Approved in the General Assembly on 22 April 2017.
NAME, PURPOSE, REGISTERED OFFICE, AND DURATION
The Institute of Contemporary History, known under the abbreviated title IHC, is a non-profit organization with scientific aims and is part of the NOVA School of Social Sciences and Humanities of the NOVA University of Lisbon.
1. The purpose of IHC is to stimulate research development in Contemporary History, promote human resources training and conduct higher academic activities.
2. In order to fulfil its purpose, the IHC will develop all initiatives that it deems necessary, such as the promotion of works, the organization of colloquiums, conferences and several other schooling activities, and additionally provide services to entities unattached to the University in the field of Contemporary History.
The IHC has its registered office at the NOVA School of Social Sciences and Humanities of the NOVA University of Lisbon.
The IHC will run for an indefinite period of time.
1. The professors in the field of Contemporary History from the History Department of the NOVA School of Social Sciences and Humanities of the Nova University of Lisbon are members in their own right. For the IHC membership to become effective, each academic must express his/her interest in joining the Institute through a letter addressed to the IHC’s Board of Directors.
2. Other researchers may also become members of the IHC. The IHC’s Board of Directors will decide on their admission, on a substantiated proposal by any of the members of the Institute. The decision made by the Board of Directors will be subjected to concurrence by the Scientific Council in its first meeting after such decision.
1. The IHC is composed by the following member categories:
a) Integrated Researchers;
b) Associated Researchers.
2. The Integrated Researchers can be:
a) doctoral candidates or doctorates for whom the IHC is the main host institution, in accordance with the rules established by the Foundation for Science and Technology;
b) all the fellows and contract researchers who perform duties in projects hosted by the IHC;
c) experts, regardless of their academic degree, who present an exceptional scientific merit and that display a high degree of involvement in the activities organised by groups or lines of research of the IHC; this decision will be made by the Board of Directors, with the concurrence of the Scientific Council.
3. The associated researchers can be:
a) Doctorates who are part of the IHC as a complement to their main activity in another research institution, be it national or foreign;
b) Academics with master’s degrees who develop their main research activity in the IHC.
4. The IHC also hosts visiting researchers and fellows who temporarily develop research projects or particular tasks, upon prior acceptance by the Board of Directors.
1. The members of the IHC participate in the activities of the Institute, but only the Integrated Researchers may benefit from the resources made available by the IHC.
2. Students enrolled in a course from any level at the NOVA School of Social Sciences and Humanities and researchers from outside the IHC may also participate in the activities of the Institute, pursuant to the substantiated proposal of its integrated members.
The IHC members commit to respect the present statutes.
1. The IHC members forfeit this status:
a) as long as they address a written communication to the General Meeting Board;
b) by deliberation of the General Meeting Board, approved by 4/5 of its effective members under substantiated proposal by the Board of Directors.
2. The integrated researchers move to the category of associated researchers for a year when they fail to deliver the individual researcher sheet within the time limit requested by the services of the IHC for two consecutive years.
1. The IHC’s bodies are: the General Meeting, the Scientific Council, the Board of Directors and the Supervisory Board.
2. No member of the IHC may belong simultaneously to the Board of Directors and the Supervisory Board or exercise functions in these bodies and in the General Meeting Board at the same time.
1. The General Meeting is the sovereign body of the IHC and the integrated members of the IHC are also its elements.
2. The General Meeting will have a Board elected biannually, composed by a President and two members; one will be the Vice-President and the other will be the Secretary.
The General Meeting is responsible for:
a) Electing its respective board, the Board of Directors and the Supervisory Board, and it may dismiss any of these boards if it is duly justified;
b) Electing the interim Board of Directors under the terms laid down in Article 18 (3);
c) Assessing and approving the annual report, the annual plan of activities and the corresponding budgets presented by the Board of Directors;
d) Deliberating on the amendment of the statutes;
e) Deliberating on the extinction of the IHC;
f) Deliberating on exclusion of any member of the IHC, under the provisions of Article 9;
g) Deliberating on any matter that is presented to it;
h) Appointing the Researcher Ombudsman.
