University of Minho (UMinho) (Portugal) aims at being a University without Walls, completely turned towards the surrounding socioeconomic environment. International activities are intense not only with the Portuguese-speaking countries but also with countries from all continents. The Times Higher Education 100 under 50 University Ranking 2014 ranked UMinho on the 75th position worldwide. UMinho considers itself to be a research university, engaged in the valorisation of the chain of knowledge – Research, Development and Innovation – as is evidenced by a series of indicators. The ratio between PhD students and PhD teaching staff is over 1; the fraction of postgraduate students in the total student population is over 20%; 80% of the teaching staff hold a PhD; the ratio between research projects and PhDs is over 0.5; around 150 PhD thesis are awarded every year; the average yearly production of refereed papers published in international magazines is 2/full time equivalent/year; and 250 R&D contracts are signed every year with external companies. Amongst the 30 University Research Units reckoned by The FCT (Portuguese Science Foundation), 18 were considered in 2009 to be Very Good or Excellent by International Evaluation Panels, placing the UMinho on the top of the Portuguese Universities ranking. In 2012, European Research Council awarded 2 Advanced Grants to UMinho and in 2013, EC granted a FET project (Future and Emerging Technologies). UMinho is the unique Portuguese University involved in the main consortium.
The group that is active in the SouthZEB Project is the Building Physics and Construction Technology Group, belonging to the Civil Engineering Department, one of the ten Departments of the Scholl of Engineering. This Department is responsible for one International Doctoral course and one International Master Course in Sustainable Built Environment and has two research centres: ISISE – Institute for Sustainability and Innovation in Structural Engineering and CTAC – Centre for Territory, Environment and Construction. In the last three years, CTAC Research Centre (the centre involved in this project) successfully attracted more than 6.0 MEuro (external funding from EU programs, Portuguese Science Foundation, governmental institutions and industry). The group has expertise in building technology, building thermal performance, ventilation an indoor air quality, natural lighting in buildings, renewable energies, building acoustics, nZEB, sustainable development and building sustainable rehabilitation. The group has excellent lab facilities and is well equipped in these fields. Its main objectives are the promotion and implementation of solutions that result from the scientific research made by its researchers, as well as to serve the community by undertaking specialised projects and consultancies.