Aveiro is located in the Centro region of Portugal and has around 83,600 inhabitants—a figure that rises to a conurbation of 120,000 with the addition of neighbouring Ílhavo. The focal point of an industrially developed region, Aveiro is also a city of commerce and services and a growing centre for leisure and culture offering cinema, theatre, music, arts, sport and nightlife. It has an unemployment rate of 12.5%.
Surrounded by salt-flats, beaches and lagoons, Aveiro is dominated by the Central Canal laid across the city and its moliceiros—traditional boats with brightly-painted prows. Aveiro has a busy and growing port, which plays a major in regional development. The city has specific competences in ceramics, and software development—mainly telecommunications-related as Portugal Telecom Inovação Labs, the R&D centre of the main national telecoms carrier, is based in the city. However, content production and management is an emerging software activity.
The University of Aveiro, created in 1973 and attended by around 15,000 students, is one of Portugal’s top universities and specialises in research. Areas covered include electronics, IT, nanotechnology, material science, mechanics and automation, cellular biology and the environmental sciences. As a partner for industry and international research projects, the university also has an important role in the local economy. The Institute of Telecommunications, a not-for-profit research joint venture between the university and telecoms companies, is based on the campus.