The Instituto de Astrofísica e Ciências do Espaço (IA) is a research infrastructure with a national dimension. It results from the merging, in 2015, of the two most prominent research units in the field in Portugal: the Centro de Astrofísica da Universidade do Porto (CAUP) and the Centro de Astrofísica e Astronomia da Universidade de Lisboa (CAAUL).

Currently the institute is the largest research unit of this area in Portugal, being responsible for the majority of the national productivity in international ISI journals in the area of Space Sciences. This is one of the scientific areas with the highest relative impact factor and highest average number of citations per article for Portugal.

IA has a demonstrated ability to drive major astronomical projects, at all development levels: scientific and technical definition, instrument concept and design, construction and commissioning, and scientific exploitation.

The mission of the Instituto de Astrofísica e Ciências do Espaço (IA) is to foster research with the highest impact in the field of astrophysics and space sciences and to support teaching and training of young researchers and students in close collaboration with the Universities of Lisbon and Porto. It also aims to promote wide-ranging science communication activities that enhance public understanding of the Universe and our place in it, as well as awareness of the importance of research in this field.

Our vision is to achieve international leadership in key areas of astrophysics and space sciences, taking full advantage and realising the potential created by the national membership of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Southern Observatory (ESO). This is done through state-of-the-art research, enabled by our leading participation in strategic international ground and space-based projects and missions.

The research and development effort at the IA includes most of the topics presently, and for the next decade, at the forefront of research in Astrophysics and Space Sciences, from the Solar System to the large-scale properties of the Universe, complemented by work on instrumentation and systems with potential use in Astronomy and Astrophysics projects. These activities are structured around six Research Groups:

  • Towards the detection and characterization of other Earths
  • Towards a comprehensive study of stars
  • The assembly history of galaxies resolved in space and time
  • Unveiling the dynamics of the Universe
  • Space and Ground Systems and Technologies
  • Science Communication

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