The Faculty of Sciences is a school of many colours. Here at FCUL we offer several levels of education (BSc, MSc and PhD) in a wide variety of themes in the following scientific and technological domains: mathematics, physics, chemistry, computer engineering, energy, environment, life sciences, Earth sciences, and the history and philosophy of sciences and technology. Such variety, as well as the Faculty's large dimension (about 450 academic staff and researchers, and 5,500 students), provides a stimulating environment for all who work here and allows for people from different scientific domains to interact, opening up new paths and new visions.
Intense laboratory activity starts early on, at an undergraduate level, and is one of FCUL's main features. Albeit costly, this strategy has been key in offering so many of our former students high-quality studies. They now work in various companies and institutions, both public and private, both in Portugal and abroad.
Our postgraduate studies are mostly anchored on scientific and technological research activities. To research means not only to search for and find answers, but also formulating new questions. It is through this endless cycle of question-answer-question that we continually reconstruct our world and improve our quality of life and well-being. As Garcia de Orta said in 1563, what we don’t know today we will tomorrow.
Research that is instigated by curiosity is by no means incompatible with the kind of research that seeks answers to questions which arise from a concrete problem, as for instance the creation of a molecule that relieves pain, or the optimisation of an engine's energetic efficiency. Today, science and technology are inseparable, and history teaches us that they stimulate each other.
In addition to research and teaching, the third pillar of our activity is the transfer of the knowledge we have generated through scientific and technological research to society. Whether we like it or not, building bridges between academic research and the economic fabric is an indispensable activity of our Universities. In this regard, we must stimulate our students, researchers and academic staff not to neglect the possibility of considering the economic value of their work. This is why Tec Labs, our innovation centre, came into being. Its mission is to add economic value to scientific knowledge by setting up collaborative ties between the University and companies, focusing on research processes and innovative technologies, and kick-starting technologically-based businesses.
The Faculty of Sciences is one of the University of Lisbon's 18 schools. This opens up a lot of possibilities. The fact that we belong to the UL universe brings us enormous advantages - not only because it allows us to share resources, but also because it fosters the creation of multidisciplinary projects.
Most of our activities take place on our Campo Grande campus facilities (Cidade Universitária), next to the Estádio Universitário's excellent sports installations and several cultural and leisure areas. Three of our labs are located outside of the Faculty campus: the Astrophysics and Space Science Institute, which has a building in Tapada da Ajuda, where the Lisbon Observatory is also located; the Guia Marine Laboratory, which is in Cascais, by the sea; and the Herdade de Ribeira Abaixo field station, in Grândola.
There is a sea of reasons to study and work at FCUL. There are and always will be room for improvement because good ideas are born every day. Many of these arise out of our best assets - our undergraduate and postgraduate students. They renew this Faculty and shape our future, year in year out. We are responsible for offering them all the conditions they require to get a footing on their path to success.
José Artur Martinho Simões