Research Center
for Natural Resources,
Envioronment and Society

Organisational Chart & Competencies

The CERNAS – Research Center for Natural Resources, Environment and Society presents a functional formally assumed organic, where the Scientific Coordinator, the Scientific Council and the Executive Committee are the central organs, determinants of the orientation of our activities. However, as we exist to support the skills of specialists who are part of our structure, we assume a horizontal management with distributed power, in practice, it does not exist a differentiation of powers between the strategic apex and the rest of the organization. We have a flexible structure, which allows a fast and efficient response to changing within interfaces and contexts that we monitor on an ongoing evolutionary perspective.


CERNAS is structured into three research groups that cooperate to excel in research and to promote development through knowledge dissemination. These are:

  • Agriculture Science Research Group, coordinated by Dr. Maria José Cunha
  • Environment and Society , coordinated by Dr. Carla Sofia Santos Ferreira
  • Food Science and Engineering , coordinated by Dr. Rui Manuel Machado da Costa

Forest, agriculture and livestock breeding productivity, have been assembled in the Agriculture Science Research Group. The questions related with the valuation of food products, the development of novel products and processes, by-product valorization and waste minimization and the studies of human nutrition will be addressed by the Food Science and Engineering Research Group. The questions of rural development, ecosystem conservation, environmental services, eco-efficiency tools and solutions and the judicious use of natural resources, including land use planning and the measurement of the societal response, will be addressed by the Environment and Society Research Group.


To focus the researchers belonging to the above mentioned research groups in topics that are relevant to the regional development three thematic strands were defined, allowing a more judicious use of resources and by promoting productivity and innovation based competitiveness. We aim to:

  • Product innovation and added value, coordinated by Dr. Luís Pedro Mota Pinto de Andrade;
  • Ecoefficiency and Competitiveness, coordinated by Dr. Antonio José Dinis Ferreira;
  • Knowledge Transfer and Governance, coordinated by Dr. Orlando Marcelino de Almeida Simões.
Bodies and Competencies of CERNAS – Research Center for Natural Resources, Environment and Society: Perspective 2015 -2020.

Scientific Coordinator

The activity of CERNAS is guided by a Scientific Coordinator, elected by secret scrutiny by the members of its Scientific Council for terms of three years. Current scientific coordinator is Dr. António Dinis Ferreira.


It is responsible for chairing the Scientific Council and Executive Committee, represent CERNAS at external relations and present to the Scientific Council the financial and activity reports, the activities plan and budget of the Centre and to follow up the decisions and guidelines defined by the Scientific Council

Scientific board

The scientific board consists of all integrated members. It has the responsibility of electing the Scientific Coordinator among its members, to established research and training policy of CERNAS, to approve cooperation agreements with other scientific research entities, as well as approving and overseeing the implementation of the sharing of existing resources and equipment in CERNAS.


It´s also responsible for the assessment of the strategic plan, the annual activity report and the unit’s budget, it also emits opinions and decisions on proposals of the Scientific Coordinator, such as, deciding on the admission of new members and to consider and decide on proposals for the creation, modification, division, agglutination or termination of research areas.

Executive Board

The Executive Board is composed of the responsible for the research areas, chosen among its members, through consensus or election, ratified by the Scientific Council. The Executive Board is responsible for preparing the draft of the scientific strategy of CERNAS, the reports of the respective research Unit and support the current management of the center.

Advisory Board

The Advisory board is an international instrument referral the development of the unit. The Advisory Council is a permanent external scientific advisory committee, made up of individuals of recognized merit, composed of national and international researchers. It has the responsibility of analyze the operation of the unit, and for this purpose to visit it annually, as well as to deliver an opinion on the strategic plan and the annual activity report, as well as the budget. Such opinion is submitted to the Foundation for Science and Technology .

Management Office

Management Office asserts itself as an organ of liaison of the centre’s activities. Management Office supports the activities of the Scientific Coordinator and the Executive Board in the development of their skills, particularly in the design, development and implementation of methodologies and processes for R&D management, monitoring and acting on the chain center management and in the organization of the process for applying for financial instruments: networking of internal scientific research and within its interface with key stakeholders and the market, on the design, development and instruction of projects to international and national financial instruments and in technical-scientific project.