Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa (SCML) is an institution which, throughout more than five centuries, has worked together with the community and based its actions on the defence of invaluable social values, with a strong focus on respect and promotion of good causes.
Known as the first Portuguese Misericórdia, it was created by Queen Leonor, widow of King João II, and with total support from King Manuel I. The Queen founded a Brotherhood to invoke Our Lady of Misericórdia (Mercy), with “a hundred man with good reputation, sane spirit and an honest life”, committing to support the underprivileged, thus performing the “Works of Mercy”.
Nowadays SCML proceeds with its original mission, supporting the underprivileged, but throughout the centuries has widened its action, being pioneer in the search for new social responses.
When, in 2013, Santa Casa decided to invest in scientific research, this move was perceived as assuming a new level of social responses, focused on specific health issues, for which there was not yet appropriate responses. We can see this happening with initiatives such as the Santa Casa Neurosciences Awards that reward national scientific research in spinal cord injuries and neurodegenerative diseases related to ageing. Recently, in 2015, it has launched a research programme in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. This programme has significant differences, because this time, in a new approach, Santa Casa will not only be a funding institution but also a partner, in the sense that it will have its own research fellows allocated to the winning project.
In order to develop this area, Santa Casa, in 2014, implemented the Research & Development Team, to coordinate the Santa Casa Scientific Research resources. This team goals are the conception, the communication and implementation of resource management policies related to its own projects, intending to acquire knowledge and to develop skills that will enable solutions to the identified situations in Santa Casa operational areas.
Therefore, Santa Casa joined other partners to organise the First Spinal Cord Injury Iberian Symposium. This symposium will bring to Portugal some of the most influential scientists in this field.