FCT

R&D Institutions

Resultado da avaliação 2007 na área de Ciências da Saúde

Unidade de I&D

Centro de Investigação em Genética Molecular Humana [HESC-LVT-Lisboa-9] visitada em 26/03/2008

Classificação: Good

Comentários do painel de avaliação
Sobre a unidade
This Unit was nominally composed of three groups: Mutational analysis in human genes, Etiology and pathogenesis of constitutive and somatic genetic diseases, and Gene-environment interactions and molecular basis of human disease. The panel recognized that some investigators within the groups were conducting high quality and innovative research. However, there was a lack of coherence both across the Unit and within the groups and the performance of some PIs has been mediocre at best.

The component groups are located in three separate places that are some distance from each other. This would present a challenge to any Unit in the best of circumstances, and the panel found little evidence that the Unit had met this challenge successfully. This is compounded by the fact that here there is no clear overarching scientific direction informing the work of the Unit as a whole. As a result the Unit is no more than the sum of its parts. Given the number of PhDs comprising the Unit it provides "poor value for money" overall. Within groups the individual PIs comprised an eclectic mix of projects that bore limited relationship to the names of the groups.

The lack of overall coherence is reflected in the limited quality of the teaching and training across the Unit. The panel were concerned that there was limited interaction between students across the groups. Notwithstanding the individual good evaluations of some members of the groups the overall evaluation of the Unit, as a whole, is not very positive.

The Panel concludes that in going forward the Group needs to clearly define a coherent scientific strategy to maximize any core funding received from FCT and to improve the impact of their output. The Group needs to seriously reflect what its future options are in presenting a coherent application for a Research Unit.
Thus this Unit confronted the Panel with the problem of a heterogeneous collection of researchers, where there is potential for a positive development (Pedro Baptista) and recognized high quality research (João Lavinha’s h-factor and m-value) but also fragmentation of the Unit’s research associated with a weak productivity of an important part of the group. Under these circumstances the Panel is justified in tending to stress the insufficient performance of the Unit as a whole. Nevertheless we may note that there is potential for a positive development according to the remarks made regarding specific researchers.

In conclusion, given the quality of some Unit’s members it is reasonable to give the latter a chance to pursue their work, albeit in a reorganized Unit. In this context and with these limitations the score “GOOD” can be proposed, since the latter is a necessary condition for this research work to receive further FCT funding.
Sobre os grupos de investigação
Etiology and pathogenesis of constitutive and somatic genetic diseases [RG-HESC-LVT-Lisboa-9-1737]
The Panel was pleased to observe high quality research in some of the Investigators in this Group. However there was considerable scattering of subjects with fragmentation of the Group's efforts in multiple projects that were frequently not related. Moreover in some of the subjects there was insufficient access to sample collections of appropriate size. In going forward the Group needs to clearly define a coherent scientific strategy to maximize any core funding received from FCT and to improve the impact of their output. The Group needs to seriously reflect what its future options are in presenting a coherent application for a Research Unit.
Gene-environment interactions and molecular basis of human disease [RG-HESC-LVT-Lisboa-9-1736]
Given the size of the group the productivity is not good and furthermore the projects are a scatter of totally unrelated subjects (glicosuria, environmental carcinogens, Imatinib resistance, etc).
Mutational analysis in human genes.Gene expression and diagnostic applications [RG-HESC-LVT-Lisboa-9-1734]
The scoring of this group is based SOLELY on Pedro Baptista. Maria Almeida did not show up for the site visit. The Panel was impressed with the nanotechnology for nucleic acid analysis that Baptista has developed, and his efforts to explore the potential of this technology and find support for further R&D.
The activity of this group seems to benefit from being situated in a technology oriented faculty. For its future, consideration should be given to foster local interactions even further.

Comentários da unidade

The Centre for Research in Human Molecular Genetics (CIGMH) was previously evaluated in the years 1996, 1999 and 2002 by international panels nominated by FCT and received in all three evaluation periods the grade of ‘Very Good’. The panel of foreign experts that evaluated the Centre in 2002 summarized its evaluation as follows: ‘”The committee rates the overall performance of the CIGMH as “VERY GOOD” (unanimous vote). The Centre is commended for the progress made in addressing the issues raised in the last review. We believe that the CIGMH has the ability to rise to the level of excellent in a short time.” (panel: Thomas Forsthuber, Peter Gascon, Joseph Germino, George Perry, Steven Schleifer, Marvin Schwalb, Sara Torres, Ruy Lourenço - Coordinator).
Since 2002 and in accordance with the issues then raised by the 2002-panel, the Centre significantly increased its output both in terms of results and publications, namely: (1) the number of publications in international peer-reviewed journals raised from 14/year to 26.5/year, amounting to 106 papers in the period now evaluated of 2003-2006. Of these 106 papers, 27% were published in journals of IF higher than 5 and 6% in journals with an IF higher than 10. During the period 2003-2006 some members of the Centre reached an h value of 17 and exceeded the 1000 citations in the international literature; (2) the number of PhD theses rose from 8 to 11; (3) CIGMH substantially increased its international collaborations.
Strikingly and in spite of all those measurable and factual improvements in activity, the panel that now evaluated CIGMH in 2008 decided to downgrade its classification to a mere ‘Good’.
The team of this Centre must make public that it is incomprehensible that such improvements in the results of the Centre against the previous three years would result in a decrease in score.
Notwithstanding the current public comments, we reserve the right to appeal the verdict that was issued against the Centre for Research in Human Molecular Genetics (CIGMH), in accordance with the FCT Regulations in force.