14 January 2014: The day that the Scientific Research in Portugal went back 20 years!

It’s a sad time for young scientists and Science in Portugal!

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The results for the Individual PhD Grants and Post-Doc from FCT (Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia) and the result is a cut of around 50% of the total number of grants, as you can see in the graphs below that show the number of grants given and the amount of applicants through the years (1st – PhD; 2nd – Post-Doc).

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We didn’t have numbers so low for more than 2 decades! The President of FCT, Dr. Miguel Seabra, said that the it isn’t true that Portugal is investing less in Science, in fact, the amount of money invested this past year was larger than the previous years. He explains that we can’t look at this numbers and make this kind of statement, because FCT has been channeling the money a different way now: they are investing in the research centers, so that the centers themselves can hire PhD candidates and Doctors.

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The problem is the Research Centers are saying that this is not true! Some are saying that the money they are granted is basically the same, the only difference is that they have to incorporate the budget for the researchers inside the money they get, which means: or you have the money but don’t have the people, or you have the people but don’t have the money! And you can’t do science without either!

We all expected cuts, it was obvious and expected, just like last year. But the numbers are overwhelming! To give an example, my area, which is Anthropology, had 99 candidates with only 6 of them receiving a grant. In total, 9 to 10% of all candidates received a PhD or postDoc grant… that’s way too low! In the same scientific field, in 2010, 19 grants were given between 47 candidates, and in 2011 (the year I got my grant) 17 in 44 were given… and back then, Anthropology stood alone, now it’s combined with 2 more fields…

It’s just so sad! You can read more about this: PúblicoSOLRTPJornal ICanal SuperiorNoticias ao Minuto.

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