The General Meeting will assemble ordinarily once a year and, extraordinarily, when convened by the President, at the request of the Board of Directors, the Scientific Council or the Supervisory Board, or at the request of 1/3 of the IHC members, with an explicit statement regarding the purpose of the meeting.
The general meeting must be convened by letter or electronic mail addressed to each of its members, with at least 15 days’ notice. It will start at the appointed time if more than half of the members are present and a half hour later on a second call, with the number of members present at the time.
1. The Scientific Council consists of all doctorate integrated researchers. Its President is the President of the Board of Directors of the IHC.
2. A coordinating committee will work within the Scientific Council, comprised of the President of the IHC and the researchers who coordinate the groups and lines of research concerning the scientific activity of IHC, as provided for in Chapter IV.
The Scientific Council is responsible for:
a) Making an assessment regarding the annual report, plan of activities and annual budget of the institution presented by the Board of Directors;
b) Assessing the organization and strategic guidelines of the IHC;
c) Approving, under proposal of the Board of Directors, the composition of the Permanent External Committee for Scientific Advice, mentioned in Chapter V;
d) Approving research projects financed by the IHC;
e) Presenting proposals that contribute to the valorisation of the scientific activity of the IHC;
f) Ratifying the decision of the Board of Directors on the admission of members of the IHC;
g) Approving the rules of procedure;
h) Making a request to the President of the General Meeting to convene an extraordinary meeting of this body;
i) Providing a judgement about all other aspects that involve the scientific activity of the IHC.
1. The meetings of the Scientific Council shall be convened by the President.
2. The plenary of the Scientific Council shall meet twice a year. It might also be convened at any time if proposed by 1/3 of its members.
3. The Scientific Council will operate at the appointed time if more than half of the members are present and a half hour later on a second call, with the number of members present at the time.
1. The Board of Directors consists of one President and two Vice-Presidents, chosen from the doctorate integrated members of the IHC, and 1 to 3 members chosen from the doctorate integrated researchers.
2. The Board of Directors is elected by list, headed by the President, every two years in an extraordinary meeting of the General Meeting, by secret vote. The members of the Board of Directors cannot serve more than three consecutive terms of office.
3. In the event of the Board of Directors’ removal from office, in compliance with Article 12 (b), or its resignation, the General Meeting, convened extraordinarily by the board, will elect an interim Board that will maintain functions until the election of a new Board in the following ordinary General Meeting.
The Board of Directors is responsible for:
a) Guiding the activities of the IHC;
b) Submitting the research projects that are presented to it to the approval of the Scientific Council;
c) Concluding contracts and establishing agreements with other entities or research centres;
d) Performing all expedient acts;
e) Deciding on the admission as members of the IHC concerning researchers from outside of the History Department;
f) Devising the annual report and its accounts, the annual activity plan and its budget;
g) Developing all the activities necessary to the achievement of the purposes of the IHC;
h) Devising the proposal for the composition of the Permanent External Committee for Scientific Advice;
i) Requesting the President of the General Meeting to convene the extraordinary meetings of this body.
1. The meetings of the Board of Directors shall be convened by the President.
2. It may only deliberate with the presence of the majority of its members. The President has the casting vote.
1. The President of the Board of Directors is responsible for:
a) Representing the IHC;
b) Convening and presiding the meetings of the Board of Directors and of the Scientific Council;
c) Complying with all other duties necessary for the proper performance of the obligations of the Board of Directors.
2. The President, when absent or prevented from acting, shall be replaced by one of the Vice-Presidents, to whom he/she may also delegate his/her functions.
The IHC is bound through the joint signature of two members of the Board of Directors, and the standard expedient may be signed by only one of the members.
There will be books for the transcriptions of the meeting minutes of the bodies of the IHC.
