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R&D unit funding picture takes shape: 77 million Euros annually for 257 units


Having concluded both phases of the Assessment and Financing of R&D Units exercise, the financing of R&D Units for the 2015-2020 period foresees the availability of 77 million euros of public funds to 257 Units, with final classifications of Exceptional (11 Units), Excellent (60), Very good (97) and Good (89). results have revealed that 80% of the Units and almost 90% of the total number of doctorate holders (13,805) will be financed in the next six years. 

This was the first evaluation in which all research centers were evaluated competitively, under the same conditions with equal criteria and funding opportunities, regardless of their size or legal status.

A brief history of the evaluation exercise

This evaluation exercise involved more than 600 international experts and seven evaluation panels and was carried out in two stages, as foreseen in the regulation of Call. At the end of the first phase (based on a desk evaluation of the submitted application), only units with a rating above Good were admitted to the second phase and entitled to strategic funding. The second phase (involving visits to the units) resulted in the attribution of classifications of Exceptional, Excellent, Very Good, Good and Reasonable, and respective funding.

At result of the first phase assessment168 units were recommended for the second stage. After the prior hearing periodAccording to the regulation, 21 units (of the 131 that submitted prior hearing comments) had their ratings revised; of these, 10 units (8%) obtained a rating to move on to the second phase.

After visits to the units and respective meetings of the evaluation panels, the 178 units evaluated in the second phase were second phase were classified as follows: 11 Exceptional; 52 Excellent; 104 Very Good; 9 Good; 2 Fair. After a new prior hearing period (of administrative and scientific nature), of the 123 comments received, 15 units (13%) had their funding revised, including 9 units (7%) that besides the change in funding, also saw their ratings revised. 

Units that do not accept the decision communicated after previous hearings may file a complaint to the FCT Board of Directors. The administrative requests of the second phase have already been analyzed by FCT; 2 of the 7 units in question had their funding changed.

The complaints will be analyzed by a panel specifically formed for this purpose. At this moment 53 claims are considered for analysis (presented by Units that were not admitted to the second phase of the evaluation).