FCT

R&D Institutions

Resultado da avaliação 2007 na área de Ciências Agrárias

Unidade de I&D

Química Ambiental [AGR-LVT-Lisboa-528] visitada em 19/01/2008

Classificação: Very Good

Comentários do painel de avaliação
Sobre a unidade
Goals, ongoing and planned projects, strategic development in the future.
This is a relatively small unit with 12 integrated Research PhD members, 9 technical and administrative staff, 11 PhD students and 5 graduate research fellows.
It has an international scientific advisory committee of three members and operates with two research groups: “Organic Waste” and “Soil Fertility and Quality”.
It has a very good level of national and international cooperation and collaboration.
The unit is engaged in mostly applied research of topics of current importance to Portugal in the agri-environment area but also of relevance in countries outside of Portugal.
The standard of publication in which its main results are reported is very good for this area of research and reflects international standards very well. Research output per PhD researcher per year is very good as reflected in 1-3 ISI papers.
The unit does a lot of research of direct relevance to industry and gets good support and collaboration and industry reflected by 30% funding.
Involvement in the running of conferences and technology transfer is most satisfactorily.
The unit had 2 patents, 4 prototypes developed and three registrations in the period 2003-2007. The panel is of the view that some additional research funding could and should have been patented.
The research done by the two groups is appropriately balanced and well focused on a limited number of areas reflecting the research competences of its members. The recent addition of Diagnostic Consultancy and analytical support to the unit is very much supported as meeting needs and strengthening the unit.
Involvement in training is excellent, reflected in the current 11 PhD- and 24 MSc-studentship in progress, which reflects 1 PhD and 2 MSc students per PhD researcher.

Recommendations:
Participate in LEAF
Get more critical mass and consolidate the position as the main as the main research unit in this area in Portugal
Consider research projects in the area of greenhouse gas emissions from organic wastes and soils.
Focus on IP protection and exploitation needs to be better developed.
Consider Socio-economic aspects and seek partners in these fields.

Training of young researchers and students
Very good

Organization of workshops
Good

Interdisciplinary activities
Good
Interactions with other national and international research units and companies
Very good

Participation in international research programmes (EU etc.)
Below potential

Knowledge and technology transfer
Very good

Outreach activities
Very good

Attitude and work environment
Very good

Most pertinent comments and recommendations
- Participate in LEAF
- Get more critical mass and consolidate the position as the main as the main research unit in this area in Portugal
- Consider research projects in the area of greenhouse gas emissions from organic wastes and soils.
- Focus on IP protection and exploitation needs to be better developed.
- Consider Socio-economic aspects and seek partners in these fields.
Sobre os grupos de investigação
Best management strategies for sustainable organic wastes utilization in agriculture [RG-AGR-LVT-Lisboa-528-1170]
The research topics of this group are largely applied in nature but are currently very topical and important research areas for Portugal and many other countries as well. The standard of publication in which its main results are reported is good and typical for this research area.
Involvement with industry, dissemination of results and collaboration both nationally and internationally is very satisfactory. The group is very well organized and led.
The climate for training of young researchers is also very good.
This is a medium-sided group of twelve full-time research workers qualified to Ph.D. level and 13 other staff members. Their activities are situated in the sensitive and important field of waste management and the recovery of molecules that can be re-sold to industry with added value. Examples are composting, extraction of humiclike substances from waste water, anaerobic pre-digestion of pig manure for the production of bioenergy). Their work is a good example of the application of one discipline (chemistry) to another (agriculture) to produce concrete results which are useful to society and adapted to the needs of Portuguese industry. The international publications (24 in ISI listed journals) and their international contacts are good, as is their productivity. In addition to the cited publications, they have organized 5 seminars in Portugal, one of which was international.
They also have two Erasmus students (from the University of Gent, Belgium) and an exchange agreement with Brazil (GRICE/CAPES) within which they provide training for Brazilian students. They also have a good training record with 10 Ph.D. theses (2 of which were staff members) and 2 Master’s theses completed. They have formulated a project to pursue and improve studies on greenhouse gas and ammonia emissions induced by

agricultural practices, which is good. For this they will need a gas chromatograph and this is endorsed by the reviewer. The group will fit in well with the LEAF project for an associated laboratory. We did not see any of the facilities so I am unable to rate these.
Soil Fertility and Quality: impacts and responses on plants and food quality, and improvement through land rehabilitation. [RG-AGR-LVT-Lisboa-528-1171]
The group is of an adequate size and its productivity seems good. The agri-environmental area of research is very relevant.
Who are the major strategic stakeholders of the group’s future research? Is that the agricultural community – or the environmental authorities? How is the interaction with other national groups?
The future research of the group is aiming to study the plant responses to deficiency or toxicity of metal stress conditions, contamination and rehabilitation of contaminated land and food quality as affected by soil fertility and management
The group funding is expected to be relatively well enough- 5 projects with averagely 70,000 Euro per project
The group is well balanced in regard of PhDs (7) to non PhD’s (3) ratio
The average IP of the 10 publications presented by the is around 1.5 which is relatively good if we can exclude that Drª Ana Madeiro, Drª Maria Abreu and Drª Maria Menino are not involved into any publications
The defended Ms and PhDs are not determined specifically.
The special requirements are not well and clearly determined and motivated
How the group plane to be involved into the EC cooperation
Are there any practical implementations of the obtained results of the group so far?