OECD Review of Higher Education, Research and Innovation: Portugal

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Portugal aims to develop a more innovative, inclusive and productive economy, and to ensure that the ensuing benefits are widely distributed, regionally and socially. This report assesses the extent to which Portugal’s higher education, research and innovation system is well configured to help Portugal achieve its vision of inclusive innovation, and identify which policy options might help it achieve its goals.

The assessment and the related recommendations focus on: 1) governance, strategy and funding in higher education, research and innovation; 2) the missions, profiles and use of resources of higher education institutions; 3) undergraduate and master’s level education activities; 4) doctoral training activities; 5) academic careers; 6) high-skill employment and business innovation.


Missions, profiles and resource use in HEIs

Portugal has a diverse system of higher education with a mix of public and private institutions, and university and polytechnic institutions. The legal framework of higher education has been re-oriented with the aim of providing wider scope for institutional autonomy and innovation, while reserving a steering role for the government. In practice, however, the nation’s public higher education institutions have overlapping and weakly differentiated missions that are insufficiently aligned to national and regional needs. Institutional autonomy and responsibility have expanded, but legal provisions governing public sector employment, public procurement and financial management limit the ability of institutions to plan and manage their operations efficiently and effectively. Key instruments of government steering most especially institutional funding do not encourage higher education institutions to identify and pursue their distinctive strengths, leading to duplication of effort and missed opportunities for collaboration. This chapter examines these challenges, and presents policy options to address them.


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