Minister of Science at CES

11 April, 2017

The Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education, Manuel Heitor, visited the Centre for Social Studies (CES) of the University of Coimbra (UC) on Tuesday, April 11, to better understand its reality and dynamics.

The session began at CES Sofia's premises, located at Colégio da Graça, at 3:00 p.m., and Manuel Heitor had the opportunity to see the latest facilities of this research centre. During a visit led by the Vice-Rector of the University of Coimbra on site, Vítor Murtinho, and accompanied by the Director of the CES, Boaventura de Sousa Santos, the minister met the research spaces of the refurbished college of the sixteenth century allocated to the teams from the recent CES European projects. It was also possible to visit the surrounding buildings, which remain abandoned despite their potential for rehabilitation.

The visit continued over to the 25th April Centre of Documentation (CD25A), one of the Units of Cultural Outreach and Support for Scientific and Pedagogical Training at the University of Coimbra, also seated at Colégio da Graça.. In this sense, in conversation with the Deputy Director, Natércia Coimbra, the Minister of Science had the opportunity to find out how the structure recovers, organises and makes available to research and the general public the documentary archive it possesses, about the Portuguese democratic transition and the entire second half of the twentieth Portuguese century.

Later, the visit continued in the premises of the CES Alta (Colégio de S. Jerónimo/UC), where he got acquainted with the Centre’s accommodations and its main research and teaching activities. There was also an extensive meeting with Researchers, representatives of Post-Doctoral Researchers, Junior Researchers and Staff.

After a brief introduction by the Director of CES, Boaventura de Sousa Santos, about the institution, a presentation of the Activity Report for 2016 was made by CES Executive Director João Paulo Dias, registering CES’ growing dynamics, which puts it at the top level of research in Portugal. Presently, with a portfolio of nationally and internationally funded projects worth around 13 million euros, CES demonstrates a vitality in research, publications, advanced training and outreach activities in and with society that is unparalleled on the national scene, positioning itself at the best level of what is achieved internationally.

During the second part of the meeting, Manuel Heitor made an intervention on the main challenges of scientific policy in Portugal, embodied in three axes: positioning Portugal in the world (namely in the Atlantic space); Portugal in Europe (valuing the country’s contacts in North/South relations); and Science in Portugal (financing, actors and institutional development of structures).
In the following Q&A session, which began with a speech by the Vice-Rector of the University of Coimbra for research, innovation and structural funds, Amílcar Falcão, focused on the evaluation of research centres, Collaborative Laboratories and the importance of interdisciplinarity, a pressing dimension in all research carried out by  CES.