CEDIS - Research & Development Centre on Law and Society

Established following the inception of the NOVA School of Law in 1996, CEDIS emerged in 2003 with a clear aim: to challenge dogmatic paradigms in legal scholarship and education within Portugal. Its name  – Research & Development Centre on Law and Society – reflected our alignment with the Law and Society movement, emphasizing a socio-legal orientation towards legal research, education and outreach, distinct from doctrinal concerns.

CEDIS embarked on a mission to integrate legal discourse with broader societal contexts, serving as a catalyst for transformative change across various social dimensions. This comprehensive vision manifested in CEDIS’s tripartite mission, outlined as follows:

  • to reconceptualise legal science through a strong interdisciplinarity;
  • to redefine legal pedagogy by combining teaching with research, and by adopting a student-centred pedagogical approach;
  • to effectuate societal change by engaging directly with external stakeholders and communities.

Throughout its evolution, CEDIS has experienced significant expansion, with its scholarly contributions setting commendable benchmarks across various scientific domains. The impact of CEDIS’s activities extends beyond Law, catalysing transformative shifts in diverse spheres including social, cultural, economic, legal, political, environmental, technological, and digital domains. The institutional identity of CEDIS has evolved through synergistic engagements with diverse socio-legal research paradigms, aligning its objectives with broader imperatives. Currently, CEDIS’s scholarly pursuits resonate with the European Agenda for Knowledge and Innovation, reflecting Europe’s commitment to progressive knowledge dissemination. Additionally, its endeavours align with the goals of the 2030 United Nations Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDGs), highlighting its dedication to fostering a sustainable and egalitarian global community.

This alignment underscores CEDIS’s pivotal role in advancing legal scholarship, education, and outreach while shaping an inclusive and sustainable future grounded in a nuanced understanding of the interplay between law and society.

Board Members


Today, CEDIS embodies a rejuvenated ensemble characterized by diversity, inclusivity, interdisciplinarity, and international perspectives, all converging with its tripartite mission components:

  • CEDIS RESEARCH: scholars are dedicated to forging innovative theoretical frameworks that transcend conventional legal paradigms, embracing problems, approaches and methodologies from other social sciences. The outcomes of this pioneering scholarship are published in esteemed, globally indexed scholarly journals. Beyond scholarly contributions, the team advocates for novel legislative frameworks, public policies, institutional architectures, and conflict resolution methods, effectuating tangible impacts domestically and internationally.
  • CEDIS EDUCATION: budding scholars are seamlessly integrated into CEDIS’s scholarly pursuits, engaging in both research endeavours and outreach initiatives. Young scholars play integral roles in CEDIS Knowledge Centres and Projects, gaining invaluable experiential learning opportunities and contributing meaningfully to academic discourse.
  • CEDIS OUTREACH: CEDIS actively engages with diverse stakeholders, including policymakers, governmental agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the private sector, and other civil society actors, ensuring that our knowledge is accessible, relevant, and beneficial to a wider audience beyond academia.

Thematic Lines

At CEDIS, each scholar embodies the triad of mission components, aligning their scholarly endeavours with one of three thematic lines:

  • Empowering People (A)
  • Protecting the Planet (B)
  • Promoting Strong Institutions (C)

CEDIS Funding

Research at CEDIS is funded by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT), by European institutions with responsibility in the area of scientific research and development, and by other relevant institutions in the area of Law and Society.

CEDIS – Centre for Research on Law and Society (CEDIS) is a research and development (R&D) unit accredited and financed by the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT). It is also financed by European institutions and by other institutions in the area of ​​Law and Society. Its mission is to promote the quality and innovative character of its members’ research, contributing to the development of Law.

NOVA School of Law integrates its main disciplinary areas and research teams in CEDIS. NOVA School of Law’s research policy, consistent with the mission of NOVA University of Lisbon, privileges multidisciplinary, transversality, and internationalization.

Research activities are organized into research groups and centres, and focus on scientific fields ranging from the relationship between Law and History, Law and Social Sciences, Economics and Governance of the Sea, Human Rights and Business, International Law and European Union, Law and New Technologies, Equality Law, and Law and Security, to topics such as Environment and Sustainability, Mobility, Digital Economy, Space, Biotechnology or Artificial Intelligence.

The research strategy is aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the European Union’s strategic priorities, and aims to contribute to raising the quality of scientific production with an impact on public policies and society.

Through the Research Support Office, CEDIS:

  • Informs its members weekly of national and international funding opportunities;
  • Supports the preparation and submission of applications and projects;
  • Collaborates in the constitution of consortia and partnerships and in the preparation of the respective documents;
  • Supports the administrative and financial management of ongoing projects;
  • Finances missions, in the country and abroad, to present research works;
  • Supports the acquisition of goods and services relevant to the scientific production of its members;
  • Promotes the dissemination of the scientific production of its members.