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CESPU - Advanced Polytechnic and University Cooperative, CRL - is a private, non-profit institution which oversees the administration of four establishments of private and cooperative higher education:
- Instituto Superior de Ciências da Saúde - Norte (Advanced Institute of Health Sciences - North)
- Instituto Politécnico de Saúde do Norte (Polytechnic Health Institute of the North), comprised of the
- Escola Superior de Saúde do Vale do Ave (Vale do Ave Higher School of Health) and the
- Escola Superior de Saúde do Vale do Sousa (Vale do Sousa Higher School of Health).
It was established on 27/08/82, whereby its objectives were the creation of higher education establishments (university and polytechnic), and the promotion of scientific research and its expansion at the university level. Originally located on Rua São Roque da Lameira n. 439 in Porto, its facilities were moved to Paredes in 1995, where it stands today.
Its activity began with a single educational establishment - the Instituto Superior de Ciências Dentárias (Advanced Institute of Dental Sciences
- Porto) - and with the teaching of only one course, for an undergraduate degree in Dental Medicine. Gradually, the range of course offerings began to expand; so much so, that in 1993, its name was changed to the Instituto Superior de Ciências da Saúde - Norte (Advanced Institute of Health Sciences - North).
Given the increased interest and demand for technical professionals in the health field, CESPU created the necessary foundations for the establishment of two schools of higher polytechnic education, which initiated their activity in the 1997/98 academic year. Later, during the 1999/2000 academic year, the Instituto Politécnico de Saúde do Norte (Polytechnic Health Institute of the North) was created, and has since become the supervisory entity of the two higher education schools of health which already exist.
CESPU currently employs nearly 500 employees, of which roughly 380 are professors. In addition to its wealth of human resources, CESPU's significant patrimony consists of high-standard equipment and facilities for its different educational areas.