Science between Portugal and the United Kingdom

Science between Portugal and the United Kingdom

On 12 December, the Knowledge Pavilion hosted a conference entitled “UK-Portugal Scientific Dialogue: Addressing Global Challenges through Collaboration”, a joint initiative between the British Embassy in Portugal, the Science and Technology Foundation and PARSUK (Association of Portuguese Scientists and Researchers). Students in the United Kingdom) and Ciência Viva.

At this event, we not only celebrated the strong scientific relationship between Portugal and the UK, but also looked at the data revealed in the report “PUMP 2023 – Mapping the scientific relationship between Portugal and the UK”, a collaboration between PARSUK, the British Embassy in Portugal and the Science and Technology Foundation . The bilateral cooperation between the two countries has been highlighted as truly remarkable, both in terms of quantity and quality. In the period between 2014-2020, there were approximately 1,500 international projects with the participation of institutions from both countries. Of the approximately 15,000 articles published, 80% were ranked in the top quartile of prestigious journals in their scientific fields. In addition, 40 patents resulting from this collaboration have been identified.

In addition to renewing existing partnerships, such as the agreement between FCT and PARSUK to strengthen science diplomacy between Portugal and the UK, new partnerships have been announced. Most notable is the collaboration between the British company Open Cosmos and the Portuguese startup Connected, with the aim of jointly developing space observation missions. The British Embassy in Portugal and the Portuguese Cancer League also announced a new research award With an amount of eight thousand euros, to finance an exploratory visit by a team of Portuguese cancer researchers to the United Kingdom next year.

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Continuing the year in which we celebrated the 650th anniversary of the “Old Alliance” between Portugal and England, this event provided a promising vision for the future of the scientific relationship between the two countries. The UK's recent agreement to reconnect itself with the European research programmes, Horizon Europe and Copernicus, in the wake of prolonged post-Brexit uncertainty, is excellent news. This agreement provides our scientists with the security and stability they need to resume their bilateral cooperation, jointly addressing the complex societal challenges we face, from climate change to aging, ocean and space exploration, and maximizing the opportunities that emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence and quantum, offer us.

The Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education, Professor Elvira Fortunato, who gave us the honor of closing the event, presented us with a major challenge: to explore ways to further strengthen bilateral cooperation, perhaps through the creation of financial mechanisms dedicated to this purpose. The future of science between Portugal and the UK promises to be as wonderful as the discoveries resulting from this collaboration.

* Chris Sainty, UK Ambassador to Portugal
*Diogo Martinez, President of PARSOC
* Madalena Alves, President of the Science and Technology Foundation

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About the Author: Camelia Kirk

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