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Knowledge Society Agency (UMIC)
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Call for Pre-Proposals for Setting Up and Operating R&D Consortia

 - 03/02/2009

Programme to Promote State Laboratories

The Science and Technology Foundation (FCT) and the Knowledge Society Agency (UMIC) have invited the National Scientific and Technological Community to submit proposals for the setting up of Research and Development Consortia (R&D), as envisaged in the Resolution of the Council of Ministers No. 124/2006 (in Portuguese), of 3 October, concerning reform of the State’s Laboratories.. The setting up of these R&D Consortia involves competitive support for the development of R&D centres and networks, their involvement in national and international partnerships and dynamising their R&D capacities.

The setting up of R&D consortia has the aim of modernising the scientific and technological system, contributing to the reform of the State’s Laboratories, reinforcing their cooperation with Associated Laboratories, and other R&D units, which have received approval ratings in international evaluations promoted by FCT, Institutions of Higher Education, companies and other public and private, national and international, bodies.

These consortia should enable the formation of efficient critical masses, operating within conditions of flexibility and any necessary adaptability, to make full use of synergies of human and material resources and various subject areas for Programmemed objectives of public interest.

The aforementioned Resolution of the Council of Ministers envisages, without prejudice to the consideration of other areas, the following Consortia:

  • Biosciences and biotechnology, with emphasis on applications for agriculture, forestry and fishing (BIOPOLIS);
  • Physics and advanced computing (PHYSICS-N);
  • Public risks (RISKS);
  • Oceanography and sea technologies and sciences (OCEANS);
  • Space sciences and technologies (SPACE);
  • Encouraging Portuguese participation in European R&D policy regarding safety (SAFETY).

Public incentives are necessary to set up these Consortia due to the start-up costs and to have them functioning as a network, without this substituting other public financing already made available to any of the participating institutions.

Benefitting Bodies

The following institutions may apply for the setting up of consortia:

  • State Laboratories;
  • Associated Laboratories, and other R&D units, which have received approval ratings in international evaluations promoted by FCT;
  • Institutions of Higher Education;
  • Private non-profit institutions whose main activities are related to Science and Technology;
  • Companies and other national and international bodies with relevant R&D activity.

The R&D consortia must be legally constituted as non-profit associations. A Consortium will have a life span of 10 years, subject to a mid-term evaluation and revision after 5 years. Each Consortium must include at least one State Laboratory.

Presentation of pre-candidatures and candidatures

The tender process is carried out in two stages, based on the following staging and scheduling:

  • Pre-candidatures, based on preliminary proposals: Tender open until 13 March 2009.
  • Communication of the results of the assessment of the pre-candidatures: By 17 April 2009.
  • Submission of candidatures, from the pre-candidatures selected, taking into account the recommendations of GIT and UMIC: By 29 May 2009.
  • Communication of the results of the assessment of the candidatures: By 26 June 2009.
  • Start of contracts: July 2009.

Pre-candidatures should be submitted in an electronic format in compliance with the instructions available from the Pre-Candidature Guide (in Portuguese). During the pre-candidature and candidature stages contacts will be possible with UMIC and the President of the International Work Group (GIT - Grupo Internacional de Trabalho) set up to support the reform of the State’s Laboratories so as to stimulate the submission of candidatures under the terms envisaged in the Regulations (in Portuguese).


The consortia are 100% financed by national funds through the Ministry for Science, Technology and Higher Education (MCTES).

Selection and Assessment Criteria

The assessment of the pre-candidatures and final candidatures will be carried out by GIT, with the support of other national and international specialists. The negotiation stages will be carried out by UMIC.

The following criteria, which are laid out in great detail in the Regulations, will be considered when assessing the merit of the pre-candidatures and candidatures:

  • Merit of the proposed activities;
  • Merit of the institutions involved;
  • Direct and indirect effect on the establishing of scientific employment;
  • Contribution towards national and community policies and their applications within the relevant sectors.

Supplementary Information and Dissemination

This news item, the Regulations (in Portuguese) concerning the Financing of R&D Consortia and other relevant items of information are available at the FCT website at (in Portuguese).

Requests for any clarification concerning the tender may be made by contacting

Information of an IT nature may be requested by contacting
Last updated ( 23/08/2011 )