R&D Institutions

Resultado da avaliação 2007 na área de Ciências da Saúde

Unidade de I&D

Centro de Investigação em Ciências da Saúde [HESC-Centro-Covilha-709] visitada em 01/02/2008

Classificação: Very Good

Comentários do painel de avaliação
Sobre a unidade
This evaluation only concerns the research group “Cell Communication”. We should note that it is not evident whether the two groups of this Unit (“Biotechnology” and this “Cell Communication” group) have strong interactions in terms of scientific research although the space and laboratory facilities are being used by both groups.
The objectives of the "Cell Communication" group cover a wide range of medical disciplines, such as the neurosciences, oncology, vascular diseases, etc. This is a new and young research group with strong interactions and multidisciplinary research.
The group has gone through a very rapid period of growth, what led to the development of a wide range of research topics. The Panel is of the opinion that the group should try to find a better defined common focus/theme. The Panel was convinced that the PI and other senior researchers in the group are seriously and actively working on this issue, particularly since the Panel was able to feel that there is a great spirit in the group and much enthusiasm in determining the future directions of the research.
Our advice is that the group should organise its multidisciplinary research around a smaller number of common scientific/medical themes, in order to increase the critical mass dedicated to each theme such that the group’s national and international visibility would be enhanced. The possibility that “ageing and disease” could become a central theme was discussed, but even if this would be chosen as the group’s general theme, it will be necessary to define more precisely the group’s “niche” within this theme in this very competitive field.
It is an attractive idea to maintain the line of fundamental research `from molecule to man`. However, this would become more realistic if the group would search, in collaboration with a genetic epidemiologist or human geneticist, which (patho) biological themes should preferably be selected as backbone of the research line “from molecule to man", within the field of "aging and disease".
Young researchers (PhD-students and master students) find in this young group a very stimulating research atmosphere, providing (also through the newly built and excellent facilities) an environment in which collaboration and exchange of ideas and techniques is actively encouraged.
Summarizing, the group displays a strong commitment to research and teaching which provides a lively and stimulating environment for young talents.
The first years of pioneering with relatively strong growth in a short period should now lead to consolidation of the most successful lines and to establish a clear "niche". This Unit deserves strong support to be able to reach a fruitful consolidation phase in the next years. In some countries this Unit would be considered a "junior unit" that would merit special treatment and funding from FCT in order to grow into a full blown research unit.
The overall evaluation of the group is Good to Very Good.
The Unit states that it has the core facilities and is well equipped with the necessary technologies to fulfil its objectives. The Panel does agree. In addition the housing is excellent and attractive.
The Unit would like to have more PhD students and Post-Docs what is a priority of the research group. The Panel also agrees, but the Panel advises that the group should establish a comprehensive PhD program in order to enhance the visibility of the group research and its potentialities. This would also have the secondary effect of helping to set priorities in research. Such a program should be evaluated in due course and, if approved, it should receive special funding, at least in the starting phase.
Sobre os grupos de investigação
Biotechnology [RG-HESC-Centro-Covilha-709-2377]
Cell Communication [RG-HESC-Centro-Covilha-709-2124]