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R&D Institutions

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

2013 Evaluation

Funding of R&D Units

What is the estimated annual budget for the funding of R&D units?

FCT foresees a budget of 50 M € per year (subject to FCT budget availability) for the funding of R&D units.

How will the funding be allocated?

Funds to be allocated to R&D units comprise two parts:

  • Core funding, to be allocated to units rated equal to or higher than “Good”.
  • Strategic funding, to be allocated to units rated equal to or higher than “Very Good” based on the strategic programme submitted by the unit, and its grading by the evaluation panel.
How is the core funding determined?

The core funding is indexed to the dimension of the unit, to an adjustment factor corresponding to its laboratory intensity and to the grade obtained by the R&D unit in the evaluation process.

Core Funding Matrix

Laboratory Intensity
Dimension
Grade
Exceptional (100%) Excellent (75%) Very Good (50%) Good(10%)
High (100%) Large (100%) 400.000€ 300.000€ 200.000€ 40.000€
Medium (50%) 200.000€ 150.000€ 100.000€ 20.000€
Small (25%) 100.000€ 75.000€ 50.000€ 10.000€
Medium (75%) Large (100%) 300.000€ 225.000€ 150.000€ 30.000€
Medium (50%) 150.000€ 112.500€ 75.000€ 15.000€
Small (25%) 75.000€ 56.250€ 37.500€ 7.500€
Low/null (50%) Large (100%) 200.000€ 150.000€ 100.000€ 20.000€
Medium (50%) 100.000€ 75.000€ 50.000€ 10.000€
Small (25%) 50.000€ 37.500€ 25.000€ 5.000€

(By order of the Secretary of State for Science, 5 July, 2013)

Description of R&D Units

How is the dimension of R&D unit characterised?
  • Small: from 10 to 40 integrated PhD members
  • Average: from 41 to 80 integrated PhD members
  • Large: over 81 integrated PhD members

The core funding depends on the unit dimension with 100%, 50% and 25% weightings.

How is a unit's laboratory intensity characterised?
  • High: equipment/ laboratory and experimental component
  • Medium: archives for public use and database infrastructure of national and European value
  • Low/ null: absence of significant levels of the elements mentioned above

The core funding depends on the laboratory intensity with 100%, 75% and 50% weightings.

What is the difference between a single-discipline and a multi/interdisciplinary R&D Unit?

A R&D unit characterised as multi/interdisciplinary is required to identify at least two scientific areas within different scientific domains (these are: Life and Health Sciences, Natural and Environmental Sciences, Exact Sciences and Engineering, Social Sciences and the Humanities).

All R&D units considered to be single-disciplinary should identify one main scientific area and up to three secondary scientific areas.

This choice has implications on the evaluation. Thus, a single-discipline R&D unit is usually evaluated by a single panel and an interdisciplinary unit is evaluated by more than one panel.

Research Team

What is an integrated member?

A researcher has to fulfill at least three criteria to be considered an integrated member of a R&D unit:

  • To be researcher with a PhD degree or a teaching position and, in either case, hold a contract or link to a Portuguese University;
  • To dedicate a minimum of 30% to research activities. Time dedicated to R&D activities is calculated as the difference between full time (100%) and the time dedicated to teaching and other professional non-R&D activities;
  • To have produced at least two scientific output indicators (which may include the PhD thesis), if the PhD was awarded after 31/12/2009, and four scientific output indicators in the last five years, if the PhD was awarded before 31/12/2009. Alternative indicators to those in FCT reference indexes are allowed, as long as dully justified in the application and with impact on the evaluation.

In all cases a single indicator will be accepted, as long as it relates to a publication in a top 10% international peer-review journal in the area of research.

How may PhD holders that held Public Office positions and do not have scientific output indicators for the past five years fulfil the third criterium for integrated members?

Article 73 (1) of Estatuto da Carreira Docente Universitária and Article 49 of Estatuto de Carreira de Investigação Científica determine that services provided in other public functions is equivalent to actual service, thus suspending other established obligations, such as the obligation to present four scientific output indicators or equivalents, produced in the last five years.

