FCT

R&D Institutions

Resultado da avaliação 2007 na área de Engenharia Civil

Unidade de I&D

Centro de Investigação em Engenharia Civil [CIVE-Centro-Coimbra-148] visitada em 27/11/2007

Classificação: Good

Comentários do painel de avaliação
Sobre a unidade
CIEC has existed since 1989 but has changed configuration on a number of occasions since then. It has good facilities in a relatively modern building. The unit consists of two research groups. These focus respectively on Transportation Engineering/Spatial Planning and Structural Engineering (a newly established group). Both research groups scored similar grades following the site visit and the overall classification of the unit is Good. The Unit ranked 7th of the 14 visited by the Panel.
Both groups have critical mass.
The quality and quantity of international publication of both groups is very good and both have a range of industrial contracts. Industrial links are strong and they have a good range of research partners, both in Portugal and abroad, especially the Transportation Engineering group.
There is good equipment for Fire Safety work which has been obtained with the help of industrial funding.
The Transportation Engineering group is arguably trying to cover too many sub-areas. Plans seem to relate to the interests of individuals, rather than any shared research areas. There is limited future vision beyond current projects. Both groups lack strong strategic research focus and should aim to think more strategically and to concentrate on areas of strength where there are a number of individuals who share interest in the areas.
PhD completions are at sound levels for each group.
Sobre os grupos de investigação
Structural Engineering [RG-CIVE-Centro-Coimbra-148-3010]
Transportation Engineering and Spatial Planning [RG-CIVE-Centro-Coimbra-148-3009]

Comentários da unidade

1) In previous research evaluation exercises CIEC was considered to be strong in strategy/vision but lacked results. Now, we have results ("quality and quantity of international publication of both groups is very good", "industrial links are strong and they have a good range of research partners, both in Portugal and abroad"), but lack strategy... Is it really possible to have results without strategy? Can results be a matter of chance?
2) The number of papers published in Web of Science and SCOPUS journals by CIEC members evolved through time as follows: zero (for the 1996 research evaluation exercise); 6 (1999); 16 (2003); and 49 (2007). The rating was always the same: GOOD. Is this normal? Does this help motivate researchers?
3) Each new research evaluation exercise provides less information and is less objective than the previous one (compare for instance the 1996 and 2007 reports). According to the guidelines of FCT, research units and groups would be evaluated with regard to four criteria. Where are the ratings for each criterion? How were they combined to calculate the overall rating?
4) The activity of one of the two groups of CIEC focus on infrastructure engineering, and, especially, on highway engineering. Inexplicably, given the importance of this area in civil engineering, no one in the evaluation panel was an expert in the field.