The National Federation of Education (FNE) defended this Wednesday a quota regime for the integration of researchers in the scientific or teaching career of higher education within the framework of a new initiative of the Government in negotiation with the unions.
José Luís Abrantes, director of the higher education area of the FNE, told Lusa that the proposal was presented to the guardianship and its objective is to stop the “total migration” of researchers to the teaching career, given the preference of universities to hire teachers, since “they have scarcity of resources”.
In April, in statements to Lusa after a session in parliament, the Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education, Elvira Fortunato, said that the call for the opening of a contest by the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) It would be launched in July for the integration into the scientific or teaching career in higher education of researchers whose employment contract has ended or is about to end.
Subsequently, in May, the minister stated that the initiative, provided for in the General State Budget for 2023 (OE2023), will be co-financed with European funds and could cover 1,000 doctorates, being the responsibility of universities and polytechnic institutes, within the framework of their autonomy. and with which FCT will sign a contract-program, “define how many researchers and professors want a career”.
The FNE, which received the “terms of reference” of the Government’s proposal at a meeting with the guardianship in May, considers that minimum and maximum quotas will have to be set for access to scientific and teaching careers “so that there is not a complete migration” of researchers to teaching in the face of resistancerevealed over the years, of higher education institutions in hiring for a scientific career.
On the relationship of quotas, the director of the FNE, José Luís Abrantes, leaves his definition at the negotiation table with the Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education. “We are available to negotiate,” he stressed.
The FNE also advocates for the pedagogical training, by universities and polytechnics, of researchers entering the teaching career, as well as an evaluation program for those entering both careers.
The entrance to a scientific career, in a more consistent way, has been claimed by researchers for several years. Scientific work in Portugal is carried out, above all, by researchers with grants and fixed-term contracts.
The scientific employment stimulus law of 2017 establishes that employment contracts have a maximum duration of six years, at the end of which researchers, with a complete doctorate, have the possibility of joining a scientific or teaching career. In April, the Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education, Elvira Fortunato, told Lusa that the new FCT contest, whose periodicity and financing are unknown, aims to guarantee “flexibility between teaching and scientific careers”, also allowing to replace the retirements of university professors.
Depending on the Government, the FCT is the main entity that subsidizes scientific research in Portugal, specifically through scholarships, work contracts and support for projects or institutions.
The OE2023 provides for “an economic support mechanism” for the opening of tenders for “the category of scientific research career or higher education teaching career to which public institutions are obliged at the end of the six years of fixed-term contracts ”.