Gulbenkian’s new Research Center

The signing of the concession contract between the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and the Administration of the Port of Lisbon took place today, with the presence of the Minister for Infrastructure and Housing.
José Castelo Branco (APL), Silveira Botelho, Leonor Beleza (Champalimaud), Ministro Pedro Nuno Santos, Isabel Mota, José Neves Adelino (FCG) and Ricardo Medeiros (APL) © DR

Gulbenkian is taking today an important step towards the creation of its Research Center on the effects of environmental changes on Human Health and Ecosystems. The new Ocean Campus, at Doca de Pedrouços, in Lisbon, will allow the Foundation, through the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência, to create a new scientific research center focused on how human beings are being affected by changes in the ever-changing environment.

“We want to have a research center in Portugal that will allow us to understand how our organism relates to the Environment and how environmental changes are conditioning and threatening the health of every human being. The new research center of Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência will be a unique project at the European level”, says Isabel Mota, President of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.

This hub will take an innovative approach, researching our interaction with the environment, in particular with microbes, in the context of the organism’s biology, ecology and evolution, using state-of-the-art technologies and quantitative, digital and theoretical approaches needed so the field can move forward. The vision of this center is of medical relevance, shifting the current focus on the human body as an isolated entity to an integrated perspective that simultaneously looks at our body and the environment in which we live as key elements for maintaining health. To accelerate our science and global impact, we will strengthen cooperation with strategic science networks, and with hospitals and industry, through co-creation and innovation mediated by the Gulbenkian International Collaborative Center. We want to leave an innovative footprint in the future and, together with the other institutions that exist on the same campus, we can serve as a focus to attract more critical mass and international organizations and companies as well as international campuses, such as in Boston, San Francisco, Cambridge” states Mónica Bettencourt-Dias , director of the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência.

The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation thus intends to install, at this IGC hub, a new scientific project centered on the organism and its relationship with the environment. The project will focus, for example, on the factors that control our relationship with microbes over time – be it good bacteria that live inside us or infectious organisms such as viruses – using advanced experimental technologies in addition to quantitative approaches, digital and innovative theories.


© Porto Lisboa
© Porto Lisboa
© Porto Lisboa
© Porto Lisboa

The more than 10,000 square meters of the new IGC center (area to be built) will house international research groups linked to biological and biomedical sciences with interdisciplinary training.

In addition to scientific research activities, and continuing the concern to place science at the center of society, the new IGC space will also house a new International Gulbenkian Collaborative Center. In this center and in addition to activities that will continue in the old IGC building, scientists will interact directly with entrepreneurs, medical doctors and teachers, to value science and promote a critical spirit.

The new campus aim is to bring together several actors and promote and make it possible to take advantage of synergies and deepen new opportunities for collaboration with neighbouring research institutions. The importance of studying the organism and its relationship with microbes brings immediate synergies with the Champalimaud Foundation’s cancer and neuroscience programs and with the study of maritime organisms and their food safety by the Portuguese Institute of the Sea and Atmosphere, two institutions that will also occupy the same campus. The Ocean Campus – the name of the complex that will house these institutions – intends to be a hub of excellence with regard to Maritime and Marine Sciences and the Blue Economy, investing in a development cluster associated with the sea, through a network of research units, teaching and technological development, whose main goal will be to generate innovation and qualified research.

The concession contract was signed today at the Gare Marítima de Alcântara, in Lisbon, and was attended by the Minister of Infrastructures, Pedro Nuno Santos, and the President of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Isabel Mota.


Updated on 17 december 2021