R&D Institutions

Resultado da avaliação 2007 na área de Economia e Gestão

Unidade de I&D

Unidade de Investigação em Ciências Económicas e Empresariais - UNICEE [ECO-LVT-Lisboa-407] visitada em 02/12/2008

Classificação: Excellent

Comentários do painel de avaliação
Sobre a unidade
This is one of the best Portuguese research units in the field, one that the panel has ranked EXCELLENT and placed close to the top among those with the same classification. The 2007 report lists 26 PhD researchers, but they are 35 now.
Positive elements
The important researcher population growth reflects an intensive hiring of young researchers by the department (with which the research unit may be more or less identified: entry in the unit is limited to tenured or tenure-track faculty, leadership being quite integrated across the institutions). Since 2004 the department (and hence the unit) has hired 15 young researchers of 9 different nationalities, with PhD’s obtained in 15 different universities (from the Technical University of Lisbon to Harvard or MIT). These young researchers were said to be well integrated and producing regularly. Hiring in the international job market has become a rule 5 years ago. It is designed to respond to the necessity not only of renewal, but also of correction of the distortion between the structures of the teacher and student populations (60% of the faculty was in economics, whereas only 25% of the students are studying economics, and still less at graduate level). The recruitment strategy has however focused on research, financing being obtained through executive training programs.

This recruitment partly accounts for the high increase in publications (and in papers in the pipe-line) since the available report. The unit has in general excellent publications, with a quite dispersed authorship. It has two research groups: (i) Economics and evaluation of policy (ii) Business and banking. This division in two groups looks sound, although it has been qualified by the unit coordinator as somewhat artificial, principally dictated by the FCT. The publication records of both groups are very high on international standards (even if the economics group is mildly dominating in quality), with articles in top ranked journals such as Review of Economic Studies, Journal of Political Economy, Journal of Monetary Economics, International Economic Review, Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Economic Theory, Journal of Economic Theory, Journal of Banking and Finance, Organization Studies, Review of Financial Economics, etc. The tendency in the last months indicates that the unit is on a still steeper slope in terms of publications.

The two groups are strongly related as deeply rooted in the mainstream of economics. In terms of scientific interactions, this is a key advantage as compared with other European universities.

There is an incentive scheme towards good quality international publications. For instance, the teaching loads are adapted individually according to the result of the yearly individual research evaluations: the maximum is 144 hours (or 3 annual courses) for those doing less research and the minimum is 108 hours (or 2 annual courses) for the newly hired members.

Both groups are strongly involved in seminar and conferences organization. The unit organizes a weekly research seminar where roughly 33 invited researchers have presented their work each year since 2003.

Senior researchers are annually evaluated according to three criteria: research, teaching and public interest services.

As usual in Portuguese universities, PhD training has been weak (only 15 PhD theses since 1995), but the unit has launched a PhD programme in 2008 with Canergie-Mellon University. The number of PhD students has increased: there are now 6 PhD students in technological change and entrepreneurship.

The unit is involved in promising research projects, for instance on organizational justice, experimental economics (LERNE).

It has a very good leadership with a precise and thoughtful vision which is shared by all the members of the unit.

It is also very active in disseminating knowledge in the society. Some members are quite present in the media to discuss economic and management questions of the moment.

The education demand is higher in management than in economics. Accordingly, the teaching load and the student supervision load are higher for the management scholars than those working in economics. In the long run this could create some imbalance in research performance between the two groups of the unit. This why appropriately profiled recruitment is so important, as the unit has seemingly realized.

The PhD program in Technical Change and Entrepreneurship involving three other Portuguese institutions seems to be divorced from the core competencies of the unit which stand in the mainstream of economics and finance. Of course, this type of program corresponds to a huge demand from practitioners in business but this could jam the image of the group or at least consume too much intellectual resources. There is an optimal tradeoff between focus and diversification which has to be kept. No doubt however that the members of the group are aware of this.

Sobre os grupos de investigação
Business and Banking [RG-ECO-LVT-Lisboa-407-529]
Economics and Evaluation of policies [RG-ECO-LVT-Lisboa-407-528]