Can foreign researchers be integrated members of the R&D unit?

The integration of foreign members is allowed as long as both the following integrated member criteria are fulfilled: he/she is a researcher with a PhD degree and has a professional contract or link to a Portuguese University.

It is not allowed, under any circumstances, for researchers with full-time contracts with foreign institutions to be proposed as integrated members.

Can a researcher belong to more than one R&D Unit?

A researcher cannot be an integrated member in more than one R&D unit. Only Post-doctoral fellows are allowed to be members of two R&D units simultaneously, as long as their total dedication time to the workplan does not exceed 100%.
However, researchers can be integrated members of an R&D unit and also collaborate with other units.

Which date will be accepted as the effective date of publication in a scientific journal?

Any scientific paper has only one effective publication date, regardless of the format of publication. In the case of online journals, the official publication date coincides with the date that the paper goes online. Print journals, on the other hand, often make papers available online before print. In these cases, the date of publication in print is considered to be the effective publication date.

Which bibliometric information site should be used when a paper in one of the top 10% international peer-review journals of a specific research area is mentioned as the single indicator of scientific output?

We suggest one of the following sites to find information on the rankings of scientific journals:

  • Journal Citation reports (available through the digital online scientific library, b-on), drawn up from the Thomson Reuters Citation Indexes. This site ranks the scientific journals in each sub-domain, according to their Impact Factor (IF). Latest edition: 2012.
  • SCImago Journal & Country Rank, drawn up by SCImago, from Scopus data. This site ranks scientific journals in each sub-domain, according to their SJR (SCImago Journal Rank Indicator). Latest edition: 2011.
What period should the scientific output indicators for an integrated member refer to?

To PhDs awarded before 31/12/2009 four scientific output indicators from 2008 to 2012 should be listed.

To PhDs awarded after 31/12/2009 two scientific output indicators between 2010- 2013 should be listed.

What is the date of reference for updating integrated members’ CVs?

The CVs that have been submitted by the application deadline are taken as reference for the evaluation process.

Which CV format will be made available for evaluators: FCT-SIG or DeGóis?

Integrated members may choose either format. Any changes made after the application has been locked will not be considered.

Can a researcher be an integrated member of a currently FCT-funded R&D unit and also be an integrated member of a unit applying for this evaluation?

Yes. The researcher should be identified as an integrated member of the team belonging to a new unit being submitted for evaluation.

The Application Form

Can the unit's scientific output indicators for 2013 be included in the application form?

In the tables for the unit’s outputs, only outputs from 2008 to 2012 should be listed, since this is the period under evaluation. However, if there are relevant results from 2013, these may be included in the fields referring to the unit or the research group's Main Achievements. Scientific outputs from 2013 may also be described in the integrated members’ CVs.

Can the scientific output of integrated members moving to other units in this evaluation be included in the application form?

Yes, the scientific output of integrated members that are moving to other units may be included in the tables referring to 2008-2012 general indicators, as part of the activities of the unit within that period.

In the section referring to research groups, should the area for Research Group Output 2008-2012 contain information for the integrated members of the until being submitted only?

The productivity outputs for the research groups should include the outputs of the team that makes up the research group(integrated members or collaborators) that will be evaluated for 2015/2020.

How will the application process ensure that existing R&D Units that are undergoing a merger are able to report past work?

In the section referring to the 2008-2012 period, it is possible to include aggregated information for units that are currently funded by FCT and that will be part of a new R&D unit as a result of a merger. Example: Scientific output indicators.

If a unit chooses the option “Maintain” and takes on part of the team of another unit may it report scientific outputs from 2008/2012 in the tables for outputs of the latter unit?

No. Only scientific outputs of the registered unit should be included. Scientific output of 2008-2012 of researchers transferring to a different unit may only be reported in the scientific output table of the unit that researchers come from. However, these researchers’ scientific outputs, included in their CVs, will be considered in evaluation of the proposed research plan for 2015-2020.

What is the difference between thematic lines and research groups?

Thematic lines correspond to scientific programmes or other types of organisation of the scientific activity that is to be developed by the research groups. Organisation along thematic lines is non-compulsory; it is up to the Coordinator to choose the type of organisation that best represents the strategic objectives of the unit.