The Supervisory Board is composed of three IHC members: a President and two members. None of these elements can be a part of the Board of Directors nor of the board for the General Meeting of the Institute.
The Supervisory Board is responsible for:
a) Assessing the financial management of the Board of Directors;
b) Presenting to the General Meeting assessments on the annual accounts;
c) Requesting the President of the General Meeting to convene the extraordinary meetings of this office.
1. The Supervisory Board shall assemble ordinarily once a year and extraordinarily whenever convened by the President.
2. The Board of Directors and the Supervisory Board may hold joint meetings, on the initiative of their presidents.
3. The Supervisory Board may deliberate with the presence of the majority of its members; the deliberations will be made according to majority and the President has a casting vote.
1. In the pursuit of its scientific activity, the IHC is structured into groups and lines of research.
2. The groups and lines of research result from the identification of problems relevant to the study of contemporaneity, in a historical perspective, and are approved by the General Meeting, after appraisal by the Scientific Council.
3. For the creation or extinction of a group or line of research, some criteria must be taken into account: the scientific relevance of the proposed topic; the existence of a critical mass accumulated in the IHC; and its strategic potential, in particular in the fields of internationalisation, human resources training or its rendering of services to the community.
4. All IHC researchers must be in a group of their choosing, in line with their strategy and research projects, however, they may contribute to other research groups or lines as collaborators.
5. Each group will have a researcher in charge, elected by the respective integrated researchers, who is responsible for the coordination of the activity being developed, including the preparation of budgets and plans of activities, and of scientific and financial reports.
6. The coordinators of the research lines and groups are doctorate integrated researchers and they automatically take part in the coordinating committee of the Scientific Council.
7. The coordinators of the research groups are elected every two years, and they may serve up to three consecutive mandates. The election of the coordinators shall take place by way of secret ballots and it will occur during the calendar year of the election of the bodies of the IHC. A minute that records all the attendances of this election must be drawn and then delivered to the Board of Directors. The coordinators of the research lines are designated by the Board of Directors at the beginning of their mandate, and the proposal is subject to approval by the Scientific Council. The coordinators may carry out their duties to up to three consecutive mandates of two years.
8. The coordinators of the research lines and groups lose their status:
a) if the researchers explicitly state it, in writing, to the Scientific Council;
b) by deliberate exoneration by the Scientific Council, through a qualified majority of 2/3 of the present members, after a substantiated proposal by the Board of Directors;
c) by deliberate exoneration by the majority of the members that constitute the research group, present at a meeting summoned specifically for this purpose by 1/3 of the effective members of the Groups or Lines of Research.
1. The Permanent External Committee for Scientific Advice (CEPAC) carries out monitoring and advisory functions on the research activities developed in the framework of the IHC.
2. The IHC must submit its plans and activity reports to the CEPAC.
3. It is the obligation of the CEPAC to regularly analyse the operations of the institution and provide the necessary advice, particularly on the annual plan and on the annual report of activities.
4. The CEPAC is constituted by national and foreign researchers of renowned merit from outside the IHC, and a part of them are connected to foreign universities or research centres, in accordance with the normative principles of the Institutions for Scientific Research’s legal requirements.
5. The composition of the CEPAC is approved by the Scientific Council, under the proposal of the Board of Directors of the IHC.
6. The CEPAC has a two-year mandate, which can be renewed for two consecutive times.
1. The figure of the Researcher Ombudsman is created.
2. The Researcher Ombudsman is responsible for:
a) arbitrating on any conflict that has not been resolved in the established framework by the Board of Directors, General Meeting, Supervisory Board or Scientific Council of the IHC.
b) issuing a non-binding assessment on the issues at stake. A Researcher Ombudsman will be appointed every two years by the General Meeting and its mandate will coincide with that of the Board of Directors. The Researcher Ombudsman shall be a person of established academic reputation from an institution unconnected to the NOVA University of Lisbon and the IHC.
