My readers know that I constantly rave about Portugal’s delicious food, wonderful weather and beautiful sights (oh look, I did it again!). But there’s more to Portugal than the hedonist’s paradise I portray. The Champalimaud Foundation is a prime example of some of the cutting-edge advancements that put Portugal on the map of scientific knowledge. In this particular case, in the field of biomedicine.
Founded in 2004, by António Champalimaud who named it after his parents, the Fundação Anna de Sommer Champalimaud e Dr. Carlos Montez Champalimaud, is commonly referred to as the Champalimaud Foundation (Fundação Champalimaud). António Champalimaud was one of those people with the Midas touch: at 19, when his father died, he dropped out of college and successfully revitalized a family business on the verge of failure. Since then, he built an empire that spanned everything from exporting wines to construction to real estate. He passed away in 2004 and the Foundation was his legacy, as per his will; he dedicated 500 million EUR to its development.
The Scientist Magazine named the Champalimaud Center as the best place to do a postdoc outside of the US in 2012. With good reason. Not only is the foundation located on prime real estate in one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, it has quickly become leader in prevention, diagnosis and treatment of various diseases. In a mere decade, it has become an international hub for scientific research in neuroscience, oncology and vision with constant participation from global leaders, including numerous Nobel Laureates.
On your visit to Belém, you can walk around the building of the Champalimaud Center, which, in itself is very grandiose. You can even visit the main entrance hall and the garden housed inside.
Now you know that Portugal is not only blessed with good looks, but with some big brains too.