As publicly announced at the Ciência 2012 meeting, FCT intends to carry out a rigorous evaluation exercise of the research institutions that make up the Portuguese science and technology system.
This evaluation exercise takes place at a time when crucial changes to the European framework programmes are afoot, including new strategies for support of scientific research and technological development. These strategies are expected to address the major societal challenges of the Europe 2020 agenda, and contribute to bolster Europe’s competitive edge in the global knowledge economy. It is thus critical that the Portuguese R&D system is correctly configured, to optimise research groups’ chances of success within the European Research Area.
It is imperative, therefore, to put in place institutional strategies that bolster international competitiveness of the research groups working in Portugal. The fact that the current evaluation exercise covers the 2014-2020 period reflects the intention to align the national evaluation system with the schedule of the European funding programmes that largely fund national research. This alignment is expected to lead to greater budgetary flexibility and increased administrative simplification.
FCT endorses a broad definition of “excellence”, and acknowledges that the best science develops in creative settings, that foster diversity as a factor for enrichment and that adopt flexible organisation and governance models, whereby new challenges and opportunities may be followed up at any moment.
The planned evaluation exercise shall allow and encourage, whenever useful and suitable, the reconfiguration of the R&D system in line with the strategic vision of the institutions and their research teams.
In preparing for the evaluation, FCT launched a public consultation to hear the views of the scientific community on the proposed regulations for evaluation and funding of R&D institutions. The public consultation ran from 28 February to 13 March.