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University Project of Quality

University Project of Quality

Beginning its activity in 1962 as Instituto de Ciências Pedagógicas, the Instituto Superior de Psicologia Aplicada (ISPA) has adopted its contemporary designation in 1964, developing a university project characterized by a pioneer path in Portugal within its specific field of formation and intervention. Along its history, ISPA has developed an university reality, whose quality and prestige (nationally and internationally recognized) is due to a careful and systematic investment in pedagogical innovation, in scientific research, in social intervention and in cultural dynamism, gathered by a rigorous politic of administrative and financial management.


Pedagogical Innovation

Supported by a large exclusive lecturing staff, apart from the visiting lecturers coming from foreign universities and collaborators from several specialities, ISPA develops 1st and 2nd cycle programs in the scientific fields of Psychology, Community Development, Rehabilitation and Social Inclusion and Biology. In 2009, ISPA was recognized as a University Institute and now offers a wide program of PhDs in Applied Psychology.


ISPA also promotes courses of continuous formation/training (through the Lifelong Learning Department – DFP-ISPA) for professionals in fields such as health, education, organizational behaviour, new information technologies, and human resources management, amongst others.


ISPA also regularly promotes several events (colloquies, seminars, conferences) with a scientific and cultural content. The pedagogical activity, connected to the making of these courses, has been characterised by a constant interaction with the different students in sessions of extensive appointments, aiming the continuous improvement of the interaction professor/student and the formative empowerment. In this way, it is developed an active pedagogy, focused on the constant problematic of the learning contents and the subjects in appreciation, supported by technological and educational resources, in which we evidence the new information technologies and a Document Centre (Centro de Documentação-ISPA), which is a reference within the national scientific community due to its wide and varied bibliographic fund. ISPA’s Document Centre has access to the most referenced databases, where one can evidence its participation in the Portuguese consortium, composed by several academic and scientific institutions that have developed the B-On Project (Biblioteca do Conhecimento Online). To this functional dynamics it is added an organic structure built by academic organisms that integrate students, particularly favourable to the continuously improving process of pedagogic performance.


Scientific Activity

ISPA’s Research and Intervention Centre (Centro de Investigação e Intervenção-ISPA), supported by two Research Labs, a Document Centre, a Statistic Supporting and Data Analysis Centre (Centro de Apoio Estatístico e Análise de Dados), and an office to support scientific meetings, integrates and co-ordinates all the research activity from the research units and research departments. Two of those I&D units were distinguished with excellent grades after the evaluation performed by groups of international specialists of the Foundation for Science and Technology (Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia-FCT); These units are composed by full-time lecturers (most of them exclusively dedicated to ISPA) being scientifically supported by a net of researchers from the most varied European and Northern-American Universities.


Apart from the investigation projects, co-financed by the FCT, there are also running several projects exclusively supported by ISPA.


Social Intervention

Social intervention has been one of the main concern of ISPA’s activity, especially with marginalised populations, victims of exclusion and discrimination, and has developed by the Intercultural Studies Centre Aziz Ab’Saber (Centro de Estudos Interculturais Aziz Ab’Saber), through intervention and research projects. This Centre has as its main goal to promote the values of other cultures as a development instrument of individuals, groups and societies.


Cultural Dynamism

Being aware that a university project that privileges an integrated, plural and universal formation lies upon cultural realities of its time, ISPA regularly organises art exhibitions, promoting a direct contact with the exhibited artists. It organises guided tours to expositions settled in National Museums. It maintains a cinema club. It supports a group theatre, opened to all students interested in art stage initiation, which performs two shows a year. ISPA also pays attention to the broadcasting of literary activity, promoting debates with the authors and supporting the students to develop and explore their literary skills.


Social Support

ISPA, trough the Social Affairs Office (Gabinete de Acção Social-ISPA), has always developed an active politic of social support that privileges students with economic and social difficulties. ISPA has been, since its foundation, part of a pioneer project created by the Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia e Ensino Superior (the Portuguese Ministry of Science, Tecnology and Higher Education), aiming to offer scholarships to the most needed students. Over the last few years, under this programme, more than 300 students from ISPA have annually benefited from these scholarships offered by the Government.However, before this project had begun, ISPA had already had available its own funds to finance scholarships and other means of social support. This support programme has been an important complement to the Scholarly Social Support Fund (Fundo de Acção Social Escolar) developed by the Government.


Editorial Production

Within the broadcasting of knowledge and practices that ISPA has been building, the Institution promoted the creation of an Editing Centre (Centro de Edições-ISPA), which aims to settle its activity not only in the publication of national and international scientific journals, but also in the publication of books, amongst them several titles on Psychology and similar areas.