In light of recent news stories, public statements and further comments received at head office, FCT hereby again highlights several issues relating to this review process:
– FCT has full confidence in the robustness of the on-going review exercise. The evaluation of R&D units being carried out by FCT in collaboration with the European Science Foundation (ESF) is a regular statutory 5-yearly evaluation, that is proceeding as planned and was widely announced, both in terms of procedures and the proposed schedule;
ESF reinforces integrity and high international standards of this evaluation.
– The review is being carried out with total transparency, rigour, independence and in line with the highest international standards advocated by FCT and described and applied by ESF in their extensive experience of international peer-review;
– The regulations of this evaluation were open to a public consultation and widely discussed, to incorporate proposals from both organisations and individual scientists. The application and evaluation guides have been publicly available from the launch of the review and describe, in great detail, the evaluation criteria. These were meticulously followed;
– FCT strongly rejects any suggestion of direct or indirect interference in the evaluation process, namely in the decisions reached by the review panels;
– The members of the evaluation panels were selected by ESF, according to the most stringent criteria of scientific merit and proven international experience in similar evaluation exercises;
– The appeals process is under way (Audiência Prévia), during which time the coordinators of the R&D units that did not go through to Phase 2 may dispute mistakes or misunderstandings in the review panels’ consensus reports;
– FCT is following the entire evaluation process very closely, and has, on several occasions, stressed its commitment to collaborate with the R&D units that did not go through to Phase 2, in an effort to identify the best solutions for future successful strategies.