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R&D Projects

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04.04.2016 - 2014 Call for Project Grants in all Scientific Domains
As of today, the acceptance agreements of the 689 proposals approved for funding in this call will be made available to the principal investigators. The agreements will be sent by FCT for the 384 proposals funded through the Portuguese state budget; these projects are subjected to the current FCT regulations (Regulamento de 2010). The acceptance agreements of the remaining 305 proposals will be made available through Balcão 2020, where they were submitted in November 2015. These projects are co-funded by European Union Structural and Investment Funds and thus subject to the Regulamento Específico do Domínio da Competitividade e Internacionalização (RECI).

Please note that, in the future, all FCT projects will follow similar rules, so FCT is preparing a new regulation, aligned with RECI, for projects funded solely through the Portuguese state budget. In this particular call, the rules governing those projects not submitted to Balcao2020 will follow the FCT regulations in force at the date of submission. Besides the legal implications of making any change, the approval of a new regulation would require a period of public consultation and discussion of 30 working days, followed by the time required to incorporate any suggestions, which was bound to delay the whole process.

FCT used all means at its disposal to accelerate the contracting of these proposals, ensuring the simultaneous release of the acceptance agreements, regardless of funding sources.

07.08.2015 - 2014 call for Project Grants in all scientific domains. After evaluation, 689 proposals have been selected for funding (13% success rate), with €118.7 million. Final results pending appeals.

21.11.2014 - 2013 call for Exploratory Research Project Grants - 232 grants approved (13% success rate), €10 million in funding was awarded. For information on approved project grants per panel, see here.

18.10.2013 - 2012 call for Project Grants in all scientific domains - 634 grants approved (13% success rate); €92 million in funding was awarded Summary (PDF) | Full list (Excel)

Regularly FCT gives researchers the opportunity to apply for the funding of research projects. That happens both through calls for applications in any scientific area which open every year and calls targeted at specific themes or domains.

Laboratory at UTAD
Luísa Ferreira / MCTES

Application Evaluation

Application evaluation is a task assigned to evaluation panels composed by experts, both national and foreign, recognized among their peers for their merit and independence, assembled for each call, by scientific area, and including at least three members.

For R&D projects in calls open to all scientific domains or in specific scientific domains, the call announcement identifies evaluation criteria, among the following:

  1. Scientific merit and innovative character in an international perspective;
  2. Scientific merit of the research team;
  3. Feasibility of the work programme and budget adequacy;
  4. Contribution to the accumulation of knowledge and competence in the National Scientific and Technological System;
  5. Potential economic worth of the technology.

The application of the evaluation criteria takes into account, among other aspects:

  • For criterion A: relevance and originality of the project proposal, adopted methodology for project development, expected results and their contribution for scientific and technological knowledge, expected publications and articles, contribution for scientific and technological diffusion, production of knowledge able to be used by industry when appropriate;
  • For criterion B: team productivity (reference to publications and citations of published works, other relevant matters), qualifications to adequately fulfill the proposed project (team configuration, qualification of the Principal Investigator), capacity to include young researchers during their formative period, availability of the team (percentage of time in the project) and non overlap of other current projects, degree of team international involvment, success rate of the Principal Investigator in previous projects, degree of commitment of the participating companies (when applicable);
  • For criterion C: organization of the project in light of the proposed objectives and resources (duration, equipment, team size, institutional resources and management), institutional resources and participating institutions, in particular the Main Contractor;
  • For criterion D: contribution to the accumulation of knowledge and competence in the SCTN (effects and expected results);
  • For criterion E: potential for economical valuation of the technology (when appropriate), namely at the level of impact in the competitiveness in the national social and economic system.

For other types of projects, the call announcement establishes the applicable evaluation and selection criteria.

The evaluation and selection panels select and order the applications in accordance with the criteria defined for the call.

Expert Panel tasks in preliminary hearings

According with number 5 of article 11 and with article 13 of the Regulations for Access to Funding of Research and Development, “the appreciation of the observations of technical or scientific character submitted through the preliminary hearing process will be carried out by a panel of experts after the closure of the evaluation of all areas of the call”. The panels of experts are assigned the “analysis of observations of technical or scientific character presented through the preliminary hearing process and the recommendation on the possible alteration of the decision of approval and funding, as well as advising, in a properly supported form, alterations to the project or to the assigned funding”.

Consequently, the appreciation of observations in the preliminary hearing framework cannot be interpreted as a second scientific evaluation of the applications, or a test of the competence of the Evaluation Panels. The group of experts, national or international, assigned by FCT to integrate Panels which evaluate the technical or scientific observations presented through the preliminary hearing process, may also give a contribution to the improvement of the evaluation system. Hence the tasks assigned to the Expert Panels have a twofold character:

Analysis of the observations submitted by the Principal Investigators
Analyse the observations in the light of the scientific reasoning of the evaluation panels in the context of the evaluation results of each scientific area and determine if they include gross mistakes or negligence which may may have harmed the prospects of the proposal; only in such cases there is ground for reverting the evaluation panel decision.
Final Report
Complete a Final Report including, in addition to the results, criticism or recommendations that may contribute to the improvement of the evaluation system. All conflicts of interest identified during the work of the Expert Panel should be identified in the Final Report.

Information and management of projects

FCT makes available to Principal Investigators, as a part of the FCTSIG information and management system, the so called PI web page.