Focus Areas

Ever since first engaging in activities in the 1950s, the Foundation has responded to the most fundamental needs of Portuguese society across its four statutory fields of activity: Art, Charity, Education and Science

In keeping with the progressive development of the country, the Foundation’s role has been redefined: the priorities are no longer only Portuguese or those of Portuguese language countries and now fall within an international framework and interrelated with global questions such as intercultural dialogue, migrations and mobility and the environment. This context reflects the background to the currently established Gulbenkian Programmes as well as the projects and initiatives undertaken by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation whether directly or in partnership with other entities and impacting on the themes prevailing in contemporary society through seeking out innovative responses to the problems the world currently faces.

The Foundation engages in a transversal approach spanning five fields of activity: Arts, Education,Science, Social Development and Global Initiatives.


Museums, Music, Reflection and Contemporary Creativity

In addition to the permanent Collections of the Calouste Gulbenkian Museums – The Founder’s Collection and the Modern Collection – exhibitions and the performances featuring in the Gulbenkian Music season and in which the Gulbenkian Orchestra and Choir always play a central role, the Foundation also carries out a diverse range of other activities interconnected with the Arts and both directly and indirectly: temporary exhibitions, speeches and conferences, awarding of grants and subsidies, training programmes, the Vasco Vilalva Prize (for heritage renovation and restoration), publishing books and running education based activities represent some of the Foundation’s initiatives ongoing in this field.

The Music Service, the Museum, the Art Library and the Gulbenkian Portuguese Language and Culture Programme, alongside the delegations in the United Kingdom and France, provide the key means of implementing these activities.


Qualifying New Generations, Educating for Culture and Science, Fostering Portuguese Language and Culture, Gulbenkian Grants

Contributing to both the development of education in Portugal and to the debate on progress in education around the world, both within the framework of schools and the broader context of societies, make up some of the key guidelines for Foundation actions in the field of education. Beyond the innumerable study grants awarded annually through Gulbenkian Grants, the Foundation renders support to projects and activities enabling lifelong learning and the acquisition of new skills, competences and knowledge and making education and training systems more effective.

The New Generation Qualifications Programme, the Gulbenkian Portuguese Language and Culture Programme, Descobrir – Education for Culture and Science and the Art Library collectively structure the implementation of these activities.


Innovating in Health, Educating for Culture and Science, Qualifying New Generations, the Gulbenkian Science Institute

Fostering health as a global public good, contributing to raising professional qualifications and enhancing the human dimension to healthcare provision, stimulating creativity and quality in scientific practices, strengthening the interconnections between science and culture and between science and society while also promoting biomedical research and training new scientific leaders represent some of the core objectives of Foundation actions in the field of Science.

The Gulbenkian Innovating Health Programme, Descobrir – Education  for Culture and Science and the Gulbenkian Science Institute are the main tools of implementation in this field.


Development Partnerships, Human Development, Active Citizenship

At the national level, providing incentives and facilitating the inclusion of vulnerable groups in the population (the Elderly, at Risk Children and Young Persons, Migrants and Persons with Disabilities) through the empowerment of people and organisations, promoting and experimenting with innovative solutions; At the international level, especially in the PALOPs – the Portuguese Language Speaking Countries in Africa and East Timor, strengthening the capacities of people and institutions in key areas of development establish the main guidelines to Foundation actions in the development field.

The Gulbenkian Human Development Programme, the Gulbenkian Partnerships for Development Programme, the Active Citizenship Programme and the Foundation Delegation in the United Kingdom represent the main means of undertaking these actions.


Armenian Communities, Oceans

Supporting and encouraging the creation of new, contemporary Armenian Culture; reflecting and fostering new capacities for confronting issues related to the Oceans.



2015 Highlights


Updated on 26 July 2017