Can a research group participate in more than one thematic line?

Yes, a research group may collaborate in more than one thematic line and it is not compulsory that all research groups be part of a thematic line.

Is there a minimum number of integrated members in a research group?

Yes, research groups must have at least 3 researchers that are integrated members. The application form requires the indication of 3 key CVs for each research group.

Can national and international projects be included in the 2008-2012 general indicators?

National research projects (including FCT projects) as well as international projects should be included in section 5.1 – General Indicators 2008/2012, under the item Research Contracts with national or international bodies.

Which contracts and/or projects can be listed in section 5’s general indicators and section 9’s research group output for 2008-2012?

Research contracts or terms of acceptance of projects signed by the parts involved for 2008-2012 can be accounted for or referenced in these sections. Section 5 also includes the year.

Does the item FCT funded projects (Section 4) include PhD Programmes, grants, training expenses and employment support awarded by FCT?

No. This type of FCT support should not be included in this section.

In section 11, should the strategic programme budget of include the core funding?

No. For units applying for funding, the overall budget should be the same as the funding requested to FCT, according to Article 13 (1b) of the Regulation.

Evaluation

How are R&D units graded?
Grade
Description

Exceptional

R&D Unit recognized as an international reference for its scientific and technological output and exceptional contributions to its area of research.
Excellent R&D Unit distinguished by the high quality and international merit of its scientific and technological output and with significant contributions to its area of research.
Very Good R&D Unit recognised as having high quality and national merit and with significant contributions of international relevance in its area of research.
Good R&D Unit with quality at the national level, reduced internationalisation and some contributions to its area of research.
Fair R&D Unit without significant contributions to its area of research.
Poor R&D Unit without contributions to its area of research and with other weaknesses.
How are the evaluation panels of single-discipline and multi/interdisciplinary R&D Units composed?

The evaluation panels of both single-discipline and multi/interdisciplinary R&D Units will take into account the keywords indicated in the research groups section of the application form as well as the scientific areas selected in the thematic lines section. Thematic lines chosen may include scientific areas that haven't been stated in the registration, within the same scientific domain(s).

When will the results of this evaluation be published?

FCT will inform of the evaluation results of phase 1 up to 15 working days after the consensus evaluation reports are received.

FCT will inform of the evaluation results of phase 2 within 30 working days after the final reports of the evaluation panels as well as, whenever applicable, the funding proposals, and the respective expert opinions are received.

How can an appeal to the evaluation proposal be lodged?

The coordinator of the R&D unit can lodge an appeal to the evaluation proposal in 2 periods:

Upon notice of the evaluation panel’s decision, the coordinator of R&D unit has up to 10 days to give an opinion on pertinent points.

Upon notice of the decision, the coordinator of the R&D unit has up to 15 days to submit a complaints claim.

When can the final results of the evaluation be expected?

FCT estimates that the evaluation results will be reported by the end of 2014 and become effective from January 2015 (notwithstanding the funding of strategic project 2013/2014).

What are the main differences between the evaluation and funding of the R&D units in 2007 and in 2013?
2007
2013
Funding Pluriannual funding allocated according to the number of FTEs of the R&D unit, replaced by funding of a strategic project in 2011.

Programmatic funding allocated to all units with the status of Associate Laboratory, replaced by funding of a strategic project in 2011.
Core funding* indexed to the dimension of the unit, to an adjustment factor corresponding to its laboratory intensity and grade awarded by evaluation panels

Strategic funding* to be allocated to all units rated as “Very Good” or higher.
Evaluation One phase with site visits to R&D units. Two phases, with site visits/interviews with the Unit directors.

RebuttalRebuttal: R&D units selected to 2nd stage of the evaluation are allowed to submit comments which will be taken into account by the evaluation panel of the 2nd stage.
Mid-term review Non-existent Three years after completion of the periodic evaluation process notwithstanding evaluations occurring in exceptional circumstances.
Rating 5 rating levels from Poor to Excellent 6 rating levels from Poor to Exceptional

* subject to FCT budget availability