Medical research in Portugal: the geniuses and the structures, the myths and common sense.

H G Ferreira

Abstract


There was recently a growth in the funds allocated directly to scientific programs and projects and in particular to infrastructures (buildings and large pieces of equipment). It is very likely that this investment will continue to grow as a result of the development policies of the EEC applied to its less developed members. The recent experience with the Science Program, the main factor in this evolution, has demonstrated that the bottleneck in our scientific development is at the level of the allocation of funds (management). Hence, the nonrealistic Regulations of the Program, the allocation of funds to ghost institutions and the inability to distribute the funds allocated to the Program. The Program was conceived based on problem oriented and not on research oriented strategies. In the case of medical research this choice is not supported by the recent history of research in this area or by the experience of countries such as the UK or the USA. Funding of medical research in this country should be based on the identification of a talented scientist with a good research program and on an inventory of the productivity, potentialities and needs of existing institutions. We should seek the support of foreign scientists and of Portuguese scientists living abroad for the technical evaluation of projects but they should not be asked to provide global strategies of investment in Portuguese science.

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