The resources of the IHC derive from financing obtained from public and private entities, namely, from the revenues of the organization of colloquiums, conferences, training actions, and from the rendering of services.
REPORT OF THE PERMANENT EXTERNAL COMMITTEE FOR SCIENTIFIC ADVICE (CEPAC) – 2016
The CEPAC visited the Institute of Contemporary History (IHC) of the NOVA University of Lisbon on the 20 and 21 September 2016, to assess its scientific activities. The members of the Committee also had the opportunity to meet with the Board of Directors and the researchers of the Institute during an intense program of activities which included an initial plenary session headed by the Board, followed by individual meetings with each Working Group (WG) and a final meeting with the Board and the coordinators of the WGs. The Committee was warmly welcomed and received full cooperation from the IHC and its members, and it was given further access to post-doctoral fellows and students. These meetings revealed the member’s high qualifications and enthusiasm for the work they are developing.
It was the second time the Committee had the opportunity to follow the activities of the Institute. This time, it relied on the collaboration of two participants from the previous visit, the Professors Celso Castro and Hipólito de la Torre, and two new members, the Professors Marcel van der Linden and Miriam Halpern Pereira. It is worth noting that the previous visit, in May 2012, occurred right after the Institute’s reorganisation, decided upon by the General Meeting of the IHC, in April 2011. In particular, this reorganization led to the creation of Working Groups and the reorganization of research lines, it modified the administrative structure of the IHC and introduced new financing mechanisms and criteria, as well as new measures to ensure the effective dissemination of all its activities and products.
The Committee acknowledges that this reorganization of the IHC, although recent, was, in general, successful, having already yielded very good results. As was to be expected, there are inequalities in terms of size, level of funding and integration among the different groups. The disparities result, mainly, from the existence of bigger and more stabilized groups alongside other groups that are more recent or that integrate less researchers. Two groups stand out due to their sizes: “Political Comparative History – Regimes, Transitions, Colonialism and Memory” and “Economy, Society, Heritage and Innovation”; the other groups, despite being smaller, are also of great quality, being nucleated around a small number of head researchers. As a counterpart of the fulfilling importance inherent to the thematic nature and potential of bigger groups, the smaller ones gravitate around a more conceptual matrix that, since it requires interesting perspectives of methodological definition, can also generate auspicious, innovative expectations. The majority of the members of the Committee consider these disparities normal, however, some see them as a process of maturation and institutional transformation that might lead to a redefinition of the groups.
The Committee agrees with the general strategic axes of the IHC’s action, recognizing their great merits, topicality and capacity to generate innovation. We would like to highlight, above all, the importance that the pluralism on the field of ideas and the interdisciplinarity in the research practice assume as important marks of the institution, which are further revealed in the dynamics of the groups. This does not contradict the existence of a broad range of themes transversal to the research – a complex and winding road to the modernization of the Portuguese society in the contemporary period – that create a dialogue between different WGs.
The IHC’s concern to keep the debate relevant, and the importance it gives to the public dissemination of its production, including the interaction with different sectors of the Portuguese society, became clear. In particular, this translates into a great concern over de documental sources that allow for historical research, as much in terms of location and identification, as of their collection, organization and subsequent public dissemination and availability. The action of different groups to stimulate a “public history” is one of the most relevant impact factors of the production of the IHC.
The overall productivity is very good and of great quality. The diversity of the intellectual production of the WGs and the attraction of researchers external to the IHC is, without a doubt, a strong point in the life of the institution. The process of internationalization of the activities of the IHC has evolved in these last few years, counting with a strong cooperation on an Iberian level and also with other European areas. The Committee, however, highlights the still unexplored potential for higher investments in the internationalization of its activities, which could lead to a greater access to European or international financing sources, in addition to the funding from the FCT. The group “Political Comparative History” deserves a special mention due to its recognized importance in the establishing of the national agenda of historical research in the last few decades. In its current configuration, which emphasises the comparative approach as fundamental, there is still room for the growth of the groups’ activities on an international level.
