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9 de julho de 2014

Portuguese government shuts down...

Triste país o meu...

Transcreve-se um documento, preparado por um grupo de investigadores portugueses e que já circula entre a comunidade científica internacional:

Portuguese government shuts down half of the research units in the country
The governmental Portuguese funding agency for science (Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia – FCT) has announced last week (27/June/2014) that it intends to cease funding to nearly half of the research units in the country (154 units out of 322), which encompass about one third of the total number of researchers in Portugal (5187 out of 15444).

Of these soon to be extinct research units, 1904 researchers in 71 units will be simply left out of the funding system in the period 2015-2020. The remainder 3283 researchers in 83 research units will have access to an extremely limited amount of funding, ranging from 5000€/year (for units with less than 40 members and no laboratorial equipment) to 40000€ (for laboratorial units with more than 81 members), which in practice implies vegetative operation and short-term shutdown. Most of these units had competitive productivity scores at the international level, as shown in a study requested by FCT to Elsevier, and the results of the proposed evaluation are in stark contrast with it.
This decision resulted from a documental evaluation led by the European Science Foundation. This evaluation exercise represented itself a significant downgrade from previous evaluations led by FCT of the whole national research system. For example, in the 2007 evaluation 15 mathematicians, 6 physicists and 7 chemists were gathered in three independent panels to analyse the units of the corresponding disciplines. In 2014 a single exact-sciences panel for the three disciplines gathered only 11 members (1 engineer, 3 physicists, 4 chemists and 3 mathematicians). This panel, which decided to shut down most of the condensed matter physics units in the country, had a single specialist in condensed matter physics.

Links:
FCT webpage on the evaluation process (in English)
Presentation of Miguel Seabra, President of FCT, with an overview of the results (in Portuguese, the numbers mentioned in the text can be found in slide 11)
Blog “De Rerum Natura” in newspaper “Publico”, with many additional information (mostly in Portuguese)

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