The Viana do Castelo Polytechnic Institute (IPVC) was founded in 1980. Is a regional institution, whose aims are a qualified human, cultural, scientific, technical and professional training, to carry out necessary research to accomplish its mission and to cooperate with the regional community of Alto-Minho, particularly with its productive and entrepreneurial sectors.

The IPVC is made up of five Schools offering 34 undergraduate and postgraduate degree courses, these last very often in collaboration with national and international polytechnics and universities. They also run in-service and specialization courses.

The IPVC has, since its creation, bet in the development of research projects and offers services to the community as the way to continue its mission. Due to its extensive experience in the management of EU funds, IPVC has a technical support team fully aware of regulations and guidelines on national and European structural funds and, specially, with regard to issues of eligibility of expenditure, government procurement, environment, information and advertising and equal opportunity between men and women.

IPVC Quality Management System is internationally certified in accordance with ISO 9001:2000, at the following processes: Education - Undergraduate Courses level, R&D activities and their Supporting Processes.

In the Alto Minho region, the IPVC is at the forefront of collaborative research with the public and private sectors. In 2003, the Centro Europeu de Dieta Atlântica (European Centre of the Atlantic Diet) was created and soon other projects will follow, namely in the fields of technological innovation and maritime resources. The IPVC has protocols with 48 educational establishments as part of the various European student and staff exchange programmes (Socrates/Erasmus, Socrates/Comenius, Leonardo da Vinci and Treaty of Windsor).

On the Viana do Castelo town campus, the IPVC provides a range of facilities, including two halls of residence, four refectories, a 320-seat library and a Sports Centre. A new sports complex is due to be completed by 2008. This will provide a multi-use pavilion, a football field and a running track to complement the already existing outdoor playing fields. All five schools making up the IPVC are covered by a wireless internet network, currently with 102 Access Points.

The most important day in the IPVC's calendar is May 15 th, Institute Day, which forms part of Graduation Week. This is when students receive their diplomas and different events are held throughout the week to celebrate the occasion in style.