R&D Institutions

Resultado da avaliação 2007 na área de Ciências Jurídicas e Ciências Políticas

Unidade de I&D

Centro de Administração e políticas Públicas [LAW-LVT-Lisboa-713] visitada em 29/01/2008

Classificação: Excellent

Comentários do painel de avaliação
Sobre a unidade
This is a very good centre on the whole. In the past their main focus was on teaching and analysis of the implementation of policies. Now they are in a transition phase, one in which they are emphasising research and the formulation of policies. They showed that they have the intellectual capabilities and the potential to perform in a quite satisfactory way. Since 2003, the unit has been quite productive and has a keen sense of the need to catch up and intensify the restructuring of their work in teams. They realise that in order to do this, they need more than a place to meet. The unit senses a strong need for regular interaction for the members of each team/group, project management meetings and output coordination. To facilitate this process they are endeavouring to create additional physical facilities to enable them to exchange ideas and carry on regular team work and project meetings. The group seems to be quite balanced in terms of age and gender and the areas they want to cover. Especially noticeable was a strong sense of motivation on the part of younger members of the team and a well developed sense of cohesion. The centre seems to have a rich network of connections with a wide variety of policy-making agencies, across various continents. The younger researchers seem to be bringing a new team spirit to the group. The group has a well-developed international approach: even their special-interest projects are very modern and realistic in their conception. The group had some good ideas about the strategies required for achieving an increase in the number of publications in international peer review journals. Their teaching output is equally impressive with over twenty full-time PhD students working under the auspices of the centre. The panel had the impression that the physical environment is conducive to good research.
Sobre os grupos de investigação
The group appears to have been involved in five main research projects since inception in 2003. At least one of these cannot really be described as having been “large scale” insofar as it was only funded to the tune of €9,000.
Productivity: Under the “achievements” heading, the group mentions “several books, articles and reviews” as well as conferences and highlights, in particular, some four international and thirteen national conference presentations. One refereed journal article is listed as are thirteen other publications. Of these, seven appear to have been authored by Meirinho, either alone or in conjunction with others. The group organised two conferences in 2005 and two in 2006. This must be seen against the background of the group’s human resources which appear to consist of 13 researchers of whom four are PhD students.

Relevance: The work of the group appears to focus very much on the Portuguese case rather than on international comparative work involving collaboration with groups in other countries. However, this has to be seen in the light of what appear to be the main general objectives of the group, namely, to conduct research of direct relevance to public policy in Portugal.

Feasibility: Under the heading, “Future Research”, eight projects are listed most of which appear to be on a relatively small scale insofar as their duration is limited to one or two years. Most have very specific outcomes associated with them and previous relevant publications are listed, so in the absence of other information one is forced to conclude that they appear to be feasible on the face of it.

Training: The group appears to provide a ‘home’ for four PhD students. It is not clear how quickly the four have progressed towards completion of the PhDs. The group’s work appears to have resulted in the completion of two Masters’ theses.
The group appears to have been in existence since 2003 and since that time to have contributed to some half dozen research projects. There are 11 researchers in the group. Five of them appear to be PhD students. The projects appear to have given rise, in the case of project 1, to a book chapter and a conference paper; in the case of project 2, to a conference and book (apparently still in preparation); in the case of project 3 and 4, to the monitoring and implementation of prevention policies (it is not clear, however, what this amounts to); in the case of project 5, the preparation of two Master’s dissertations and two refereed journal articles (though it is not clear whether the latter have yet been accepted). The most recent project has, we are told, resulted in several conference papers and publications, but no further details are provided.

Three refereed journal articles are listed. Fourteen other publications (book chapters, papers and a book review are listed). Of these, ten are single-authored pieces by Fausto Amaro. Two Masters degrees have been obtained. Six conferences and workshops have been organised. Looking at the members’ CVs, it is clear that the researchers have been responsible for much additional work besides, though only some of this work appears to be connected to the research projects that have apparently provided the focus for the work of the researchers as a group.

The focus of the group’s efforts appear to have been broadened, after its inception, as the result of some kind of internal reorganisation that took place in the Unit as a whole.

Several proposals for future projects are listed:
1) Socio-economic determinants of health
2) Poverty and well-being in rural areas (which has already achieved funding)
3) Aging and intergenerational relationships
4) Social networks, family and citizenship
5) ICTs in the Portuguese community
Proposal 5 was very clearly driven by the previous work and experience of Bárbara Andreia Barbosa Neves. in the case of the remaining projects, the specific links with the researchers’ previous work was less clear.
Productivity: Normally, one would want to assess what group membership has contributed to the productivity of its members over and above other factors. However, the group appears only just to have come into existence, so judgements are based on relevant publications in the past two years by the members with PhDs. Of these, Barry Wellman is clearly very prolific. João Abreu de Faria Bilhim is also clearly a very active researcher. In the case of the others, it is not possible to be quite as certain but it may be reasonable to assume that research leadership by the two aforementioned scholars could act in a positive way to drive forward the research activities of the group as a whole.

Relevance: The main intellectual concerns of the group are clearly very topical. One has the impression, looking at the research interests of the PhD and masters’ students, that the proposed projects are very closely tied to the dissertations these students are presumably preparing. The proposed collaboration with the University of Toronto is likely to raise the international relevance of the group’s work.

Feasibility: Arguing in favour of the feasibility of what the group proposes to do is the fact that its members appear to have been involved in previous research projects thematically related to the ones they are proposing to carry out, although the exact nature of the involvement of group members in these previous projects is not stated explicitly.

Training: The group, we are told, has three PhD students and three Masters’ students. Looking at the CVs of the six – in order to try to get a feel for what group membership might be contributing to their training and the rapidity of progress with their theses – one finds that some rather important information in this regard is missing. For example, it would be helpful to know when the theses were started. One is therefore forced to rely on other information to make this assessment and it is noteworthy that four of the six list research interests directly related to the group’s central concerns as well as relevant publications, which would speak in favour of the training group membership may offer. There is no information for one of the six.