The University of Porto, now over 100 years old, is currently the most important educational and research institution in Portugal. It has nearly 31,000 students (of which over three thousand are international students), 2,300 teaching staff and researchers, and 1,600 administrative staff across 15 schools and over 50 research units, in 3 university campuses. The University offers over 600 training programmes per year (from undergraduate degrees to lifelong education and training) in all areas of study and levels of higher education.
With some of the most productive and internationally renowned Portuguese R&D centres, the University is responsible for over 20% of the Portuguese articles indexed yearly in the ISI Web of Science. Over the last few years, the University has focused on providing greater economic value for its scientific production, and recent partnerships with Portuguese industry leaders have resulted in innovations with proven success in the national and international markets.
The Faculty of Arts, with over 3,000 students, offers a breadth of degrees, from undergraduate to doctoral, in Languages and Social Sciences, including a popular PhD programme in ‘Language Sciences’, which includes an innovative Human Language Technologies profile (in cooperation with the Faculties of Economics and Engineering). The Faculty also provides a wide variety of vocational training and extra-mural courses (including Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Hungarian, Polish and Persian), and is involved in over 100 cooperation agreements with renowned foreign institutions, particularly in Europe and in Portuguese-speaking countries such as Brazil, Angola and Mozambique – with whom the University enjoys privileged cooperation. The Faculty of Arts has recently started offering curricular units in Forensic Linguistics as part of the PhD programme in Language Sciences and is planning a postgraduate course in Forensic Linguistics, which will be jointly taught by the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Law.
The Faculty of Law is one of the most recent faculties of the University. It opened in the academic year 1995/96, after 80 years of successive attempts. It is located in the city centre, in an impressive building not far from the Faculty of Arts. It has over 1,000 students, from undergraduate to doctoral, and teaches successful programmes in Law and in Criminology (the most sought-after degree in the country), which attract the best students from the whole country each year. Throughout their programmes, students are offered the possibility of doing part of their studies abroad, in French, Spanish, German and Belgian universities, among others, with which the Faculty has cooperation agreements. Every year, the University also welcomes students from these countries, who find in Porto a stimulating environment for their studies. The Faculty also has cooperation agreements with practitioners, such as the Supreme Court, the Internal Affairs and the Judiciary Police.
The Linguistics Centre (CLUP – Centro de Linguística da Universidade do Porto), which was founded over 30 years ago, is the University R&D unit dedicated to research and development in all fields of linguistics, theoretical and applied, particularly in Portuguese. CLUP has been part of the national network of R&D units funded by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology for nearly twenty years, and has been assessed very positively. The Centre currently has over 50 members.
Teaching staff and students, both of the Centre and the Faculty, as well as from other Faculties within the University (of which the Faculty of Law and the Faculty of Engineering are good examples) have shown a growing interest in Forensic Linguistics. At an interdisciplinary level, staff and students from all these Faculties have participated in the Forensic Linguistics events organised by the Centre: the 2010 workshop and the 2011 Autumn School in Computational and Forensic Linguistics, as well as the IAFL Regional Conference in 2012 were particularly well-attended.
The Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Law have previously worked together a number of times, including in 2012 when they jointly organised the 3rd European Conference of the IAFL on the theme of Bridging the Gaps between Language and the Law. The feedback provided by the participants who responded to the survey revealed that this was a very successful conference in all respects and that they would like to attend another forensic linguistics conference in Porto. The prospects of an equally successful biennial conference in Porto are therefore very exciting.