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The Rector's logic - feb 2023

A monthly commentary published in the newsletter Novas da NOVA

"To do science, and research, in Europe. This is the condition for any university, faculty, institute or research unit in Portugal. Our country does not have the dimension to have a vision or strategy different from this one. Science, any kind of science, from arts to technology, in Portugal is in Europe. The situation is, in fact, similar, with scale adaptations, to all the countries of the European Union (EU). Different situations, given the scales, are, for example, the USA and China. The New University of Lisbon (NOVA) is obviously no exception.

The Foundation for Science and Technology, although very worthy and absolutely necessary, is not at all sufficient to support our research. It would not even be reasonable to expect, or claim, that it would be. It must support and it does, it cannot support and it does not.

Of course, knowledge agendas are global, not regional, as are the most successful networks of groups of researchers. In health, technology, with pandemics, with renewable energies, examples abound.

But science funding, the culture underlying that funding - for example the sense of public service that goes with it - and the policy in which that culture is embodied is regional, not global. The EU and China, for example, do not have the same culture associated with the act of 'doing science'. Researching in Portugal, at NOVA, is in Europe. It is the European funding and the alliances in Europe that attest our merit and make a difference.

Therefore, all projects at NOVA that received or receive such funding - now from Horizon Europe - and that materialize those alliances, deserve special mention. As it is impossible to mention all of them, NOVA is proud of them and thanks each one of them. I mention two of the most recent ones: Teaming for Excellence, in Biomedicine, led by António Jacinto (of NOVA Medical School), 3rd place in Europe, 30 million euros (the other equivalent project in Portugal was in 12th place and had 2/3 of the funding), in a total of 42 competing projects and 12 approved projects; and the ERC Consolidator Grant, by Susana Viegas (NOVA FCSH), in the area of Philosophy and Cinema, unique in Portugal, 1.7 million euros. Congratulations! The greatest success for both of them and their projects. As we can see, "there is something for everyone", that is, all areas of knowledge.

To do science and research in Portugal, at NOVA, is in Europe