FCT

R&D Institutions

Resultado da avaliação 2007 na área de Sociologia, Antropologia, Demografia e Geografia

Unidade de I&D

Centro de Estudos de Geografia e Ordenamento do Território [SOC-Centro-Coimbra-4084] visitada em 22/11/2007

Classificação: Good

Comentários do painel de avaliação
Sobre a unidade
CEGOT is a very new merger of the geography centres of Coimbra, Porto and Minho. They have ambitious goals for the next few years and want to become the reference centre for geography in North and Central Portugal. However while the panel appreciates the setting of such high goals, it wonders how realistic they are and how they will be concretely implemented. Nevertheless the economies of scale of the merger are clearly visible in the combined facilities. Also the restructuring of research along three thematic lines constitutes in the panel’s opinion, a wise decision.
The link between theoretical research and contract research was broached in the discussion, the latter offering the possibility of «real» field research: it is important, it was said, to test theoretical hypotheses, to document teaching and to take into account the different dimensions (e.g. political, legal, economic,…) encountered in the field.
CEGOT already cooperates with the other centres for geography in Portugal and it intends to consolidate this cooperation. It has important connections with the different Portuguese speaking countries, particularly with Brazil with which the links are «two ways» (they have strong partners there with theoretical competences, who come regularly to Portugal to teach specialized courses). They also enjoy cooperation in Europe, particularly with Spain.
PhD students are more than satisfied with the support they receive. They benefit of three years freedom to write their thesis. Their supervisors help them to elaborate the thematic chosen, to explore the literature, to choose the adequate methodology, to contact persons qualified in the theme of their theses...and they regularly invite specialists to give lectures on the theses topics. Seminars are also monthly organised.
The international publication production of the last few years has not yet reached the level of the ambitious goals put forward and the panel suggests developing a more international comparative perspective of research.
Though concrete results of the merger have still to be demonstrated, improvements can be expected in the near future hence the panel considers that this unit is very promising.

The group «Nature and environmental dynamics» (4084–919) could be more prosaically entitled «physical geography» (even if it develops links with human geography). It has an extremely broad coverage, including geomorphology, hydrology, ecology, climate change, natural hazards and land planning. As this group has a smaller than average share of staff and students, a strategic question presents itself: should the group specialize or try to cover the whole field? For teaching purposes, it is certainly useful to be general, but in research it would maybe be better to limit the number of explored topics in order to become a centre of reference in specific fields. Will the merger solves this question?
The group «Cities, competitiveness and well being» offers a good deal of international work and has many productive research activities, using the most recent theoretical developments in the field. It is also an active member of international networks. It is recognized by numerous national, regional and local institutions that appreciate its particular notoriety in topics such as urban systems, the retail sector,…
The panel wonders what is precisely the specificity of the third group, entitled «Multiculturalism, tourism and development» (4084 – 921)? Would it not be better to consider it as a line in the group «cities» since, as it was said, the city as « cultural landscape and as commodity» is central to mobility. The information received by the panel was somewhat scanty but the relation this group has with the two others is encouraging.
The problem for the panel was that it had to evaluate a new unit, resulting no doubt from a merger of pre-existing centres but which still has to elaborate more cogently its common project and to create its own «enterprise culture».
Sobre os grupos de investigação
Multiculturalism,Tourism and Development [RG-SOC-Centro-Coimbra-4084-921]
What is precisely the specificity of the third group, entitled «Multiculturalism, tourism and development» (4084 – 921)? Would it not be better to consider it as a line in the group «cities» since, as it was said, the city as « cultural landscape and as commodity» is central to mobility. The information received by the panel was somewhat scanty but the relations this group has with the two others is encouraging.
Cities, competitiveness and well-being [RG-SOC-Norte-Porto-4084-920]
The group «Cities, competitiveness and well being» offers a good deal of international work and has many productive research activities, using the most recent theoretical developments in the field. It is also an active member of international networks. Its is recognized by numerous national, regional and local institutions, that appreciate its particular notoriety in topics such as urban systems, the retail sector,…
Nature and Environmental Dynamics [RG-SOC-Centro-Coimbra-4084-919]
This group could be more prosaically entitled «physical geography» (even if it develops links with human geography). It has a extremely broad coverage, including geomorphology, hydrology, ecology, climate change, natural hazards and land planning. As this group has a smaller than average share of staff and students, a strategic question presents itself: should the group specialize or try to cover the whole field? For teaching purposes, it is certainly useful to be general, but in research it would maybe be better to limit the number of explored topics in order to become a centre of reference in specific fields. Will the merger solves this question?