Research Centre for Anthropology and Health (CIAS)

The Research Center for Anthropology and Health (CIAS) is an international research center that builds on the multidisciplinary field of anthropology to explore a wide range of topics in the study of past and present human societies. CIAS brings together researchers from various disciplinary fields in anthropology and other human sciences, including biological anthropology, social-cultural anthropology, and archeology, promoting the cross-fertilization of research perspectives and enabling the articulation of person and community-centered approaches with broader theoretical formulations. The research currently being developed at CIAS is primarily concerned with questions of human sociality, human health and well-being, and human-environment relations, covering a wide range of contexts, and placing side-by-side the insights of evolutionary perspectives and the critical analysis of historical and contemporary developments. Researchers at CIAS draw on diverse research methodologies and theoretical traditions to approach people, through and through, as biosocial beings who live in particular cultural, historical, and material environments. This broad holistic approach leads to a more in-depth understanding of the human condition, while generating new perspectives on some of the big questions facing the world today: from the sustainability of global food systems to the health challenges posed by changing global diets, from shifting patterns of disease to the history of contemporary models of epidemic governance, from the societal costs of digital automation and artificial intelligence to the impacts of environmental degradation and climate change on the future of human life on the planet.

Located in a university with seven hundred years of history, CIAS is widely regarded as one of the most vibrant and internationally oriented anthropological research centers in Europe. While CIAS was established in 1994, its roots go back to 1885 when the first anthropology institute in Portugal was founded at the University of Coimbra. CIAS was significantly reconfigured in 2007 and obtained very high rankings in all subsequent international evaluations. As a highly international research center, CIAS is committed to the development of a transnational anthropological research community, and the center is actively involved in several international research projects, networks, and programs. CIAS researchers are developing fieldwork-based projects in different parts of the world and have direct access to biological field stations in Africa and South America. In addition to promoting research activities, the center offers training courses, hosts graduate students and promotes public events like research seminars, workshops, and scientific meetings. The center is also actively involved in facilitating the publication of anthropological research at the highest level. The center’s journal, Antropologia Portuguesa, is the oldest anthropology journal in Portugal and its international quality is recognized in major databases like Scopus, Web of Knowledge, and Capes Qualis.

Today CIAS includes four major multidisciplinary research clusters: (1) Genes, Populations, and Diseases, (2) Human Biology, Health, and Society, (3) Past Cultures and Populations, (4) Technoscience, Society, and Environment. Each of these research clusters has its own individualized team of researchers but there are significant overlaps between clusters and they often cooperate with one another in particular projects, subjects and contexts of research.



  • Genes, Populations and Diseases
  • Human Biology, Health and Society
  • Past Cultures and Populations
  • Technoscience, Society, and Environment