Under the 2017 R&D Projects call, support for 1,618 applications is confirmed through the joint effort of FCT, COMPETE2020 and the Regional Operational Programs of Portugal2020, for a total amount of around 375 million euros for the next 3 years.
FCT acknowledges the slowness that has been associated with the communication of the results of the call for proposals over the last few months, but also recognizes the collective effort of the FCT services, COMPETE2020 and the Regional Operational Programs, which has facilitated the significant reinforcement of the initially planned budget allocation of only 110 million Euros (which would allow for funding of only 460 projects). This is effectively the largest amount of funding ever allocated to R&D project calls in Portugal.
The volume of funding now made available will enable a success rate of around 50% of the 3,300 applications deemed eligible and around 35% of the total number of applications submitted in 2017 (i.e., 4,593 applications).
FCT also notes that the process of deciding and communicating the results of the call has been particularly complex as it involves seven distinct institutions and interlocutors, implying their sequential intervention (see diagram). The phased communication of results is a consequence of this process, having begun last February 9 and should be completed during the month of April. As of today, the results of about half of the applications approved for funding have been communicated.
FCT also notes that the existence of several funding sources does not affect the final result of the call. Funding is awarded in order of merit ranking of the projects according to the seriation made in each of the 33 evaluation panels organized by FCT. The success rate of eligible applications is similar in all panels and for all areas of knowledge.
Communication of results
The researchers in charge of the applications must access the Balcão2020 as soon as they receive the communication of the decision proposal from the Management Authority (MA) of the Operational Programs. There they can find the decision of the MA and the technical opinion of FCT, which includes the justification for approval or rejection of the application for funding.
The period for the prior hearing begins immediately after the communication, through the Balcão2020, except for projects eligible for the call, but not eligible for Portugal2020 funding. The Principal Investigators of these projects must wait for the communication of the decision by FCT.