Mountain Research Centre (CIMO) - School of Agriculture of the Polytechnic Institute of Braganza (IPB)


CIMO is a multidisciplinary research centre in agricultural sciences founded in 2002 within the School of Agriculture (ESA) of the Polytechnic Institute of Braganza (IPB). It 2003, CIMO became part of the national research network funded by the Portuguese Science and Technology Foundation (FCT). CIMO aims at studying and developing mountain natural resources, forest and agriculture ecosystems, and local food products in order to progress sustainable systems from the economic, social and environmental points of view. Currently, CIMO comprises 116 members, 56 of which have a PhD degree in agronomy, animal science, life sciences, physical sciences or social sciences. This diversity allows CIMO to be remarkably multidisciplinary. CIMO researchers have wide experience in developing national and international research projects, and are currently involved in 28 research projects (23 national and 5 international). CIMO is also involved in several national and international networks and platforms such as: International Honey Commission, Food Health Network, Apimondia Working Group AWG, Commission Sustainability through Integrated and Organic Horticulture, Workgroup Composting for Horticultural Applications, among others. CIMO has an established expertise in plant protection, plant nutrition and fertilisation, ectomycorrhizal symbionts, ecology of plant and animal communities, forestry, land-use patterns, landscape and urban green spaces, mixed farming systems, small-ruminant productions systems, and meat quality and safety.


CIMO team members research projects on genetic evaluation of livestock; sheep and goat carcasses evaluation and automated classification systems; sheep and goat meat quality and safety; sensor arrays (e-tongue) for food quality control; quality and safety of traditional meat products, among others. CIMO research is supported by three experimental farms and experimental flocks of sheep, goats and beef cattle; slaughter facilities for lambs; and specific instrumental equipment for meat and carcass evaluation. CIMO has established cooperation protocols with Portuguese sheep, goats and cattle breeding associations, namely: National Association of Churra Galega Bragançana Breeders (ACOB), National Association of Serrana Caprine Breeders (ANCRAS) and Association of Breeders of Mirandesa Bovine (ACBRM). Our team has expertise in a wide range of mathematical and statistical modelling techniques, such as: robust, logistic and multiple regression analyses; multivariate analysis including factor analysis, cluster analysis and classification techniques. CIMO researchers have wide experience in supporting national and regional enterprises by means of provision of services, as well as experience in the organisation of workshops, seminars, and congresses within the frame of regional, national and international projects, networks and platforms.


CIMO researchers have extensively investigated on sustainable production systems, farm productivity, animal identification and traceability, quality of carcasses, and meat quality and safety; hence matching the knowledge demands of various work packages of the ERANET-SusAn proposal. Researchers from CIMO-IPB have been involved in projects aiming to preserve local breeds, automatise the assessment of meat quality from ruminants, individually identify small ruminants using biometrics and RFIDs, and develop intervention strategies to reduce the occurrence of pathogens in meat and traditional meat products through quantitative risk assessment techniques. This partner has been very active in the development of cutting-edge statistical tools for the control of pathogens in meat, such as new predictive microbiology models, use of meta-analysis and Bayesian statistics for the integration of quality and safety information, novel derivation of sampling plans for quality control, etc. Furthermore, CIMO has a strong link with local farmers, breeders, and producers of PDO/PGI meat and meat products.

Dr. Vasco Augusto Pilão Cadavez, holds a Masters degree in Animal Production with specialisation in Feed and Nutrition (1998) and a PhD degree in Animal Husbandry Engineering (2004) from the Portuguese University of Trás-Os-Montes e Alto Douro. He is currently a Professor at the Animal Science Department of the Polytechnic Institute of Braganza (IPB). Dr. Cadavez has broad expertise in both animal breeding and meat science, including the development of mathematical models predicting carcass composition and meat quality. He is highly skilled in a wide range of statistical techniques, such as differential equations, dynamic modelling and optimisation, complex regression analysis, and meta-analysis applications for animal science and food quality/safety applications. He has over 40 peer-reviewed publications, and is member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Food Protection.


Dr. Ursula Gonzales-Barron, a Peruvian-Irish national, is a Food Engineer with a PhD degree from the School of Biosystems Engineering, University College Dublin, Ireland (2006), and postdoctoral studies in the School of Chemical Engineering at the University of Manchester (UK). She is currently an Investigator Fellow at CIMO-IPB. She has carried out extensive research on animal and meat traceability using biometrics and radio-frequency tags, as well as microbiological safety of meat and traditional meat products using state-of-the-art modelling techniques. She is a specialist in overlapping areas within food safety/quality and mathematical/statistical modelling; namely: predictive microbiology, meta-analysis for food safety/quality applications, risk assessment modelling of pathogens in the food chain, and shelf-life determination. She has published >52 peer-reviewed articles; bears an H-index of >20, and serves as Editor of the LWT – Food Science and Technology journal.


Dr. Jaime Camilo Afonso Maldonado Pires holds a PhD in Grassland-Agriculture Engineering from University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal (1998), and is a Professor at the Department of Plant Production and Technology at the School of Agriculture of the Polytechnic Institute of Braganza. His research activity has been mainly in the field of grassland ecology and management, natural and semi-natural grasslands and agricultural systems. He is the Principal Coordinator of CIMO, and the most relevant research activities comprise the leadership of 10 research projects and participation in other 6 funded research projects. He has published 44 peer reviewed papers, books and chapters.

Dr. Carlos Aguiar is an agronomist with M.Sc. in Plant Protection and PhD in Agronomy/Botany from the University of Lisbon, Portugal. He is currently a Professor at IPB, and the Principal Investigator of the Marginal Land Ecosystem Services group of CIMO. He has authored 51 articles in international journals, and 80 scientific publications in national journals, books, and conference proceedings. He has participated in 14 Research & Development projects, and in 19 Technology Transfer projects; among them, the Natura 2000 Portuguese Sectorial Plan. He is the current President of the Portuguese Grassland Society.


Dr. Fátima Lopes-da-Silva pursued PhD studies of Food and Environment at the University of Salamanca, Spain (2004). She is an Associate Professor at ESA-IPB and a researcher in the Food Technology and Safety Group of CIMO. She has participated in 3 research projects, publishing 7 peer-reviewed articles and a book on the chemical aspects of food quality.