New program for hiring PhDs with 1400 vacancies in three competitions

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The Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education said that 1400 vacancies are planned in three competitions under the new program for hiring PhD holders for permanent positions.

The details of the FCT-Tenure program are not yet closed, but Elvira Fortunato confirmed that about 1400 vacancies are foreseen and that for the first of three competitions, which should open later this year, 800 places will be available.

The goal is to promote the hiring of PhD holders with a view to their integration in the teaching or scientific research career and the minister underlined that, “for each contract”, “one researcher will be removed from precariousness”.

The contracts, co-financed by the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) and the institutions, will last for three years. “By going from six to three-year contracts, we can double the number of researchers that can join the system,” said the governor.

Without giving the amounts of funding, Elvira Fortunato said that there is a commitment between the Government and the higher education institutions, stressing that this model is only sustainable with joint work.

Under the program, and in order to ensure the autonomy of the institutions, the universities themselves will decide whether they want to hire with a view to integration into the teaching career or the scientific research career.

The responsible also considered that, from the point of view of higher education institutions, the current context is favorable, since the retirement of about two thousand professors is anticipated until 2026.

“Higher education institutions are going to have a lot of faculty and researchers retire and they are going to be left with some financial shape,” the minister said, adding that the new program represents an added support “to absorb part of these excellent researchers who will be able to opt for a teaching career.”

On the part of the universities, however, the President of the Council of Rectors has recently asked for a financial reinforcement that will allow the universities and research units to hire indefinitely 1200 researchers whose contracts will end soon.

António Sousa Pereira explained that the amount necessary to pay these salaries is around 50 million Euros per year, according to calculations made by the rectors, who claim only part of this amount, recognizing the importance of FCT in this area.

The Council of Rectors of the Portuguese Universities proposes that part of the funding that currently supports the activities of researchers supported by the FCT be transferred regularly to the university budget.

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