In the past few years, UFRN has been developing structuring actions to advance in the search for quality and internationalization, with the development of science, technological innovation, social inclusion and the strengthening of the interaction with the society and governments. These initiatives create academically structuring scenarios, involve the interaction among the major branches of knowledge and open up several possibilities for future action. Several programs and partnerships were created, such as:
Edmond and Lily Safra International Neurosciences Institute of Natal. A direct result from a partnership with the Associação Alberto Santos Dumont para Apoio à Pesquisa (AASDAP), it is located in the Campus of the Brain in the district of Macaíba and is focused on the development of technologies for the recovery of the nervous system function and the brain-machine interaction, encompassing doctorate and post-doctorate programs and state-of-the-art scientific and technological research associated to a social project of education towards science and to the provision of motherhood-childhood healthcare service to the community.
UFRN’s International Institute of Physics. It has as its mission to promote and provide the exchange of scientific knowledge with the international community. Its permanent objectives are to develop and conduct scientific research in the frontiers of knowledge in its field of acting and to act decisively for the scientific development of the Country, serving, in its field of knowledge, as a connection between the basic and applied research sectors in strategic areas for the Brazilian economy.
National Science and Technology Institutes (INCTs). UFRN coordinates 3 institutes: Wireless Communication (INCT-CSF), Brain-Machine Interface (INCEMAQ), in partnership with the Associação Alberto Santos Dumont para Apoio à Pesquisa (AASDAP), and Space Sciences (INEspaço), in partnership with the Aeronautics Technological Institute (ITA).
Center of Petroleum and Renewable Energies. One of the most important poles of excellence in Brazil. It has already graduated more than 1,000 professionals in undergraduate and postgraduate level. It maintains 40 laboratories of teaching and research and runs 5 Human Resources Programs of the National Petroleum Agency (ANP), in a strong partnership with Petrobrás.
Institute of Tropical Medicine of Rio Grande do Norte – IMTRN. The main objective is to consolidate, in infectious diseases, the community service, teaching, and research. The strategic goal is the education of highly qualified human resources in science and technology in the medical area and the generation of a center for diagnosis, treatment and research, particularly in the area of the diseases neglected by centers of more advanced regions. These diseases are also prevalent in Africa and Asia.
Digital Metropolis. It integrates social inclusion of elementary school youth into postgraduate studies, research and innovation in information technology. This project also includes a software engineering course, whose main objective is to provide higher education to the students. The project conception is self-sustainable, uniting the productive sector with the academy, with a view to company incubation and the installation of a technological park.
Institute of Contemporary Languages, Literatures and Cultures – ÁGORA. It provides foreign languages courses to UFRN’s faculty, technical-administrative staff and students as well as Portuguese language courses to foreign faculty and students. The ÁGORA institute shall work in all activities regarding the teaching-learning process of foreign languages, with the possibility of serving specific needs of teaching, research and community service. This dynamism shall contribute to the formation of a group of excellence in the region and to provide greater visibility to UFRN in its internationalization effort.
Restructuring and Expansion Plan of UFRN – REUNI. Reuni-UFRN, approved for the period 2008-2012 by the Ministry of Education, entails the creation of new undergraduate and postgraduate programs and the expansion of the number of students to 45,000 until 2012. It establishes the expansion of the student assistance policies, student and faculty mobility, curricular innovations and social inclusion and the hiring of new professors and technical-administrative staff.