iLab – social innovation in the financial, tax and social security fields

iLab – social innovation in the financial, tax and social security fields
To reflect on new models of public intervention and on how traditional instruments can be readapted, rebuilt or replaced by innovative models of economic, financial and social intervention, capable of meeting new needs and demonstrating innovation in public policy instruments.


Public finance
Social Security
Social Economy

Participating institutions to which the research group belongs:

NOVA School of Law


Rita Sofia Martins Calçada Pires (Principal Investigator)
Ana Cristina Fonseca Nogueira da Silva
Luísa Maria Freitas Gomes Andias Gonçalves
José João Gordo Nunes Abrantes


Manuel Pires
Jorge Alfredo Alves Gomes de Sá
Miguel Alexandre Teixeira Coelho
Joaquim Manuel Freitas da Rocha

Structure of the Research Group:

All members of the Research Group are PhDs and university lecturers. The basic training of the Group’s members reflects the privilege of multidisciplinarity: Law, Economics, History and Social Sciences.

Depending on the subject matter, the work will be developed in sub-teams specialized in the area, namely

Item 1: Ana Cristina Silva, Rita Calçada Pires and Jorge de Sá
Session 2: José João Abrantes, Rita Calçada Pires, Miguel Coelho and Luísa Andias Gonçalves
3rd Entry 3: Rita Calçada Pires and Jorge de Sá
4: Rita Calçada Pires, Manuel Pires, Joaquim Rocha and João Félix Nogueira

The work on each point will be shared by the members of the Group, in order to avoid duplicate treatments, seeking to draw, in a progressive and intensive manner, the crossing of the various points and the conclusions to be reached. In any of the matters, depending on the aspect under analysis, other specialists may be called upon to complement the investigation.

Periodically, a global meeting of the Investigation Group will be organized to present results, discuss strategies and design future systematizations.

At the end of each year of research, the members of the Group will decide and coordinate the way to organize a generalized presentation of the results of the Working Papers produced during that period, in the format of a Conference, Seminar, or even a Debate to be included in a book collection.

Objectives of the research group:

Context of research work

In a contemporary world marked by immediacy and the urgent search for innovative solutions capable of keeping up with the birth of new realities and new economic and social needs, the response offered by the legal, economic and social fields is crucial. The objective of the research in the three identified areas – financial, tax and social security – is to reflect on the new models of public intervention and how the traditional instruments may be readapted, rebuilt or replaced by innovative models of economic, financial and social intervention, capable of meeting new needs and showing innovation in the instruments of public policy.

Questions to be asked

  • Point 1: Are the current instruments for assessing “Welfare” the right ones? What relationship can exist between the concepts of “Welfare” and “Happiness”? How to make the concept of “Happiness” operational? What is the sociology of a “Happiness” index? What is the social utility of such an index in contemporary societies?
  • Point 2: Is the current Portuguese social security system sufficient to continue to support contemporary social protection policies? Are there real and concrete alternatives?
  • Point 3: What role for Social Economy in a society in permanent mutation, with present and latent economic, financial and social crises?
  • Point 4: What room for taxation in a society with high levels of tax effort? How to manage persistent tax fraud and evasion, as well as aggressive tax planning and harmful tax practices? And how to create effective tax citizenship?

The present points find elements of interconnection with the work of other CEDIS Research Groups, enhancing the results obtained and the interconnection of the matters investigated.


  • In general, all 4 points will be connected with the work developed by the Law, Politics and Participation Group, namely regarding themes such as citizens’ rights in a context of economic and financial crisis, the limitation of the effects of Constitutional Court decisions or even on the issue of the principle of the protection of confidence;
  • In particular, point 4 will also be linked to the research work to be carried out by the Research Group on Alternative Dispute Resolution (integrated into one of the research strands of the Research Group on Law and Justice), which will seek to assess how
    • Tax arbitration has functioned in Portugal, contributing or not to a faster tax justice environment and capable of helping to resolve some of the inefficiencies of the legal-tax relationship;
    • To investigate whether there are sufficiently weighty reasons to accept and develop legal mechanisms that consider mediation and conciliation as new tools for dispute resolution in the contemporary tax field.

Form of disclosure of the research results

The format chosen for the disclosure of the results is based on a system of Working Papers. Such Working Papers will be disseminated through a specific website, with versions in Portuguese and English, in order to favour the generalized scientific dissemination, reaching the members of the scientific community who master the Portuguese language, as well as those who master the English language.

However, since the construction of this Research Group appears as a stage in a long-term project, the format designed for the disclosure of the research work produced is presented below, reflecting not only the medium-term goal (2015-2020), but also integrating the long-term perspective, in order to reveal the seriousness, density and strategy of the construction of this new Research Group in the panorama of Financial, Tax and Social Security Law in Portugal.

1st stage: Construction of a Working Papers system dedicated to presenting the Group’s research results (2015-2020)

2nd stage: Expanding participation in the Working Papers system, building a peer review system (2020-2025)

3rd stage: Stabilisation of the platform for scientific reflection on “Social innovation in the financial, tax and social security fields” reinforcing the recognised merit of the platform in the area, assuming persistent scientific production on the subject, in an open and available manner to the Scientific Community (2025-…)