The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 53: 1253 - 1259 (2009)

Vol 53, Issue 8-9-10

Special Issue: Developmental Biology in Hispania (Spain & Portugal)

A personal account of the development of modern biological research in Portugal

Essay | Published: 7 September 2009

Maria de Sousa*

Instituto de Biologia Molecular e Celular (IBMC), Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas Abel Salazar (ICBAS), Porto, Portugal


Portugal celebrated in 2006 its first 20 years of the formal introduction of the practice of external evaluation of research proposals in the national funding system. Accounts of changes in numbers of publications, citations, numbers of research projects funded and budget figures can be found in Government Reports ( An offshoot of the decisive and firm implementation of that practice in what was to become the Health Sciences was that the area became an attractor for young researchers in the basic biological sciences, namely, molecular, cellular and developmental biology. Reciprocally, the entry of basic biological scientists into medically oriented groups totally changed the landscape, the soil, the seeding, the cross-fertilization and the flowering of biomedical research in the country. This paper is a personal account of the experience of a scientist who was asked by the then President of the National Research Council, José Mariano Gago to co-ordinate the introduction of external evaluation of research projects and research institutes in the Health Sciences in Portugal between 1986 and 1997.


Portugal, evaluation, health sciences, CIÊNCIA Program, INSERM

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