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Professor in the University of Porto and creator of avatars among the most innovative women in the European Union

Professor in the University of Porto and creator of avatars among the most innovative women in the European Union
04 Nov 2021
Verónica Orvalho, the founder of Didimo, a University of Porto spin-off that creates 3D virtual characters from a simple cell phone photo, is among the 21 most innovative women in the European Union. The EU Prize for Women Innovators distinguishes every year entrepreneurial women, founders of successful companies that have brought innovation to the market.

With the company incubated at UPTEC - Parque de Ciência e Tecnologia da Universidade do Porto [Science and Technology Park of the University of Porto], Verónica Orvalho is a researcher in computer graphics, machine learning and facial animation and her algorithms are part of video games like "The Simpsons Ride", but also productions in the areas of health and education.

In a press release, Verónica Orvalho recognizes that "being part of this list is, more than anything, a motivation to continue growing as a professional and to inspire others to fight for advances that help people. It is an honor to share this with more women in the technology sector and I think that young women who dream of working in this area will look to these examples as an impulse”.

The professor and researcher at the Faculty of Science at the University of Porto believes that "the future of work is digital", and it is "important to share the best examples of what we do to inspire new generations to follow us and aspire to do more and better with new technologies”.

"I believe that a young person's education is only complete when academic and professional experience complement each other, and I am happy that there are initiatives that demonstrate the importance of going beyond and innovating in everything we do", adds the founder of Didimo, which currently has offices in Portugal, Canada, and the UK.

In 2017, Verónica Orvalho had already won the Women Startup Challenge, promoted by the North American Women Who Tech. In 2020, Didimo was raising a million euros of investment in an external funding round and this year won the Pitch Contest Portugal promoted by Viva Technology, one of the largest technology fairs in the world.

In the previous edition, among the winners of the European Union award was another representative of the University of Porto, Maria Fátima Lucas. The PhD from the Faculty of Sciences is cofounder of Zymvol Biomodeling, a company that develops industrial enzymes by computing, applying molecular modeling.

Promoted by the European Innovation Council, the EU Prize for Women Innovators aims to raise awareness of the need for more women entrepreneurs, creating role models for other women and girls.

After reviewing more than 260 applicants, three female entrepreneurs from the European Union will be recognized during the AS European Innovation Council Summit on November 24 and 25, and each will receive an individual prize of 100,000 euros. With funding from Horizonte 2020, the organization will also award a €50,000 prize to a "rising innovator" aged up to 35.