R&D Institutions

Resultado da avaliação 2007 na área de Ciências Agrárias

Unidade de I&D

Centro de Estudos de Engenharia Rural [AGR-LVT-Lisboa-245] visitada em 13/02/2008

Classificação: Very Good

Comentários do painel de avaliação
Sobre a unidade
This is a medium-sized unit of 12 FTA research staff that was originally composed of seven research units at its inception in 1980. Quite recently, it was re-organized into just three experimental groups (water, natural resources and climate; production systems and technologies; food science and engineering) with the objectives of creating critical masses, and building quality and well-focused research.

Its publication record from 2003 to the present is very good, with 140 articles in ISI journals, 140 abstracts/papers in international edited proceedings and a further 186 presentations at international meetings. This is complemented by 16 books, 50 book chapters and a further 96 articles in non-cited international or national journals. There has been good collaboration within the EU and candidate countries (France, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Turkey), outreach to South America (CYTED organization) and Asia and the unit also participates in the Olive Oil Council. During the evaluation period, six international research projects were concluded. The unit has also developed very numerous networking activities within Portugal concerning the universities, the polytechnic agricultural schools, farmers associations and industries. The educational achievements include 36 PhD and 24 MSc completed and a further 24 PhD and 19 MSc in progress. The unit has produced computer software and has 2 Portuguese patents (although these are owned by industry rather than being the property of the university).

Training of young researchers and students

Organization of workshops

Interdisciplinary activities

Interactions with other national and international research units and companies

In giving its final rating, the panel also wished to endorse the expressed wish of the unit to join the LEAF associated laboratory project, since it feels that the overall capability of the embers is such that they should make a significant contribution to this venture.

Participation in international research programmes (EU etc.)
Very well developed

Knowledge and technology transfer
Very well developed

Outreach activities
Very well developed

Attitude and work environment:
There is clear leadership and the overall organization is good. Similarly the principal investigators gave convincing presentations. The panel felt that the water, natural resources and climate group and the production systems and technologies group had good vision and clear research objectives, but the third group (food science and engineering) was harder to map and needs improved focus, although the panel were pleased to see that they have integrated socio-economics and organic farming into their themes.

Most pertinent comments and recommendations
Unit has potential to grow to the status of excellent
Sobre os grupos de investigação
Food Science and Engineering [RG-AGR-LVT-Lisboa-245-1731]
This is considered a good research group doing mainly applied research and publishing in respectable journals.
Research is well focused in a limited number of areas where the group has competence. Issues such as protection of intellectual property and patenting are well appreciated Plans for future research are relevant but the panel suggests consideration be given to incorporation of some more basis and innovative aspects to the research projects undertaken. Group organization and leadership is adequate. Good culture of creativity and opportunity/encouragement of younger researchers initiatives.
Production Systems and Technologies [RG-AGR-LVT-Lisboa-245-1721]
This group is of a relevant size - and shows good productivity.
Is "agricultural engineering" being developed as a discipline in itself?
The group is able to cover this wide area of research.
Will there be more narrow focus - or further cooperation or expansion?
Will there be further cooperation with national research environments within the technological area?
How is technology transfer planned to take place - and further industry cooperation?
Molecular approaches are well-integrated in the vegetable sector, less so in the animal sector.
Is the ‘sustainable use of chemicals’ a good road for the future? What about alternative methods to chemicals?
Water, Natural Resources and Climate [RG-AGR-LVT-Lisboa-245-486]
The group contains 13(+4) PhD’s. And seems to cover a large part of the Unit’s ambitions. Key areas are now and in future: irrigation –climate, Kyoto targets, Water scarcity/drought, integrated Env. Assessment end ICT technologies. All areas are relevant. Scientific productivity seems to be (very) good in quality and quantity.
Training results (Masters and PhD) are good. International networks are good. Future plans are ambitious but well chosen. Organization, culture and leadership seem to be good this is a fairly large research group with 17 PhD level researchers and 12 non-PhD researchers. The group is focussing on irrigation engineering, climate and water related issues and nutrient cycles, topics that are very relevant also regarding the international trends in research. The group has a very good record of external funding, including EU sources. The group shows outstanding capacity in organizing international meetings and seems to have very good international linkages. The training of students has been highly productive evident in 13 PhD and 4 MSc theses completed.