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R&D Institutions


2013 Evaluation of R&D Units

Latest News

03.05.2016 - Funding Support Programme 2016 for R&D Units awarded low or no funding in this review. 96 units are eligible for this one-off support. More information here.

02.03.2016 - Results of submitted complaints (analysed in 2015): 28 of the 73 R&D Units that submitted complaints saw the evaluation decisions overturned. Of these, 13 received recommendations for increased funding and 7 for a Stage 2 evaluation.

More information and phase-by-phase results.

The Regulation guiding this evaluation was under public consultation, as a result of which FCT received around 150 individual contributions as well as institutional contributions from the Council of Rectors of Portuguese Universities, several universities and faculties, professional and scientific societies and labour unions. All contributions informed the final version that is now published.


Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT) wishes to carry out an international evaluation of Portuguese scientific research and technological development units, including those R&D Units that benefit from the status of Associate Laboratory, with the aim of reinforcing the role of research units as a fundamental pillar in underpinning a modern and competitive scientific system.

Funded research units should: demonstrate internationally recognised scientific production, have suitable critical mass to achieve their objectives, realistically use infrastructures, technical means and human resources, contribute to dissemination and transfer of knowledge and technology and, whenever appropriate, offer a strategy that contributes to differentiation, competitiveness and wealth creation in their geographical region.

FCT encourages diverse organisational models, as long as effective. Thus, units may choose to keep their current composition and organisation, or, alternatively, to reorganise their configuration to one best suited to achieve their strategic goals. This reorganisation may include the creation of new research units, as well as the merger or closure of existing ones.

Both the scientific and technological research activities previously undertaken by the R&D Unit as well as the proposed research and development strategy for subsequent years will be evaluated.

The results of this evaluation and associated funding come into effect from January 2015 and are valid for a period of six years. Approved R&D Units will be financed through national funds and, when eligible, co-financed by EU funds in the framework of the Common Strategic Framework for 2014-2020.

More information is available in the Announcement, Regulation for the Evaluation and Funding of Research Units, the Evaluation Guide and Additional Information document, and the FAQ section.


All public R&D units, with the exception of state laboratories, as well as private R&D units integrated into long-term public funding programmes, or those that wish to undergo the evaluation process, may apply, regardless of the time elapsed since their last evaluation.


Allocated funding will go towards activities that enhance the R&D units and create or amplify the best conditions for the achievement of their objectives, namely structural or general expenses. Funding will also aim to reinforce the strategic R&D activities of units of acknowledged merit and, as appropriate, financially complement R&D activities of the unit.

Funding for R&D units consists of two parts:

  1. Core funding, to be allocated to units graded equal to or higher than “Good”, indexed to the dimension of the unit, to an adjustment factor corresponding to its laboratory intensity and to the rating obtained by the R&D unit in the evaluation process;
  2. Strategic funding, to be allocated to R&D units graded “Exceptional”, “Excellent” or “Very Good”, based on the proposed strategic programme and its evaluation by the review panel.

How to apply

The application for evaluation involves two moments:

  1. Registration of the R&D unit on the FCT information system - PCT. The organisational model of the R&D unit should be clearly explained and justified including the R&D unit profile (disciplinary or interdisciplinary; basic research or applied research/experimental development.
  2. Submission of the application using a purpose-built form, in English. The main results and performance outputs of R&D unit for the period 2008-2012 as well as the strategic programme of the R&D unit for 2015-2020 should be described in the application form.

More information is available in the Registration Guide (only in Portuguese), in the Regulation for the Evaluation and Funding of Research Units and Application Guide for R&D Units (only in Portuguese).


The evaluation of R&D Units is carried out by international evaluation panels, organised according to specific scientific domains and composed of experts of well-established international merit and expertise who are associated with foreign institutions.

Due to the characteristics of this review process, both in terms of size and coverage (324 R&D Units registered for evaluation, with 15 476 integrated research members) FCT opted to set up an agreement with the European Science Foundation (ESF) in order to involve this international, non-governmental organisation in the peer-review process of Portuguese R&D Units. Working closely with FCT departments and the FCT Board, ESF will bring to the process three decades of experience in implementing peer-review and evaluation, both for its own purposes or third parties.

More information on the evaluation process.

The evaluation criteria are as follows:

  1. Productivity and contribution to the National Scientific and Technological System
  2. Scientific and technological merit of the research team
  3. Scientific merit and innovative nature of the strategic programme
  4. Feasibility of work plan and reasonability of the requested budget
  5. Impact of the scientific, technological and cultural output

The evaluation will result in the attribution of one of the following qualitative grades: “Exceptional”, “Excellent”, “Very Good”, “Good”, “Fair”, “Poor”.

The evaluation is carried out in two phases:

  1. The first phase of evaluation allocates grades of “Good”, “Fair” and “Poor”.
  2. The second phase of evaluation allocates grades of “Exceptional”, “Excellent”, “Very Good”, “Good”, “Fair”, “Poor”. This phase includes either a site visit to the R&D unit or meetings with the coordinators, researchers and other team members.

R&D units evaluated under this regulation may be subject of to a mid-term review, to take place within three years.

More information is available in the Evaluation Guide and in the Additional Information document.

Deadlines and key dates

9th July 2013 to 31st October 2013, 5pm (Lisbon time) - Registration of R&D units on Portal de Ciência e Tecnologia da FCT - PCT/FCT

30th December 2013, 5pm (Lisbon time) - Deadline for submission of applications.

June 2014 – Results of the first phase of evaluation are released; Publication of evaluation panels and results of Bibliometric study conducted by ELSEVIER.

July, September and October 2014 – Site visits to the research units by evaluation panels.

December 2014 – Release of results of the second phase of evaluation.

1st trimester 2015 – Approval and release of the final results


  • Service Agreement between FCT and the European Science Foundation (ESF) and Addendum for the 2013 Evaluation of R&D Units
    Due to the characteristics of this review process, both in terms of size and coverage, FCT set up an agreement with ESF for Peer Review Support: carrying out the Stage 1 evaluation process and providing support for the Stage 2 site visits.
  • Contract between FCT and ELSEVIER for the 2013 Evaluation of R&D Units
    The bibliometric analysis provided by ELSEVIER is used as a complement to other peer-review criteria. It encompasses the aggregated data for the 2008-2012 period, for researchers in the units under evaluation.


For enquiries regarding technical issues with the application forms, please email

For technical support contact

The information on this page does not replace or override any requirements set forth in the Regulations.