News Report / Profile
Association for Research and Development of the Faculty of Medicine | 20º Anniversary
The Association for Research and Development of the Faculty of Medicine (AIDFM) was established by notarial deed in February 1993, revised in 1996 and in 2003 with the initial aim of supporting the development and renewal (structural and pedagogical-scientific) stage initiated by the Faculty of Medicine of Lisbon (FMUL).
By resolution of the Board of FMUL, the institution promoting the initiative, the creation of a Committee to set up the AIDFM was approved on 5 December 1994. It was composed by Professors António Bugalho de Almeida (who coordinated it), J. F. Freitas Velosa and J. L. Ducla Soares. The latter was given the task of organizing the election of the governing bodies.
Several constraints determined that the activity of AIDFM only started at the end of 1994. Its first Board was elected in January 1995, and its priority task was a set of actions that enabled an effective organization and operation of the AIDFM. Later, the statutes had to be tailored to the specific requirements of the intended purpose. The new wording required a new notarial deed, which was carried out at the end of June 1996. A second statutory review was done in 2003, essentially aimed at improving the relationship with FMUL.
The AIDFM became a public interest legal entity pursuant to Decree-Law no. 460/77 of 7 November, by decision of His Excellency, the Prime Minister António Guterres, and the corresponding dispatch was published in the Government’s Official Gazette, 2nd Series, no. 64 of 16 March 2000.
The AIDFM was also granted Scientific Patronage status by decision of the Minister of Science and the Secretary of State for Tax Affairs, through Dispatch no. 10849/2009 published in the Government’s Official Gazette, 2nd Series, no. 82 of 28 April 2009.
The AIDFM is a non-profit scientific and technological association that aims to foster initiatives to support the link between the activities of FMUL and the community and the development of a few of FMUL’s objectives, such as education, training and research in the fields of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
Accordingly, the main objectives of the AIDFM include:
• Organize and support training and the technical dissemination of courses as part of FMUL’s activities.
• Organize and foster research activities.
• Disseminate research findings and ensure companies implement them.
• Award scholarships and grants to support initiatives related to teaching and research.
• Register patents and explore them.
• Participate in national and international competitions as part of its core mission.
• Support the setting up of laboratories.
Past and future challenges facing the AIDFM
In the late eighties, a few years after Portugal joined the EEC, initiatives at national level aiming at more flexible procedures and better use of resources for educational, scientific, technological, and cultural purposes were still extremely rare. The connection between universities and enterprises was just words on paper, and role models were few and far between.
With regard to universities, particularly medical schools, functional flexibility must be attained to enable the flow of knowledge, the creation of science and ensure that the provision of services to the community is achieved effectively and rapidly.
For over twenty years, the AIDFM has acquired and strengthened its range of skills and demonstrated the management ability that dignifies it as an experienced institution of excellence.
To this effect, its activity has been anchored on high quality and efficiency standards, showing, whenever appropriate, dedication and commitment to pursuing the goals assigned to it, and making every effort to ensure reliable and faultless services.
Thus trust fund gained over the years is of inestimable value, and it will bear fruit in the context of the current integration of national scientific research. In this permanently evolving and technically very demanding environment, the AIDFM has been establishing the required links with key partners and positioning itself strategically to ensure its institutional position as a pro-active organization that is prepared to face the challenges posed by the new technologies.
The only level that the AIDFM wishes to attain is excellence, with a view to fulfilling the ideals of providing a service to the community that medicine embraces, which only innovation in the field of medical sciences can enable in a consistent way.
The AIDFM offers a broad portfolio of high quality services at a reduced cost. It has gained recognition from peers for complying with the required regulations and for providing precise information and reports that are paramount to the transparency and operational excellence of the research activity.
The challenges that the future poses are addressed today and the AIDFM is solid, has a skilled team, and a dynamic, flexible and robust structure that ensures its success in its activity, in a path of growth and development of new skills that meet the growing requirements of projects, associates and funding entities. Responsibilities of the AIDFM
The AIDFM is an important unit that promotes research in the field of health. It has projects on several topics and is active in a wide range of national, international and EU activities. It has played a major role in operationalizing and encouraging scientific research.
The following advantages in the operation and management of projects at the AIDFM can be highlighted:
Straightforwardness in the Management of Projects
• Fast payment to employees and suppliers
• Experience accrued over 20 years
• Credibility recognized by funders and partners
• Total availability to respond to requests from researchers
• Quality of service associated with the wide range of provided services
• Functionality of the facilities, adapted to the efficient management of projects and other activities
• Recognized Public Utility Institution, which attests the relevance of its actions
• Simple procedures, which reduces response time
• Flexibility in the distribution and allocation of expenses to costs centres
• Timely response, ensuring strict compliance with legal and regulatory deadlines
• Accuracy and rigour, externally recognised, which attests its high efficiency in the area
• Reduced administrative costs, lower than other institutions
Range of services provided:
• Organization of events (conferences, seminars, other events)
• Administrative management, human resource management, financial management, etc.
• Management and cost minimization
• Publication of books and similar
• Negotiation and acquisition of services (eg: travel, hotels, tour operators)
• Sending of summary reports of project status
• Support research
• Provision of management technical assistance
Reasons to choose the AIDFM to manage research:
• Recognition by donors (Foundation for Science and Technology, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, the European Community)
• Experience in the management of national and international projects– over 200 projects managed annually
• Experience in project management in partnership – over 30 projects managed annually
• Strict compliance with required regulations
• Accuracy of the information made available officially and to investors
• Cumulative average rate of execution of FCT projects
The specialization of services, clearly predominant in today’s society, has many advantages, namely the rationalization and optimization of resources, ensuring economies of scale, which one cannot fail to point out. AIDFM – Activity
Throughout its existence the AIDFM has sought to meet the needs of research and researchers, embarking on the total management of events’ organization, namely conferences, symposia, colloquia and seminars, as the privileged means of establishing the bridge between research and researchers with their partners and society in general. In the last five years it has organized 13 scientific events.
Another area of AIDFM ‘s intervention is the dissemination of scientific results through publications. It has published 11 books between 2008 and 2013. AIDFM researchers have submitted 813 publications in the last five years in the form of scientific articles published in national and international journals and books.
On the other hand, the unit provides support in negotiating and in the acquisition of services related to research and other activities arising from it. This stems from the need to optimize the negotiation process and obtain significant results and cost savings in the procurement of services, including the purchase of travel services, protocols with specialized accounting services, hotels, special agreements with banks, catering companies, audio-visual services providers, etc.
The AIDFM is the entity in the Lisbon region that manages the largest number of research and development units in the field of health sciences.
Thus, of the 38 research centres recognized by the FCT, the AIDFM manages 23% of the centres located in the Lisbon region, bringing together FCT research units with recognized quality assessment, namely the Cardiology Centre, Metabolism and Endocrinology Centre and the Institute of Preventive Medicine.
Summary of recent activity
Over 330 projects, of which 15 funded by the FCT, 15 by the FCG, and by several official national and EU institutions.
Our involvement in cooperation projects, either as the proposing entity or as a participant must also be stressed.
AIDFM research projects are funded by various programmes:
Foundation for Science and Technology
Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation
High Commissioner for Health
Metabolism and Endocrinology Centre
Institute of Preventive Medicine
Progress – Since 2000
Start of New Projects - 226
Projects in Progress (in 2013) - 218
FCT Projects - 15
13 as Proposing Institution
2 as Participating Institution
FCG Projects - 15
European Commission -3
High Commissioner for Health - 4