister of Education, Tiago Brandão Rodrigues, also visited Lancaster University this year to participate in a round table on public policy and challenges in higher education.


2019 was an extremely active year for the partnership with multiple visits between the two institutions and three significant research conferences. In December (16 and 17), both NOVA’s Rector, João Sàágua, and the Vice-Rector, João Amaro de Matos, visited Lancaster.

Research In Asia Group Photo
Research In Asia Conference, July 2019


Of course, as with the rest of the world, the NOVA-Lancaster partnership was hindered by the COVID-19 pandemic; the majority of the activities planned were postponed. However, both parties made an effort to continue working together, as many collaborative research meetings took place in an online format.