The Foundation promotes a wide range of programmes and projects that contribute to overcoming particular needs in contemporary society and seek innovative responses to problems in the current world.

In its 60th year of existence (1956-2016), the Gulbenkian Foundation continues to promote and support projects, whether of a scientific, educational or artistic nature, as well as awarding subsidies and study grants for training and education both in Portugal and internationally.

Through reflecting on the themes of contemporary society, the Gulbenkian Programs and Initiatives strive for innovative responses to the problems currently faced by the world: inequality and social inclusion; education and training; healthcare; the capacities of civil society organisations; the sustainability of the oceans and cities in the global economy.
The Foundation also backs projects in support of both the development of Portuguese speaking African countries and East Timor and Portuguese culture internationally.

With delegations in Paris and London, the Foundation furthermore contributes to scientific research through its researchers of excellence, drawn from all around the world, dedicated to biology and biomedicine at the Gulbenkian Institute of Science in Oeiras.