FCT

R&D Institutions

Resultado da avaliação 2007 na área de Sociologia, Antropologia, Demografia e Geografia

Unidade de I&D

Centro de Investigação em Antropologia e Saúde [SOC-Centro-Coimbra-283] visitada em 22/11/2007

Classificação: Excellent

Comentários do painel de avaliação
Sobre a unidade
This research centre is now essentially focused on physical anthropology, the members working in human anthropology having joined the big centre CRIA. Nevertheless, the socio-cultural aspects are still present, some members of this field working in CIAS and all of them being still occupied in the teaching department and interdisciplinary disposed towards discussions and consultation. Furthermore, the exploitation of the resources of the ethnological museum implies the maintenance of this crucial perspective. All of which is coherent with the explicit focus of the unit: human health, disease and well-being in the past and the present from a bio-cultural perspective.
The productivity of the unit is at a very high level and internationally well known, as it is shown by the publications in prestigious specialized journals at world level (many in IJ with referees, IF and n°C ). This unit not only functions at an excellent scientific level, developing feasible projects with clear research issues, but the various lines of research are also likely to have important social and economical repercussions (witness for instance the research done on obesity, together with its accompanying exhibition).
PHD students seem quite satisfied with their integration in the unit. Many seminars are organised and visiting professors are regularly invited in relation with their theses. The staff members are available, enthusiastic and stimulating. Students find an important material for their researches in the museum and they sometimes do fieldwork with one or another member of the staff, thus acquiring indispensable practical experience. An original activity was created by the MA students with the support of the staff: namely the launching of an association whose members regularly visit secondary schools to help teachers vulgarize scientific knowledge.
The group «Anthropology of past populations» (283 – 1280) is excellent. It gives an impressive overview of its scientific achievements, providing both a set of specific research questions and a list of methods used. It has demonstrated that it is able to transform its speculative skills into practical projects. The group has a relatively small, but growing, number of students. The researchers have backgrounds in biology, anthropology and archaeology and are engaged in both local and international cooperation. The research output is high and of an excellent international standard.
The group «Genes, populations and diseases» (283–1791) is very good and it has an important scientific production, at an international level too. The panel, and more specifically the panel member specialized in the field, recommends increasing international cooperation in order to stimulate innovative experiences, to standardize methodologies and to facilitate transnational exchanges for young researchers.


