R&D Institutions

Resultado da avaliação 2007 na área de Ciências da Saúde

Unidade de I&D

Centro de Estudos Biocinéticos [HESC-Centro-Coimbra-663] visitada em 08/04/2008

Classificação: Fair

Comentários do painel de avaliação
Sobre a unidade
The Centro de Estudos Biocinéticos (CEB) was created in 1996. The unit is developing its research in physical activity and sports sciences in a multidisciplinary way, determined by biological development and socio-cultural endowment. The research carried out in the Unit has a broad spectrum. It specifically deals with Exercise Immunology, Skeletal Muscles and Cardiovascular Physiology in Exercise, Youth Sport and Physical Activity in Pediatric Populations, Adapted Sport and also “Sociology of the body”.
In the last years the Unit has been divided into two groups; one dealing with Biology of Sport and Exercise and the other one with Social and Behavioral Sciences in Sport and Exercise. Both groups have built new laboratories in 2007; a Muscle Physiology Laboratory, which enables the group to develop new research projects related to skeletal muscle and cardio-vascular activities in sport, and a Sport and Exercise Psychology Laboratory, which enables the group to do new research in relation to biofeedback, motor performance and decision making and self-control. Based on the FCT funding, both labs are now well equipped, even though there are still some small basic needs.
The performance of the Unit in terms of scientific publications has not reached visibility at the international scene, since the large majority of the publications of members of the Unit are in Portuguese and in Portuguese journals with no impact. Although the Panel realizes that the Unit has been active in carrying out MSc theses, and a couple of PhD theses, at this stage cannot classify the Unit as more than fair.

In general both groups have already international relations. The Panel recommends that they should try to develop also stronger networks, since many of the research areas dealt with in this Unit, are also being investigated in other research units in Portugal. The Panel valorises that the Unit entertains local collaborations in relation to research and also technical and socio-economical collaborations such as sport NGO’s and city councils
A major problem for the Unit is that the investigations have not yet led to a body of publications that may have influence at the international level and scientific literature. Nonetheless the groups have been relatively productive within the Portuguese language world, regarding articles, book chapters and congress papers, but there are no articles in highly ranked journals and relatively few in peer reviewed international journals.
Therefore the Panel recommends that the groups should give a high priority to publish in international journals of higher impact. This should also be standard for the publications of PhD students who should write papers in international journals for their PhD theses. With respect to publications in the Portuguese language the Panel understands that these have a local usefulness but they should be in the form of informative booklets for schools and the general public, rather than for reporting results of scientific research.
The Unit is now starting an advanced PhD course in Sports Science and in Tourism, Leisure and Culture, which consists in a welcome improvement of their research programme. The Panel also recommends that the different groups should set up a comprehensive system of seminars and journal clubs especially for the benefit of the junior members.
Sobre os grupos de investigação
Biology of sport and exercise [RG-HESC-Centro-Coimbra-663-850]
The main interest of the group is to explore different biological aspects of exercise and sport. The research is divided in areas dealing with exercise immunology, exercise and health, growth and maturation, skeletal and cardiovascular physiology and management of sport injuries, with some overlap of researchers in the different areas. According to the material distributed during the visit, it appears that the group consists of 7 researchers (PhD), 13 junior staff including 10 PhD students as well as 9 collaborators, 5 from other countries. One PhD project has been completed and one accepted in the last period (2003-07) as well 24 master theses. The current number of PhD student is 8 and there is 40 master students enrolled. The number of PhD students which has been enrolled in the group is low, and should be increased in the coming period, which is also the expressed vision of the Unit’s PIs. In general the research objectives are clear and valid, but the Panel advises that the research activities should be more efficient if the groups focused on a fewer number of subjects. Furthermore the members of the Unit are strongly recommended to publish in international peer-reviewed journals in English and to promote activities to enhance the Unit’s visibility.
Social and behavioural sciences in sport and exercise [RG-HESC-Centro-Coimbra-663-851]
The group explores a range of social, political, economical and ethical issues in relation to life sciences and sport sciences. The research is divided in areas dealing with Health, body and society; Health and physical activity related to psychological dimensions of the area; Paediatric physical activity and youth sport also taking motor development into consideration.
The group consists now of 7 researchers with PhD, 12 assistants including 10 PhD students and 4 international collaborators. Four PhD projects and 40 master theses have been completed in the last period (2003-07). Eight PhD projects and 32 master theses are in progress. The number of PhD students which has been enrolled in this group is also quite low, and should be increased in the coming period, which is also an expressed vision. The large majority of the group’s publications are in Portuguese and in journals of little impact. The Panel strongly recommends that the group adopts a more ambitious strategy to enhance the international impact of their research results.