Research, Development and Innovation (R&D&I)
1. ICT Research & Development as a strategic asset for Portugal
Research & Development in ICT (ICT R&D) is one of the most valued
source and driver for innovation in our days, since Information and
Communication Technologies (ICT) are recognized as transversal and enabling
technologies with increasing influence in business competitiveness and in the
implementation of potential solutions to deal with exigencies and challenges
emerging from the contemporaneous economy and society.
European Commission assigns a central role to ICT R&D, counting on its
horizontal character and strategic potential to address societal challenges
and to back the ambition to make European Union the innovation global leader
(see the role reserved to ICT in Horizon 2020).
ICT contribute positively for the affirmation and expansion of the scientific
and technological base of the National Innovation System, powering the
Portuguese performance in the necessary response to economic opportunities
and to societal challenges.
ICT R&D: a key driver for innovation
ICT as scientific and technologic domain and as economic activity constitutes
a central reference in the mobilization of resources in the National R&D
and Innovation System (FCT, 2013):
- Around one third of the Portuguese R&D expenses (32%, in 2009) is
concentrated in two ICT areas (“Electrical engineering, Electronic
engineering, Information engineering”, “Computer and Information sciences”).
“Electrical engineering, Electronic engineering, Information engineering” is
the scientific area that mobilizes the biggest portion of R&D expenses in
Portugal, followed by “Computer and Information sciences” (22% and 10% in
- More than a half of the Portuguese R&D expenses (56% in 2009) aims
socioeconomic goals which are increasingly dependent of the integration and
use of ICT, as a cognitive, technological and productive resource
(“Industrial production and technology”, 24%, “Transportation,
Telecommunication and other Infrastructures”, 19% and “Health”, 13%);
- Enterprises are key-actors in the mobilization of resources to ICT
R&D. More than a half of R&D expenses by enterprises is in scientific
areas related to ICT. On the other hand, and in the funding perspective, ICT
enterprises cover about 1/3 of the total business R&D expenses.
ICT are among the areas that most contributes to the scientific and
technological production, in Portugal:
- “Instruments & Instrumentation” and “Telecommunications” are listed
among the scientific and technological domains with the biggest annual
average growth rate in what concerns number of publications, in the last 5
years (22% and 21%, respectively).
- “Electrical & Electronic Engineering” is the 4.th area
among “Engineering Sciences & Technologies” concerning the number of
publications recognized internationally between 2005 and 2010, appearing in
that period as the principal area in the scientific production of regions
(NUT 2) “Lisboa” and ”Centro”, the second major area in the the region
“Norte” and the third in “Madeira”.
- Despite the relative weak performance of Portugal in what respects patent
applications, “Information Technologies” is the area which presents the
higher intensity patents applications (European via) during the period
2000-2008, about the double of the second largest area.
ICT appears as a competitive advantage for the Portuguese Innovation System.
Portuguese R&D teams participating in ICT projects under the E.U.
7.th Framework Programme have an average of awarded funding that
exceeds or is the same as the European average on the following themes:
- Future Networks and Internet;
- Cognitive Systems and Robotics;
- Trustworthy ICT;
- ICT for Energy Efficiency;
- ICT for the Enterprise;
- Digital Libraries;
- ICT for Health;
- Embedded Systems;
- ICT for Transport;
- Software, Services and Internet connected objects.
Considering the rigorousness of the eligibility criteria in the European
Union Framework-Programmes, which value scientific quality (sanctioned by
“peer-to-peer” evaluation and by other relevant “stakeholders” evaluation, as
enterprises, for example), one can consider that having funding awarded
levels similar or above of E.U. average can be seen as a recognition from
European Commission (central actor in the decision process about the future
of R&D and Innovation in Europe) about the quality of projects and
Appropriate and competitive electronic infrastructures
Electronic infrastructures for Science and Technology are resources with
increasing influence and relevance in Portugal. They are drivers for the
National R&D and Innovation System transformation, because, recurring to
last-generation potent computational platforms, they facilitate collaboration
and the insertion of national teams in worldwide networks, and they allow
accessing, processing and treating of unprecedent amounts of information in
shorter periods of time. In this context, the following facts are to be
- Universalization of the coverage of the Portuguese National Research and
Education Network (called "Rede Ciência Tecnologia e Sociedade - RCTS) and
the strengthening of international connection of Portugal (available
bandwidth is 20G/s, since Portugal joined GÉANT Network, the pan-European
research and education network).
- The Portuguese National Grid Initiative (INGRID) – which coordinates and
maintains a infrastructure of distributed computation to scientific
applications, based on a computational resources network in “grid” – reached
levels of universal coverage e reinforced his international integration.
- There is a considerable increase of the availability and the use of open
access scientific publications, as well an increase of the number, the
coverage and the supply of institutional repositories of scientific
information (from the implementation of “b-on - Knowledge Library Online” and
of “RCAAP - Portuguese Scientific Open Access Repository”, respectively).
2. Challenges and the vision for the future
“Digital Agenda for Europe”, the political instrument which defines the role
of ICT in the vision expressed by “Europe 2020 Strategy”, advocates the
reinforcing of European ICT scientific and technological capacity as one of
the key-factors for the affirmation of Europe at a global level.
Agenda Portugal Digital (the Portuguese Digital Agenda) transposes the
European ambitions to the national context and synthetizes the principal
challenges to the future of ICT R&D and Innovation in Portugal, listing
specific measures to strengthening and developing:
- of ICT R&D and Innovation potential, with special emphasis on
integration between R&D centres and enterprises and to research and
innovation in emerging areas;
- the supply of advanced new generation services: applications with
contents and services that add economic value and use the potential that New
Generation Networks (NGN) offer; and online services in the non-higher
education – boosting the use and development of NGN;
- of e-Science: support to innovation and activities from the scientific
community; support to remote collaborative work, through supercomputing;
access to digital scientific libraries and to Open Access Repositories for
results of R&D projects, other academic and data publications and R&D
in the cloud computing;
- of Future Internet and the promotion of “Internet of Things (IoT)”:
R&D in “Internet of Things”; national industry of “Software, Services and
Internet connected objects”; public infrastructures of Internet connected
objects from several domains - “Smart Cities”; “Intelligent Transport
Systems”; “Smart Energy Networks”; “Intelligent Systems for health care”;
connection with national private business infrastructures, IoT interoperable
services market, at a European scale; and
- of ICT for maritime activities: sea and atmosphere observation; maritime
environment and atmosphere monitoring, at national and E.U. partners level.
ICT R&D and Innovation future will depend mainly on our capacity and
hability to power and to boost the potential already identified (installed
and/or emerging). Being so, the following issues cannot be avoided:
- Politic coordination (articulation and conciliation of politics and
instruments of support/incentive);
- Intensification of the relationship between scientific and technological
knowledge production centres and the enterprises;
- Affirmation and growth (in terms of dimension and at the market) of the
Portuguese enterprises born with global vision and vocation (with special
attention to Start-ups);
- Promotion of international leadership for Portuguese R&D teams in the
areas where their capacity and quality are recognized.
The success of our response implies a vision for the future where ICT are a
fundamental and unavoidable variable to the development of society and
economy and to the affirmation of Portuguese Language and of Portugal