FCT

R&D Institutions

Resultado da avaliação 2007 na área de Ciências da Saúde

Unidade de I&D

Unidade de Investigação e Desenvolvimento em Enfermagem (UI&DE) [HESC-LVT-Lisboa-638] visitada em 09/02/2008

Classificação: Fair

Comentários do painel de avaliação
Sobre a unidade
This unit started in 2001, but underwent major changes in September 2007, as four Schools of Nursing were consolidated into one organization, which hosts this research Unit. The written documentation presented in advance of the site visit was substandard, making it difficult for the evaluation panel to make an accurate appraisal of the Unit’s activities, before the site visit. While many issues were clarified during the site visit, more stringent preparation and structured presentations of the research groups would have been welcome, and would have aided the evaluation panel in assessing the achievements of the unit.
As far as we can determine from the data presented in various forms, the productivity of this research unit is not high, judged by international standards. In the documentation, few peer-reviewed publications in English can be found, although there is more evidence of research dissemination at international conferences and the Unit has communicated its research extensively to the audience of Portuguese nurses. While we appreciate the need to publish in Portuguese to reach nursing audiences, the Unit would benefit from increased focus on presenting research results in international peer-reviewed journals rather than primarily at conferences. In this way the Unit would enhance its visibility within the international scientific community. We are aware that this is very challenging at present, and we encourage the Unit to consider manners of raising researcher competency in communicating in academic English in oral and especially in written form. The Unit also is responsible for publication of one Portuguese-language peer-reviewed journal, but this is not yet indexed in major international nursing data bases. We strongly suggest that the efforts put into this and other Portuguese language scientific journals would be most effective if merged into joint national/international publications. This would also serve to increase the critical audience and the Unit’s impact.
One strength of this research Unit appears to be in developing nursing scholarship on a conceptual level, which makes the Unit nationally important today and has the potential to allow the Unit to make a strong contribution to the development of nursing science internationally. Unfortunately, the potential of this Unit is not yet realized at present. The research conducted is not accessible to international audiences, the Unit lacks resources and infrastructure to facilitate its work and the senior staff lacks clear support for its continued academic development. The evaluation panel was impressed by the enthusiasm and drive of many of the individual junior and senior researchers, but believes that these individual efforts need increased institutional support for the Unit to reach a high level of academic professionalism. The scientific boards of both the Unit and the PhD program are an important instrument in maintaining and monitoring quality. Whether the Unit fully profits from the possibilities of these structures was not evident during the site-visit.
The research is delineated in a clear structure. The unit is closely linked with a PhD program, and should be commended on the decision to limit the number of PhD students to match the existing resources and maintain high quality. The doctoral students are very positive about the possibilities the Unit offers for exchange, both with senior researchers and with one another, but it is clear that much academic work is carried out in their “free time”.
In summary, we are convinced that this Unit has an important role to play in developing nursing science nationally. The relevance of the Unit’s research for nursing is beyond question, but it appears that the FCT evaluation did not come at the most appropriate time, as it coincided with major organizational changes affecting the Unit that are not yet consolidated. However, the site visit gave the impression of a relatively insular and academically young environment, despite multi-disciplinary and international contacts. We are left unable, at present, to determine the relationship between the Unit’s visions for the future and clear and viable plans for realizing these visions. We strongly suggest that the host institution recognizes its crucial role in providing infrastructure support for this Unit if it is to have a chance to realize its potential.
Due to the strategic importance of this Unit for the development of nursing science in Portugal, the strong human resources in the Unit, and the potential for international impact of its work, an interim evaluation to assess the impact of the changed organizational situation would be desirable within, for example, two years time. In several countries a group such as this one would be considered an “Unit in formation” and would be given a relatively short period to organize itself and to show its potential to grow. After such an “incubation” period, the results of the development process would be assessed, and a decision on whether, or not, the group would get the fully status of a Unit would be taken.

The Unit in its written reports states that at the present stage of development of this Unit “it is not possible to indicate specific requirements”. We agree that this is difficult. As stated above the panel is of the opinion that this Unit should be given the opportunity to reorganize itself, its research and teaching programs and resubmit a proposal within 2 years for assessment of its viability. In the course of this process the Unit should resort to the advice of an expert Advisory Board.
Units such as this one, that are still in a phase of early development, although based on previous experience of a number of researchers, should be assessed according to specific criteria. Ideally such Units should be assessed in order to determine whether they should be given seed money to make a good start in order to form a viable Unit in the course of a reasonable time period. For this “formation phase” they should be given a number of years – from 2 to 3 –; thereafter they should be assessed to determine whether they have developed a solid scientific program, sufficient critical mass and have acquired the necessary facilities. The present Unit is in a state of development that corresponds to such a “period of formation”.
A National Graduate School of Nursing Studies for the whole country, with several local partners, based on rules for attaining and maintaining high scientific and teaching levels, and with a viable system of financing (infrastructure, fellowships) should be considered. This field needs a comprehensive program of development at the national level.
Sobre os grupos de investigação
Health and Development [RG-HESC-LVT-Lisboa-638-2509]
Knowledge and practice [RG-HESC-LVT-Lisboa-638-2508]