The group «Human biology, health and society» (283–1279) is excellent. Its aim is to understand the factors behind health and disease and to help the development of public health prevention and education policies. The quality and the quantity of the research are high and its internationalisation is solid. It has an interesting set of interdisciplinary projects. The scientific impact of the research is important, as are its social, economic, political and cultural effects. The group has demonstrated its capacity to transform its theoretical developments into practical applications for the benefit of the population at large.
The group «Material culture» (283-2180) – and the former group «Material, visual and performative culture» (283-2165) which was its predecessor - is good. This group essentially covers the activities of the museum, particularly the exhibitions constructed along scientific lines, linked with research projects (such as the current one on obesity). It is worthwhile to note that part of the museum collections (the ethnological ones as well as the ones linked with physical anthropology) are unique in the world and that they contribute to more than 50% of the research of the unit. This material is also frequently useful for foreign researchers. The panel wondered if a museological team as such could be considered as a «research group» as it could appear to be not much more than a material resource for research rather than a research as such. If the competencies and the commitment of the persons working in the museum are essential towards an adequate and efficient use of it resources, it should also be noted that they are themselves working in the frame of projects developed in other groups (as was the case with the exhibition on obesity). This question is not a negative evaluation of the museum but only a query as to its place in the unit’s overarching structure. In the opinion of the panel, it would be plausible to require co-authorship with museum staff in publications that use the collections, without which many such publications would not have been possible. In any case, all publications that have been based on the collections should be collected in a register documenting the scientific relevance of these collections. The panel recommends also that, in the future, the access and use of the collections should be monitored in much more detail with an eye to obtaining a more precise estimate of the scientific quality of the collections. This access by visiting scholars should be regulated in keeping with a protocol, specifying questions raised and foreseeable publications.
Sobre os grupos de investigação
Anthropology of Past Populations [RG-SOC-Centro-Coimbra-283-1280]
The group « Anthropology of past populations » (283 – 1280) is excellent. It gives an impressive overview of its scientific achievements, providing both a set of specific research questions and a list of methods used. It has demonstrated that it is able to transform its speculative skills into practical projects. The group has a relatively small, but growing, number of students. The researchers have backgrounds in biology, anthropology and archaeology and are engaged in both local and international cooperation. The research output is high and of an excellent international standard.
Genes, Populations and Diseases [RG-SOC-Centro-Coimbra-283-1791]
The group «Genes, populations and diseases» (283–1791) is very good and it has an important scientific production, at an international level too. The panel, and more specifically the panel member specialized in the field, recommends increasing international cooperation in order to stimulate innovative experiences, to standardize methodologies and to facilitate transnational exchanges for young researchers.
Group for the Studies in Material Culture [RG-SOC-Centro-Coimbra-283-2180]
The group «Material culture» (283-2180) – and the former group «Material, visual and performative culture» (283-2165) which was its predecessor is good. This group essentially covers the activities of the museum, particularly the exhibitions constructed along scientific lines, linked with research projects (such as the current one on obesity). It is worthwhile to note that part of the museum collections (the ethnological ones as well as the ones linked with physical anthropology) are unique in the world and that they contribute to more than 50% of the research of the unit. This material is also frequently useful for foreign researchers. The panel wondered if a museological team as such could be considered as a «research group» as it could appear to be not much more than a material resource for research rather than a research as such. If the competencies and the commitment of the persons working in the museum are essential towards an adequate and efficient use of it resources, it should also be noted that they are themselves working in the frame of projects developed in other groups (as was the case with the exhibition on obesity). This question is not a negative evaluation of the museum but only a query as to its place in the unit’s overarching structure. In the opinion of the panel, it would be plausible to require co-authorship with museum staff in publications that use the collections, without which many such publications would not have been possible. In any case, all publications that have been based on the collections should be collected in a register documenting the scientific relevance of these collections. The panel recommends also that, in the future, the access and use of the collections should be monitored in much more detail with an eye to obtaining a more precise estimate of the scientific quality of the collections. This access by visiting scholars should be regulated in keeping with a protocol, specifying questions raised and foreseeable publications.
Group for the Studies in Material, Visual and Performative Culture [RG-X-SOC-Centro-Coimbra-283-2165]
This group was the predecessor of the Group for the Studies in Material Culture (2180) and deserves the same comments: It essentially covered the activities of the museum, particularly the exhibitions constructed along scientific lines, linked with research projects (such as the current one on obesity). It is worthwhile to note that part of the museum collections (the ethnological ones as well as the ones linked with physical anthropology) are unique in the world and that they contribute to more than 50% of the research of the unit. This material is also frequently useful for foreign researchers. The panel wondered if a museological team as such could be considered as a «research group» as it could appear to be not much more than a material resource for research rather than a research as such. If the competencies and the commitment of the persons working in the museum are essential towards an adequate and efficient use of it resources, it should also be noted that they are themselves working in the frame of projects developed in other groups (as was the case with the exhibition on obesity). This question is not a negative evaluation of the museum but only a query as to its place in the unit’s overarching structure. In the opinion of the panel, it would be plausible to require co-authorship with museum staff in publications that use the collections, without which many such publications would not have been possible. In any case, all publications that have been based on the collections should be collected in a register documenting the scientific relevance of these collections. The panel recommends also that, in the future, the access and use of the collections should be monitored in much more detail with an eye to obtaining a more precise estimate of the scientific quality of the collections. This access by visiting scholars should be regulated in keeping with a protocol, specifying questions raised and foreseeable publications.
Human Biology, Health and Society [RG-SOC-Centro-Coimbra-283-1279]
The group « Human biology, health and society » (283–1279) is excellent. Its aim is to understand the factors behind health and disease and to help the development of public health prevention and education policies. The quality and the quantity of the research are high and its internationalisation is solid. It has an interesting set of interdisciplinary projects. The scientific impact of the research is important, as are its social, economic, political and cultural effects. The group has demonstrated its capacity to transform its theoretical developments into practical applications for the benefit of the population at large.