These regulations set forth the eligibility requirements and conditions
under which multi-year funding for R&D units managed by the
Fundação para a
Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT) may be awarded.
- The following R&D units may be eligible for the Multi-Year
- Units integrated into or associated with institutions of higher
education, when these function as host institutions;
- Private not-for-profit institutions specially dedicated to
R&D activities, or which have units with these characteristics.
- The host institutions of these units must provide the units with the
facilities and infrastructures needed in order to pursue the unit’s
activities as well as further the involvement of researchers and
technicians employed by the host institution in these activities.
- The private not-for-profit institutions referred to in no. 1,
paragraph b), may have host institutions for the purposes of the previous
- Recipients of funding must show proof that they have no outstanding
tax debts to the State or contributions in arrears with the Social
Concept of Unit
- A unit is defined as a team whose members carry out their R&D
activities in a given scientific or technological field, or in
multidisciplinary fields of research activity involving one or more
- Each unit must possess the critical mass needed to achieve its
scientific objectives, which, in principle, requires that there be a
sufficient number of doctoral degree holders with scientific curricula of
recognised merit. One of these shall serve as scientific coordinator,
being responsible for managing the unit and ensuring quality scientific
- Although a unit may involve members from several host institutions,
for the purposes of funding and evaluation, each researcher is allowed to
be a member of only one unit.
- Each unit must organize its research into groups, lines of research,
laboratories or divisions containing the number of doctoral degree
holders needed in order to achieve its objectives, one of whom will be
named Principal Researcher. For the current evaluation, these will be
called Research Groups.
- The scientific coordinator of the unit is chosen according to the
procedures established by the unit’s internal norms or its statutes, of
which the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT) must be apprised.
- The FCT must also be informed in the event a new scientific
coordinator is named, and the funding award may be revised as a result of
The units must have an external standing scientific advisory committee
composed of individuals of recognised merit and which as a rule should
include foreign researchers.
Scientific advisory committee
- The units should form an external scientific advisory committee, made
up of individuals of recognized, which, by norm, should include foreign
- This committee is charged with analyzing the unit’s performance. For
this purpose, it will conduct annual visits to the unit and issue an
expert opinion regarding the unit’s plan, management report and budget,
which shall be submitted to the FCT.
- Evaluation of the units is done in two ways:
- Evaluation of applications for the multi-year program;
- Periodic evaluation of units funded through the program.
- In both cases, the FCT is in charge of the evaluation process, which
is carried out by evaluation panels made up of predominantly foreign
experts and which is based on the units’ applications or reports and
plans of activity, on their scientific and financial components, and on
evaluation visits to the unit or audiences with the scientific
coordinator and other members of the unit.
- In each scientific field, the following parameters are taken into
account when evaluating applications or reports:
- Recognised scientific production and the merit of the results of
the scientific activity, taking into account the relevance of the
research underway and being planned, as well as the level to which
the scientific activities are internationalized.
- Organization and work environment, with special attention being
given to the concentration of critical mass at the international
level and management of resources for the research activity, which
must include supervision of postgraduate students and involvement of
postdoctoral fellows in R&D activities, as well as the ability to
attract students of higher education to R&D activities.
- Dissemination of the results of the activity and actions designed
to promote scientific culture, which will naturally include
publications authored by the research team in renowned scientific
journals and participation in actions designed to promote the
public's understanding of science and technology.
- Activities involving transfer of knowledge and technology
whenever relevant. Registration and promotion of patents and
activities that involve marketing science and technology and the
development of prototypes will be of particular interest.
- The curricula of the researchers will impact only on evaluation of
the units of which they are formally a part.
Applications and reports
- Applications for multi-year funding from units must provide
sufficient information to allow for evaluation of the previous scientific
activity of the unit’s members and of the unit itself, should it exist,
including mention of the parameters set forth above.
- The units must submit annual management reports and financial reports
relative to the previous fiscal year to the FCT by 31 March.
