The Portuguese think tank PCS – Platform for Sustainable Growth (Plataforma para o Crescimento Sustentável), was founded in October 2011, as a non-profit independent organization committed to identifying policy measures to foster sustainable growth in Portugal.
Since its foundation, PCS has sought to actively contribute towards a new development and sustainable growth strategy in Portugal, encouraging strong civic participation, and a close collaboration with RDI centres, and national and international think tanks.
PCS engages almost 400 members in Portugal – recognized leaders and experts from private sector, academia, government and NGOs – working, as volunteers, within several working groups and thematic areas.
At the Advisory Board, chaired by Francisco Pinto Balsemão (a former Prime-Minister of Portugal) we are honored with the presence of leaders of several European think-tanks and Foundations: BRUEGEL and CEPS, from Belgium; RESPUBLIC and REFORM, from UK; Konrad Adenauer Foundation, from Germany; ASTRID from Italy; TALLBERG Foundation, from Sweden; Club of Rome, Suisse; Luso-American Foundation and Millennium Foundation, from Portugal.
PCS was born from the belief that budgetary consolidation, while necessary, is not a sufficient condition for growth and, as a result, the country needs a new development strategy that sees beyond an economic and financial bailout. To this end, PCS committed in its foundation to produce a Report for Sustainable Growth: a post troika strategy, which sought to offer a civic response to the challenges facing the country that would transcend the Memorandum of Understanding signed between Portugal and the IMF, the European Commission and the ECB.
The PCS’s Report for Sustainable Growth: a post troika strategy, released publicly on December 2012, was the main result of the work initiated in October 2011 and carried out by the 400 PCS’s individual members, during 2011 and 2012. For over a year of work, PCS heard dozens of experts, held hundreds of meetings and brainstorming sessions, produced thousands of pages of drafts, with diagnosis and recommendations benefiting from the invaluable generosity of volunteer work of all of its members.
Being the first of its kind in Portugal, the Report for Sustainable Growth is a bottom-up approach to the country’s main challenges, identifying policies and addressing measures considered critical to release Portugal’s growth potential. In its final version, we produced a 240-page report, identifying 27 sectorial challenges and 511 recommendations in the 6 main topical areas of each working Group (Knowledge Society; Welfare; Competitive economy; Sustainability; Global Challenges; Citizenship, Freedom and Democracy). This report was than broadly discussed all over the country and presented by PCS to the Portuguese President, the Prime-Minister, the President of the Assembly of the Republic and the different Parliamentary Groups.
With the publication and public discussion of the Report for Sustainable Growth, in 2012, PCS accomplished its initial "mission" of identifying key strategic challenges toward the growth of Portugal. After achieving this goal, PCS focused its annual work plans on looking in-depth at selected topics amongst those identified in the original report, through thematic debate series and conferences, original research and policy papers, and ‘crowdthinking’ reports based on the ideas and contribution of PCS’s members. PCS’s main focus and end goal is to generate public policy ideas on the many issues addressed including, but not limited to, climate change, energy, health, education, competitiveness and growth, globalization and citizenship.The PCS’s Report for Sustainable Growth: a post troika strategy
Key areas of work
We pursue our mission through 4 concurrent streams of activities:
- In-House Research - Original studies by visiting researchers who remain at PCS throughout the duration of each project.
- Thematic Roundtables - thematic roundtables and public debate series, to discuss and reflect on key topics to PCS, with speakers and experts in the respective fields.
- Editorial Program – Reports, Policy Papers, and In-depth Studies, which result from PCS’s work, such as public events, research projects and brainstorming sessions within PCS’s working groups.
- Crowd Thinking - The PCS’s crowdthinking covers the entire production of documents and reports from the contributions of members and working groups of PCS.
Since PCS’s foundation, in 2011, and under these key areas of work, PCS held a wide range of activities which included the organization of several thematic conferences and public seminars, two public debate series of 3 sessions each, and two full-day Congresses for Sustainable Growth. All events held varied in scope and dimension and attracted different audiences – in size and profile – depending on the topic and issues addressed. Full day thematic Conferences and Congresses for Sustainable Growth were attended by around 400 people each, while public debate series were attended by more than 150 people each. Audience members have included civil society, think tanks, political parties, journalists, academics, entrepreneurs, diplomats, public officials as well as the private sector.
In addition to public events, we have held several internal workshops and advocacy meetings and debates with various stakeholders, including government, high level officials and parliamentarians, to address and discuss issues at the forefront of PCS’s agenda.
Besides our public events, PCS’s has published three crowd thinking reports, 4 policy papers, and one in-depth research study. Other publications will follow in 2015 and 2016.
Current research areas of interest
Research Project 'Portugal and the European Challenge' (2014)
Portugal’s role in the process of deepening the European Union. In the framework of this research, policy papers were produced on European citizenship, the political deepening of the Economic and Monetary Union, the impact of the election results for the future of the EU, the European economic governance and the Euro Crisis.
Research Project ‘Games Changers – New Clusters for Growth’ (2015)
The opportunities and challenges of technological change (such as technology, artificial intelligence, robotics, big data, new and nano-materials, new energy and ‘new life’ connected by real time data transmission) in tackling, and overcoming economic, environmental and social issues. The project will identify the sectors that will be most affected by these changes and the type of skills required to complement the outputs of technology, artificial intelligence and robotics, thus seizing and enhancing the growth opportunities they create. The ultimate goal will be to promote a set of policy recommendations to address future needs and to foster new clusters of growth in light of new global challenges and opportunities
Research Project ‘(re)Birth: Demographic changes and societal implications’ (2015/2016)
Impact of demographic change and aging population for the country, economic growth and employment. Definition of public policy that respond to the challenges and opportunities posed by new demographic changes in Portugal and abroad.
Project ‘Electric Mobility’ (2015)
Promoting public policy aimed at developing the electric mobility sector in Portugal
In addition to these projects currently underway, the PCS brings added-value, experience and a solid knowledge base on issues related to Sustainability, Climate Change, Energy Transition, Economic Policy, among others. These themes will feature in PCS’s upcoming work plans.