ANICT

Towards a sustainable research career with progression based on merit

Meeting with FCT

On the 6th of July 2010, ANICT had a second meeting with FCT. The following topics were addressed:

  • ANICT informed FCT about that the discussion of researcher evaluation had been launched. Our plan is to stimulate an internal debate regarding this issue, followed by the preparation of a more detailed report that includes external input. This report would then be publicly presented at a national meeting. We invited FCT to be present at this meeting. Prof. João Sentieiro expressed his reservations about a merely metric evaluation that relies only on a bureaucratic process. He believes that the evaluation should be strongly based on a peer-review concept, by international panels. We explained that ANICT strongly defends transparent and fair evaluation procedures, and that we should aim to promote excellence and quality, not merely quantity of output. We defended that a fair and transparent evaluation should necessarily play a part in contract renewals and career progression, in order to promote excellence in research.
  • We informed FCT that the new PhD fellowship application rules regarding foreign applicants would have a negative impact on some fields of Science, where it is currently difficult to recruit Portuguese PhD students. We suggested a possible way to minimize this problem, by allowing researchers already involved in FCT research projects to apply for FCT individual grants. FCT explained the reasons for the new rules, and was open to including ANICT’s suggestion.
  • We remarked on several obstacles that are hindering a truly fair and transparent evaluation of FCT individual grant applications: i) the insufficient renewal of the evaluation panels, and the lack of clarity regarding the choice of panel members; ii) the fact that some panels were not abiding by the rules set in the Guide for Evaluators. We offered some suggestions to improve the process, and were then asked by FCT to send those proposals in a detailed written document.
  • We raised several concerns regarding the FCT rules for payment of tuition fees and bench fees for mixed PhD grants. Prof. João Sentieiro was sensitive to this issue, and suggested that we present our suggestions in written format for the consideration of FCT.
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