Notification of decisions
- Notification of the proposed decisions regarding evaluations shall be
made within 50 working days after the evaluation process is completed.
- Units may submit their comments regarding the results up to 30
working days after the respective notifications.
- Units will be notified of the final decisions after the
aforementioned comments have been reviewed.
- Whenever deemed necessary, a new evaluation may be carried out,
namely if the FCT determines that their have been significant changes in
the conditions upon which the original evaluation was based.
- This funding program is designed to supplement that of other programs
and, due to its multi-year nature, allows for an articulated dual system
of funding, thereby allowing units to establish medium term objectives.
- Funding is awarded to units in the form of subsidies and it is
cumulative with funding from other measures or programs.
- The funding awarded is to be used for the unit’s operations in
accordance with the terms set forth in the respective acceptance
agreement and in the financial accounting standards currently in force
for the program, and taking the recommendations given in the evaluation
reports into account. Flexible management should be ensured.
- Funding consists of two parts:
- Basic funding, indexed to the number of doctoral level
researchers in the unit and to the evaluation of the scientific
activity carried out.
- Special funding, relative to some units, based on specific needs
detected by the evaluators and proposed to the FCT for analysis.
- The basic funding, which is revised annually based on the current
make-up of the research teams as of 31 December of the previous year and
as a function of the scientific evaluation of the unit, is divided into
- The first level, awarded to units classified as
Excellent, corresponds to the maximum funding established by
order of the Minister of Science and Technology;
- The second level, awarded to units classified as Very
Good, corresponds to 75% of the maximum amount;
- The third level, awarded to units classified as Good,
corresponds to 50% of the maximum amount.
- Units classified as Fair or Poor will not be
- The funding awarded must be deposited in a bank account set up by the
unit specifically for that purpose, and the funds will be made available
under the terms of the acceptance agreement referred to in the previous
- Regardless of the source of funding, units are advised to have their
accounts audited by a certified public accountant on a yearly basis,
particularly in the case of funding over the amount of €250,000.
- The first funding period usually lasts until the unit’s next
evaluation; adjustments may be made whenever the circumstances so
- Units shall be subject to periodic evaluations (every 3 to 5 years,
as determined by the FCT), without prejudice to scientific, technical or
financial audits, which may be instituted at any time and which shall be
the responsibility of the FCT.
- Based on the results of the periodic or other evaluations, the
multi-year funding may be subject to changes.
Suspension and discontinuation of funding
- Should the evaluation panel deem that the quality of the research
activities is insufficient, the funding will be discontinued.
- Funding shall be suspended or discontinued whenever simple
non-compliance or grievous non-compliance, respectively, with the
provisions set forth in these regulations or the terms of the acceptance
agreement has been confirmed.
- Funding may also be suspended if a unit’s failure to function or poor
level of functioning threatens to harm the interests of scientific
research. The suspension may be followed by discontinuation of the
funding if the unit fails to implement the management solutions proposed
by the FCT to help bring the unit’s level of functioning up to standards.
Repayment of funds
Improper use of funds awarded to the unit shall require repayment of the
Obligation to provide information
- Units are under obligation to submit to the FCT, whenever requested
to do so, a plan of activities that takes the recommendations of the
members of the evaluation panel into account, a budget showing how the
funds will be used and the respective phases, the members of the standing
scientific advisory committee, as well as the list of responsibilities,
quantified or quantifiable, assumed by the host institution.
- The FCT will not transfer any funds to the unit until the
aforementioned items have been submitted and deemed adequate.
- The units or the host institutions must maintain an up-to-date web
page on the Internet that includes detailed mention of their activities.
Any changes to items contained in the application file or in the periodic
evaluation must be reported to the FCT for that body’s approval.
Cases of doubts and omissions
Any cases of doubts or omissions shall be examined by the FCT, in
cooperation with the others involved in the process whenever possible.
Entry into force
These regulations enter into force immediately.