R&D Institutions

Resultado da avaliação 2007 na área de Ciências da Saúde

Unidade de I&D

Genética e Desenvolvimento da Tolerância Natural [HESC-LVT-Oeiras-599] visitada em 26/03/2008

Classificação: Excellent

Comentários do painel de avaliação
Sobre a unidade
The unit was presented as 6 individual groups each led by a single PI with two additional groups that had very recently joined the unit that were not evaluated as yet. The panel had difficulties in the preliminary evaluation of the unit because of deficiencies in the submitted (online) paperwork. However, most of the concerns of the panel were addressed by the presentations, discussions, meetings with the students and post-docs and supplementary paperwork submitted after the site visit.

Overall the panel was impressed with the cohesiveness, productivity and international competitiveness of the research. The research outputs of the unit were uniformly very good with some investigators achieving excellence. The panel felt it was important to avoid over-diversification and limit the number of groups within the Unit in order to retain overall coherence of the science. A clear division of senior and junior PIs within groups may help to do this.

Teaching and training were also of the highest quality. The Unit clearly attracts high quality students and post-docs. It has played a prominent role in the development of the next generation of Portuguese scientists and it is likely that it will continue to do so in the future.

The panel thought that this Unit is an excellent example of how “core funding” can be deployed to provide added value and maximize the output from the individual groups.

Comments concerning the groups: for all groups holds that the facilities (library, equipment, technical support and funding) are excellent; secretarial support, however, is only fair.

Further the panel was asked to comment on two specific issues:

1. A proposed change in leadership of the unit (a new director was proposed)
2. Funding for the core animal facility

The panel agreed that it would be appropriate to have a director dedicated to leading the Unit within IGC without other IGC responsibilities. However, we felt that it was inappropriate to endorse the appointment of a specific individual and that the selection of that individual should be carried out by a panel specifically appointed to oversee the process.
Sobre os grupos de investigação
Group 1 [RG-HESC-LVT-Oeiras-599-2703]
All evaluation items – productivity, relevance, feasibility, and training – score Very Good
The role of António Coutinho in the development of Portuguese science is unparalled. The production of his own group lately has been limited and mostly confined to review articles.
Group 10 [RG-HESC-LVT-Oeiras-599-2829]
The Group Leader has an excellent publication track record in the past few years and is a recognized International leader in her field. The Panel expressed some reservations about the RAG work but other projects were felt to be very competitive. She is a major contributor to an EU mouse models initiative. She contributes significantly to the excellent training environment at IGC.
Group 11 [RG-HESC-LVT-Oeiras-599-2830]
The Panel did not evaluate group 2830 (Valitutti) because of the lack of sufficiently detailed information. The group appear to be still in a preparatory phase.
Group 12 [RG-HESC-LVT-Oeiras-599-2832]
An outstanding publication track record and a well outlined research plan to stay internationally competitive. A small focused group that must remain so in order to deliver at the same level.
Group 13 [RG-HESC-LVT-Oeiras-599-2833]
The Panel did not evaluate group 2833 (Ana Sofia Oliveira) because of the lack of sufficiently detailed information. The group appear to be still in a preparatory phase.
Group 14 [RG-X-HESC-LVT-Oeiras-599-2834]
Group 15 [RG-HESC-LVT-Oeiras-599-2852]
Clearly outstanding publications and productivity until now and well laid out plans for the future. The CO story is obviously a fundamental contribution to the field but in order to remain cutting edge the PI needs to be able to keep an imaginative approach that is more than just testing the hypothesis in more and more models. A major role in setting the excellent scientific environment at IGC.
Group 16 [RG-X-HESC-LVT-Oeiras-599-2858]
Group 17 [RG-HESC-LVT-Oeiras-599-3071]
The mouse work is solid and will remain internationally competitive given the collaborations and access to mouse facility and expertise available at IGC and IMM. However the human association studies in malaria and diabetes are of limited scope and severely compromised by the small sample sizes available. The panel believes that the proposed work on gene-gene interactions is not likely to be successful and strongly encourages the PI to join existing national/international consortium.
Group 2 [RG-X-HESC-LVT-Oeiras-599-2809]
Group 3 [RG-HESC-LVT-Oeiras-599-2819]
There has been moderate productivity over the reporting period, and some international recognition. The most important contribution of this group is in collaborations with other PIs, as a fundamental core of expertise and in running the PhD in Computational Biology. This group should continue to be judged on its overall contribution to IGC, but to stay updated it is important the PI continues to try and carry some of his own independent research.
Group 4 [RG-X-HESC-LVT-Oeiras-599-2820]
Group 5 [RG-X-HESC-LVT-Oeiras-599-2821]
Group 6 [RG-X-HESC-LVT-Oeiras-599-2823]
Group 7 [RG-X-HESC-LVT-Oeiras-599-2824]
Group 8 [RG-HESC-LVT-Oeiras-599-2825]
The Group Leader has published solid papers in the recent past but not in the major journals. He has now embarked in a very original project where he appears to have an edge and important contributions to the field are expected.
Group 9 [RG-X-HESC-LVT-Oeiras-599-2828]

Comentários da unidade

Something must be wrong with the evaluation process: this Unit contributed 7% of the most cited Portuguese publications in all areas of science, but was not rated in the top 80 Units.

[See www.igc.pt for a complete argumentation]

1. Objective data on publication record and impact: data for all publications with an address in Portugal, in the period under evaluation (2000-2007;ISI/Web of Science; March 24, 2008):

1.1 All areas of science
The Unit produced:
• 0.17% of articles
• 7 of the 100 most cited articles (ranked 4, 37, 52, 63, 84, 88, 92), 6 of which with “senior” authorship
• this represents a 40-fold ratio between the Unit’s quotas in impact and number of articles, within the total Portuguese production;
• the most cited article with exclusive address in Portugal
1.2 Specific area of activity (Immunology/ISI)
The Unit produced:
• 13.6% (63/461) of all articles
• 22.95 mean number of citations/article (9.15 for others)
• 6 of 10 most cited articles (ranked 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 10), all with “senior” authorship (none of the remaining 10 most cited had “senior” authorship in Portugal)

2. Qualitative data on publication

In the period under evaluation, the Unit published, among others, in “Nature journals” (7), Science (2), PNAS (7), J Exp Medicine (4), Trends (8), PLoS One (3), J Immunol (20), Europ J Immunol (11), J Gen Virol (11), J Virol (4), J Theor Biol (10).

3. Other Unit’s contributions (not considered)

The Unit provided money and expertise to install technological platforms that were all made available to external users:
- a state-of-the-art mouse facility (Demengeot);
- the first “germ-free facility” in Portugal (Demengeot);
- the first “high-speed cell sorter” (Haury);
- the first “high through-put” genotyping/sequencing facility (Penha-Gonçalves);
- the first “Affymetrix” station (Becker, Penha-Gonçalves)
- the first “cluster” fully dedicated to bio-computation (Fernandes, Carneiro);
- the first 2-photon-based, intravital imaging of lymphocytes (Moreno, Tadokoro)

The Unit is responsible for the first PhD program on Computational Biology (Carneiro);

The Unit has contributed to strengthening the Portuguese scientific community and to increase its mobility: it installed 24 independent group leaders (22 coming from abroad), of which 15 have already left the Unit (9 for Portuguese institutions).