We also commend the concern with the training of good, international young researchers, that are innovative in their academic practices, and who adhere to new technologies, methodologies and research techniques. It became clear that the postgraduate students and postdoctoral researchers are fully integrated in the activities of the IHC, and they expressed some dissatisfactions in relation to the insufficient work space, the need for a better flow of information with the secretariat, and the limitations, in some thematic fields, of the bibliographic collection – although they recognize that this is more of a general problem of the University and not specific to the IHC.
It is a shame that so many post-doctoral fellows and researchers with temporary labour contracts of several years cannot become fully integrated in the permanent academic staff of the institute, since they hold excellent qualifications and
assume great responsibilities in the life of the institution. This became evident in the presentation of the working groups. The recent announcement made by the government of a new type of fixed-term contract might serve as a palliative for this situation, although it is not a final solution.
The CEPAC would like to make some general suggestions to improve the performance of the IHC and its Groups:
- The material sent to the Committee before the visit in loco was clearly not enough to allow for a precise understanding of the works carried out. The narrative of the works undertaken was, in most cases, reduced to a bureaucratic list of activities, without the necessary classification of important results or a narrative that would, in that way, provide meaning to the strategic goals of each group and of the IHC as a whole. There was a great contrast between the material that was previously sent and the richness of the oral presentations. We suggest that you pay greater attention to the material sent to the CEPAC for the next visit.
- We would also like to see included in the material sent to the Committee information about the finances of the IHC, as well as tables and charts that demonstrate more clearly the development, throughout time, of the institution’s activities (for example, number of researchers and distribution by WG, publications, etc.). The material must address not only the results, but also the objectives and challenges to be faced – a “SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats)”.
- We also suggest a further development of the IHC’s vocation and capacity to deepen the international cooperation and the attraction of more foreign research associates, for which it is fully qualified, becoming a centre that provides researchers to work abroad and that welcomes researchers from abroad.
- Although the Committee recognises the effort made by different WGs in the use of the Internet, it suggests that an additional effort be made towards finding greater visibility for the activities of the IHC through the creation of individual pages for each researcher, including postdoctoral fellows and students.
- We observed an enormous variation in terms of fluency in the use of the English language between the different interlocutors and in the printed material that was presented or that is available on the Internet. Although these variations are inevitable, the improvement of the quality and fluency of the material produced is important, since it could lead to a greater international impact of the production and activities of the IHC. The Committee became aware of the initiative of the Board of Directors of the IHC to encourage the translation of texts pre-approved for publication, as well as of some of the difficulties of its implementation, which were pointed out during the meetings. We believe that it would be a good initiative to take more risks by investing in the translation of some works even if they have not been approved for publication yet. A periodical process of selection of works to be translated could be established, for example.
- Despite the obvious limitations in physical space and financial resources, we suggest that you look for solutions to improve the working environment for the students and postdoctoral fellows.
- In addition to the specific interests of each WG, and without contradicting them, we propose that you try to identify, for the next years, some transversal and integrating projects for the whole body of researchers of the IHC. Recent examples include the activities developed in light of the celebration of the centenaries of the Republic and the First World War.
In conclusion, we would like to register that, as a final result of the Committee’s visit, the researcher team of the IHC demonstrates a profile of high quality on a national level, and a growing international reputation, developing works of substantial impact on the academic scenario and the Portuguese society in general.
Lisbon, September of 2016.
Celso Castro (FGV/CPDOC- Brazil), Hipólito de la Torre (UNED-Spain), Marcel van der Linden (IISH-Holland), Miriam Halpern Pereira (ISCTE/IUL-Portugal)
Oct 21, 2021
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Oct 15, 2021
The IHC was one of the proponent institutions of the COST Action Traces as Research Agenda for Climate Change, Technology Studies, and Social Justice.
Oct 11, 2021
The IHC has created GenLab, the Contemporary History Laboratory dedicated to research in Gender Studies.