Communication Unit

The Communication Unit of i3S (ComUnit-i3S) is strongly committed to building effective cooperation between science and society, to ensuring more responsible research and to enabling efficient health and science knowledge translation. Citizens are now getting easier access to biomedical information and its derivatives; such scenario is making translation of biomedical data into structured public health policies of disease prevention education and healthcare delivery a challenging societal change. For that reason, health and science communication is a pivotal research area of i3S, which acknowledges the need to address present and future health education challenges on science and society arena. The ComUnit-i3S team is implementing a comprehensive framework encompassing corporate identity management, media interaction and community outreach that is supported by a consistent R&D portfolio fostering innovative solutions on health and science communication. To further implement the i3S common strategy, all activities and projects requiring ComUnit-i3S support or collaboration should be discussed and have the accordance of the unit coordinators prior to submission.

COORDINATION: Borlido-Santos, Júlio and Santos-Silva, Filipe



A broad institutional communication program is in motion to promote i3S identity and to accelerate both internal and external (media) synergies aiming to position i3S as a leading international player in health, life sciences and technologies.

TEAM: contact:

Borlido-Santos, Júlio (contact point) | Melo, Luísa | Nunes, Anabela | Verdade, Rute



B1. i3S-EDUC

The science and health educational program has a strong focus on school communities and encompasses two major areas:

B1.1 i3S-LEARNING - includes a portfolio of short-term initiatives and yearly projects with schools and associated partners (e.g. Science in Summer, OpenLab).

B1.2 i3S-DISCOVER – manages all the visits programmed to the institute (i3S-Insider) and the visits/talks from i3S staff set in external sites (i3S-Ambassadors).

TEAM: contact:

Cirnes, Luís (contact point) | Coelho, Rita | Martins, Estefânia | Moreira, Cláudia | Portela, Rita 

B2. i3S-Excel

This program gathers, structures and promotes individual initiatives of communication consulting, mentorship and state-of-the-art training programs led by i3S within the plethora of health education stakeholders.

TEAM: contact:

Júlio Borlido-Santos (contact point) | Barros, Ana | Moreira, Luís | Ribeiro, Nuno | Silva, Paula | Vilar-Correia, Maria Rui 


The FUTURING Program aims to develop innovative and advanced solutions in science and health communication. A comprehensive strategy addresses current and future challenges in a dynamic scenario, going from patients’ literacy to digital inclusion. Projects and studies are intertwined in a plan of action where complementarity is a strong asset of the team’s combined expertise, ranging from basic and applied sciences, to communications, education, multimedia, arts, and sociology. Such multidisciplinary profile is critical to design, develop and implement impactful and innovative solutions.

TEAM: contact:

Santos-Silva, Filipe (contact point) | Abreu, Liliana | Barros, Ana | Borlido-Santos, Júlio | Carvalho, Teresa | Gomes, Ana | Lopes, Maria Manuela | Marcos, Nuno | Moreira, Luís | Ribeiro, Nuno | Silva, Paula | Silva, Rita | Teixeira, Emerência | Vieira da Cunha, Rui | Vilar-Correia, Maria Rui | Carvalho, Luís | Gomes, Paulo 


Communication Unit Projects
With an extensive and diverse selection of high school visits to our laboratories and core facilities, i3S welcomes every year hundreds of students and gives them the opportunity to get in touch with our researchers and the work they are developing. Some of our offers are more theoretical and thus suitable for an entire class, whereas others include a more practical component and are only able to receive small groups of students. The themes cover the three integrative programs: Cancer, Host Interaction and Response, and Neurobiology and Neurologic Disorders. Through the Ambassadors of Science program, a group of researchers is also available to talk about selected topics in schools. In the last couple of years, we have also been requested many site visits from college students, so now we also arrange university-level visits tailored to specific academic and/or professional goals.   MORE:
BioMat - "Biomaterials Resources on the Internet" - was created in May 1998 to link the Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering community worldwide. This site provides updated news in the field, delivered through a monthly newsletter, and also a collection of selected internet links related to Biomaterials Science and Tissue Engineering, as well as relevant links to biomedical engineering, biology, medicine and health sciences in general. MORE:
Cancer in the Family is a medical information website aimed at people/families with a high risk of hereditary breast and colorectal cancer. It grants access to updated and accurate information on hereditary cancer, and on signs and symptoms of colorectal and breast cancers. The project intends to reduce levels of anxiety through adequate information, and to improve overall quality of health by supporting the early detection of hereditary breast and colorectal in Portugal. Funding: Harvard Medical School-Portugal
CANCERMOBILE was an innovative project in terms of cancer prevention. The core of the project consisted in a set of practical sessions regarding prevention, targeted to teenagers and young adults. With this objective, 5 documentaries were created concerning 5 different cancers, to be viewed and discussed in conversation with a medical specialist. The session then evolves to practical activities undertaken by pupils ("hands-on/minds-on"), which encourage greater solidification of knowledge learned. Funding: EEA Grants, Gulbenkian Foundation
Based on the research conducted at the Addiction Biology Group, e-drogas is a science-communication project that aims to prevent the abuse of the most common psychoactive drugs in an adolescent context. The message is focused on altered brain function, emphasizing long-term effects and main consequences for daily life. The site was built in collaboration with a multidisciplinary team of national experts in the field of Addiction. Funding: Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian
Hereditary hemochromatosis (HH) is a genetic disease that results from iron overload, very frequent in Europeans and often under diagnosed. Diabetes, cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma are severe and costly consequences of HH, but preventable if treated early. IBMC is developing proposes on innovative information co-production to accomplish two goals: management support and being an HH patient identity; and the production of information tools about HH specifically directed to GPs.
MORE: YouTube video      
HAPPY stands for Health Awareness and Prevention Personalized for You - aims to investigate methods and strategies to promote cancer prevention through the use of mobile devices to induce behavioral changes in individuals.
MORE: YouTube video      
Falls among the elderly represent a serious Public Health problem, entailing grave economic and social costs in fast ageing countries. Femur fracture is one of the most serious consequences. The implementation of fall prevention campaigns resulted in a 20 to 40% reduction of femur fractures, a greater impact than what osteoporosis prevention with medication ever obtained. Our campaign’s slogan is “Healthy and standing tall” and the message that is relayed is simple, straightforward and with a positive undertone. The project aims to convey quality information and entirely in Portuguese.