The European Union defined a development strategy for the 2000-2010 period, which was referred to as the Lisbon Strategy. At the end of this period, the European Council adopted a new Strategy for the 2010-2020 period: Europe 2020.
While the strategy defined in the year 2000 was focused on constructing the information society (in which qualifications, science and technology, and innovation were key factors for progress), the Europe 2020 strategy defined in 2010 has three priorities which are mutually reinforcing:
- Smart growth: develop an economy based on growth and innovation;
- Sustainable growth: build a resource efficient, greener and more competitive economy; and
- Inclusive growth: encourage a high-employment economy delivering social and territorial cohesion.
In response to the priorities of this Strategy, Portugal is encouraging investment in research and innovation to promote growth and employment.
Since its creation, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation has worked extensively in Portugal through direct actions, subsidies and grants. In particular: it promotes international conferences, seminars and courses; it awards study grants for specialisations and doctorates; it supports scientific and educational programmes and projects; and it publishes extensively, particularly through its publishing plan for university manuals.
In this respect, it has set up the Programme to Reinforce Scientific Capacity (Mid-Career Fellowships), which, due to its impact on education and science, is regarded as cross-cutting.
This Programme has two components: the first is designed to promote collaboration between Portuguese university departments, allowing internationally competitive doctorate courses to be organised; while the second is designed to attract talent and experience to Portuguese universities.
The deGRAU Científico programme aims to increase interaction between the supply of and demand for scientific jobs by helping to improve research and development capacity and increase competitiveness in the Portuguese business fabric.
This tool aims to meet the recruitment needs of business for highly skilled human resources in order to carry out work as diverse as research and development, industrial property, studies, processes, manufacture, testing and control, technical support, etc., with the aim of promoting innovation and increasing the competitiveness of businesses.
Research and development, which is the responsibility of both private companies and also public institutions, such as universities and associated laboratories, is increasing in importance and, as a result, various support programmes are being developed.
The Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) promotes scientific and technological knowledge and encourages its dissemination and contribution to the improvement of education, health, the environment, quality of life and well-being.
The Innovation Agency (AdI) promotes innovation and technological development and has introduced measures aimed at strengthening the relationship between R&D institutions and Portuguese businesses.
Alongside R&D, innovation is essential for businesses to develop and stay competitive.
Intellectual property must be protected to encourage research.
The Business Gateway provides information on R&D with links to various existing programmes, which range from tax benefits to academic projects.
The Programme of Incentives for Modernising the Economy (PRIME), which granted tax incentives to businesses promoting R&D, was replaced by the Business Investment Incentive Scheme within the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF).
The operational structure of the NSRF is based on the development of Thematic Operational Programmes and Regional Operational Programmes for the mainland regions and for the two Autonomous Regions. NSRF Technical Assistance Operational Programmes have also been set up.
The strategic goal of the NSRF is qualification, by enhancing the value of knowledge, science, technology and innovation. The NSRF includes an incentive scheme for research and technological development in business. The main aim is to strengthen the capacity for R&D.
Research also benefits from tax incentives through the Programme of Tax Incentives for Research and Business Development (SIFIDE), managed by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education.
The Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) supervises the programme of grants to finance research projects, which until very recently mainly came from academic institutions. Businesses currently use a substantial part of their budgets for related financing measures. The notices inviting applications are available on the Foundation’s website.