Research problems in Portugal run deep (in Nature (2014) 507, 431)
March 26, 2014
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ANICT has recently assessed the transparency of the National PhD and post-doc fellowship competition and quantified the lack of transparency in the process.The full report (in Portuguese) can be downloaded here. An opinion article was submited to Nature and is available at http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v507/n7493/full/507431e.html
The text is as follows:
“As founders of the Portuguese National Association of Researchers in Science and Technology (ANICT), we believe that research problems in the country run deeper than just funding (see Nature 507, 306; 2014).Evaluation procedures for recruitment, career progression and funding allocation are in need of fundamental reform. They must become more transparent and be based solely on merit. Selection for nationally funded PhD and postdoc scholarships, for example, is beset by conflicting interests and insufficient transparency (see http://www.anict.pt). The recent cuts in scholarship numbers have exacerbated these factors. Currently, merit has little influence on career stability or advancement. Many researchers, even team leaders with students and ongoing grants, are being driven to leave the country because of their non-renewable, short-term contracts.Instead of bickering and passing the buck, Portugal’s politicians need to agree on long-term plans to foster and retain the country’s talented young researchers.
Nuno Cerca University of Minho, Braga, Portugal.
João Lopes University of Lisbon, Portugal.
Miguel Jorge University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK”