ZLT - The new «regulatory sandboxes», «innovation spaces», «experimentation spaces», or «living labs».
Technology Free Zones (TFZs) consist of physical environments, geographically located, in a real or quasi-real environment, used for testing and experimentation (support and monitoring of the respective competent entities) arising from:
Technology Free Zones (TFZs) contribute to:
Portugal has been developing and implementing a consistent and structured approach to investment in innovation and entrepreneurship, taking into account the positive impact that innovative services and products have in promoting social and economic progress and the transition to a sustainable economy. In this context, the creation of conditions for Portugal to lead the regulation of emerging technologies (autonomous vehicles and artificial intelligence) was foreseen, allowing the hosting of national and international projects for the development of products related to emerging technologies.
Given the rapid pace of technological development, the pursuit of this goal is only possible by testing and experimenting with new technologies, their applications and the business models to be adopted. Experimentation - especially in a real environment - therefore plays a central role in the research, development and implementation of innovative services and products. It is therefore essential to create a legal and regulatory framework that promotes and facilitates the testing of innovative technologies, services, products and processes. Such a legal framework will contribute to the acceleration of research, demonstration and testing processes and, consequently, the country's competitiveness and attractiveness for foreign investment in research and innovation projects, as well as the transition of new products and services to the market and their appropriate regulation. It is in this context that several countries have advanced with the creation of "regulatory sandboxes", "innovation spaces", "experimentation spaces", "living labs", among others.
In this context, the Council of Ministers Resolution no. 29/2020, of April 21st, which establishes the general principles for the creation and regulation of the TFZs. Decree-Law No. 67/2021 of July 30th establishes the basic legal framework for the constitution of TFZs in Portugal, as established in the aforementioned Resolution of the Council of Ministers. The decree-law does not create the TFZs as of now, but determines the conditions for their creation to set up several TFZs in Portugal, each one of them specially geared towards certain technologies or sectors and which thus contribute to the dynamisation of the regions of Portugal by leveraging their specific characteristics.
The process of creating a Technology Free Zone is permanently open and can be initiated:
The submission of the Expression of Interest is neither compulsory nor binding on the process of creating a particular TFZ. It aims to ensure a moment to sound out the innovation potential and public interest of a proposal to create a Technology Free Zone, by the Testing Authority and Regulatory Entities.
Submission of the Expression of Interest (EI)
The process initiated through an Expression of Interest benefits from the monitoring of the National Innovation Agency, S.A. (ANI) for the preparation of the application proposal. ANI may promote clarification sessions and contacts with regulatory bodies to provide direct and permanent support in terms of the provision of information, guidelines and recommendations.
The entities that intend to submit the Expression of Interest for the creation of a Technological Free Zone should fill in the form.
Submission of the Application Proposal
The process of creating TFZs without an Expression of Interest can be triggered at any time by the managing body by submitting an application proposal, through the completion and submission of an application form that is continuously open and available.
The entities that intend to submit the Application Form for the creation of a Technological Free Zone must fill in the form.
What is the Test Authority and what does it do?
What are Regulatory Entities?
Who are the Promoters?
Who are the Participants?
What is a regulatory sandbox?