Research units represent a fundamental pillar in the consolidation of a modern and competitive scientific system. They should assemble a critical mass commensurate with their mission and promote creative environments where new ideas can emerge and where researchers can find the right conditions for carrying out their scientific projects and to develop their careers. Where applicable, they should pool interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary resources to address complex problems and new societal challenges.
The research carried out in these institutions covers all fields of science, namely: life and health sciences, social sciences, arts and humanities, engineering and technology sciences, exact sciences and natural and environmental sciences.
The results of the 2017/2018 evaluation process determine the funding of the R&D Units with a rating equal to Good, Very Good and Excellent, for the period 2020-2023.
In 2021 was concluded the evaluation of the 1st call for the attribution or renewal of the status of Associate Laboratories, with complementary funding allocated for the period 2021-2025.
The "Science Law" – Decree-Law n.º 63/2019 – establishes the legal framework for institutions dedicated to research and development (R&D) and defines the general principles of their evaluation and funding.