Marine Biotechnology in Portugal

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Overarching science strategies, plans and policies

Portugal does not have a specific Marine Biotechnology research policy or strategy. There is a national strategy for the Sea and for food, but there is no specific strategy on biotechnology.

  • National Strategy for the Sea[1]

Research funding schemes and programmes

The funding of the Portuguese research system is mainly conducted under the authority of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education [2], namely through its Foundation for Science and Technology or Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT).

  • FCT is funding research via a non-thematic research programme which funds all research areas through competitive calls for proposals. The total funding budget for FCT is about €472 per year, with about €0,5-1 M being spent on marine biotechnology. FCT has signed with ANR (France) a collaboration protocol, with emphasis on Oceanology cooperation. However, this protocol has not been implemented yet.[3]

Other Research Funding Programmes which have a significant Marine Research element include:

  • Azores Marine Research Specific Programme managed by Direcção Regional da Ciência, Tecnologia e Comunicações [4]
  • ON2 - North Portugal Regional Operational Programme 2007/2013 with two strategic priorities with special relevance to S&T: “Competitiveness, Innovation and Knowledge” and “Economic Valorisation of Specific Resources” with a specific objective related with Economic development of new uses for the sea and a significant investment in marine S&T infrastructures managed by a political management body [5]

Private funding mechanisms

  • Business forum of the economy of the sea [6] developed a document called ‘Hypercluster of the Economy of the Sea’[7]

Research priorities for marine biotechnology research


Strategic documents

Infrastructures and coordination and support capacities / initiatives

  • In 2012, Portugal operates eight local/coastal vessels ranging from 11m to 31,40m (Águas Vivas, Arquipelago, Diplodus, NRP "Andromeda", NRP "Auriga", Puntazzo, Tellina and Ziphius); one regional vessels of 47,50m (Noruega); and two global vessels of 68,20m and 68,50m (NRP "Almirante Gago Coutinho" and NRP "D. Carlos I") registered in the European Research Vessels Infobase [8].
  • In 2012, Portugal maintains about 25 large marine research equipments registered in the European large Exchangeable instruments database [8].
  • Key aquaculture experimental and research facilities in Portugal include
  • Experimental Research Facilities CIIMAR Portugal Land based facilities
  • Specialised Laboratories IPIMAR Portugal
  • Marine aquaculture station of Ramalhete University of Algarve Portugal
  • Any other research facilities of relevance to Marine Biotech?
  • Algarve Centre of Marine Sciences, University of Algarve
  • Centre of IMAR at Department of Oceanography and Fisheries at the University of the Azores
  • The Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência (IGC) is an international centre for biomedical research and graduate education, located in Oeiras, Portugal, founded by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (FCG) in 1961. Its campus includes other research institutes in biology, biotechnology and chemistry, with complementary research interests and facilities: protein structure and design, synthesis and theory of chemicals with biological interest, molecular microbiology, plant biotechnology, biotechnology, downstream processing, etc. [9]

Major initiatives

  • FCT is partner in the following European initiatives

Major observations, trends and future prospects

There is an industry forum for marine biotechnology. However, there is no specific program for funding marine biotechnology, hence marine biotechnology is fragmented and needs national cooperation.



This draft country profile is based on available online information sources and contributions from various country experts and stakeholders. It does not aim nor claim to be complete or final, but should be considered as a dynamic and living information resource that will be elaborated, updated and improved as more information becomes available, including further inputs from experts and stakeholders.