The FCT held on July 9th, a debriefing session called: "Past and Future of USA - Portugal Partnerships: Report of the Academy of Finland". This session was attended by the Vice-President of the Academy of Finland, Dr . Riitta Mustonen, who presented the results of the present the findings of the Independent assessment of Portuguese collaboration with U.S. universities conducted by this Academy at the request of the Portuguese Government.
The Portuguese Government initiated in 2007 several international partnerships grouping portuguese universities and world class research institutions: the Massachussets Institute of Technology, Carnegie-Mellon University, University of Texas at Austin, Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and Harvard Medical School. Also an ambitious cooperation program in Nanotechnologies was launched with Spain. As a consequence of these actions the following were created:
In 2008 FCT received 89 applications for targeted R&D projects in the framework of 3 public calls open through MIT-Portugal, CMU-Portugal and UTAustin-Portugal programs for funding of R&D activities in partnership with at least two national research centers, companies and the US Institutions associated to each program. Calls were announced in early 2008 and were open between July and mid October. Total funding requested for these projects amounts to 22.5 M€ for a 3 year period, including a wide group of national scientific institutions and university research groups.
The applications received will be evaluated by panels of international experts of recognized merit, appointed after consulting the leadership of the US partners in each program. The panels are presided by:
The evaluation process will run up to the end of December 2008 and approved projects will start in the beginning of 2009.
The evaluation and selection process of the research projects is based in criteria previously defined for the various call areas, including project relevance, scientific merit, originality and expected results, capacity for integration of young researchers, result usage in indutry and the degree of involvment of team members in companies, as well the degree of institutional involvment and amount of private co-funding.