The Communication and Society Research Centre (CECS) of the University of Minho is the leading research unit in Communication Sciences field in Portugal, a consolidated, creative and dynamic research group. Evaluated by FCT as “Excellent” since 2008 and internationally recognised, the unit focuses on the following scientific domains: media literacy, communication and culture policies, visual and sound culture, intercultural communication, cultural studies, organisational and strategic communication, science communication, social challenges (ageing, health, disability…), media, digital languages and journalism.

CECS was founded in 2001, when Communication Sciences became more visible in the Social Sciences and Humanities context in Portugal. Its history is intertwined with the history of Communication Sciences in the country. During the first decade of 21st century, CECS expanded as part of a national movement for the consolidation of an autonomous and legitimate scientific field.

Since its very beginning, CECS has been a crucial structure for the strengthening of this scientific field not only in the Portuguese context but also internationally with a particular emphasis in the Portuguese and Spanish speaking regions. The group invests in collaborative activities, developing strong links with some of the most relevant global research networks, task forces and associations – such as the EuroMedia Research Group, ECREA, IAMCR, Lusocom and Confibercom – and promoting partnerships with a series of relevant regional, national and international actors.

CECS’ mission is geared to the following main objectives: a) carrying out cutting-edge research in media and communication; b) contributing to social and cultural development; c) producing research to enhance the development of sustainable societies; d) promoting communication as pivotal in the development of welcoming, inclusive and peaceful communities; e) improving publication; and f) encouraging and supporting young researchers.

The unit is particularly motivated to: a) discuss media’s role in the configuration of modern and multicultural societies; b) promote media literacy for engaged citizenship; c) debate journalism’s social responsibility in information societies; d) uphold intercultural relations based on communication flows within the Portuguese speaking space; e) analyse media’s shaping of social representations; f) examine technology and communication practices in outlining the aesthetic experience and lifestyles; g) survey social change produced by strategic communication; and h) improve communication for social development and for innovative and reflexive societies.

CECS operates in four major domains: a) research; b) intervention; c) education; and d) publication. The research team is organised in three groups: 1) Communication, Organisations and Social Dynamics; 2) Cultural Studies; and 3) Media and Journalism.

Communication with and for Community is the leitmotiv of the CECS’s strategic project. Aligned with the European scientific agenda, the programmatic planning is grounded on the vision of communication as the key for cohesive, trustful, inclusive and welcoming communities. This ideal is not possible unless based on the quality and transparency of information, the quality and diversity of intercultural relations, as well as the quality and solidity of democracy. For this reason, the strategic project for the coming years (2019-2022) is particularly oriented to study and debate the role media and communication systems play providing citizens with quality information and enhancing promising futures.

The development of the Strategic Project of the CECS (UID/CCI/00736/2013) between 2012 and 2018 was supported by COMPETE (POCI-01-0145-FEDER-007560) and the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT). In 2019, a new Strategic Project (UID/CCI/00736/2013), funded by the Foundation for Science and Technology, was started.