The Institute for the Study of Traditional Literature (IELT) was recognised by FCT in 2003 as a research unit dedicated to the collection, fixation and study of traditional and oral literature. In 2015, it was refunded (FCT classification: Very Good), giving rise to the Institute for the Study of Literature and Tradition – Heritage, Arts and Cultures, whose identity, scope and mission were reconfigured with the integration of the Centre for the Study of the Literary Imaginary and the Laboratory of Advanced Literary Studies.
From this confluence results a scientific project unique on the map of Portuguese research: the study of literature in its complex, multi-faceted and multidirectional relationship with tradition, understood not as static memory or dead archive, but as a vast reservoir of forms, images, figures, structures, senses and experiences that participate in the construction and in the repeated transformation of cultural, poetic and artistic identities.
In this perspective, claiming the decisive importance of the literary phenomenon within a broad and interdisciplinary reflection on tradition and cultural identities, IELT favours:
1. The study of literature with memoristic record and oral transmission and its persistence in the formation, consolidation and dissemination of identity, cultural and literary matrices;
2. The importance of symbolic processes in the formation of cultural, literary and artistic imaginaries;
3. The study of the relationships between literary and artistic modernity, memory and tradition, as well as the status of literary modernity as the creative epicentre of literary traditions;
4. The study of literature as an unfolding and expansive space through its intersemiotic and dialogic dimensions;
5. The archive as a space of confluence between memory, tradition and reinvention.
IELT is structured in three research axes that allow the interaction between literature and tradition from a theoretical and applied perspective: Intangible heritage and symbolic imaginary; Literary tradition, texts, arts, theories; Spatialities of literature, arts and culture.
Each axis is materialized in research projects (ongoing or to be developed) in the scope of IELT’s scientific and strategic project. This organization allows:
A) To encourage the integration of PhDs and research fellows in the research lines, groups and projects;
B) To promote the mobility of researchers between research lines and projects, as well as cooperation between research units;
C) To reinforce the cohesion between research lines and post-graduate study programmes, in cooperation with the training offer of the departments;
In order to streamline communication between all parts of IELT structure and to give greater visibility/impact to its activities, the research unit also has scientific, management and communication structures, responsible for the organising, promoting and monitoring the following areas:
A) Integration and advanced training of PhD  and post-doctoral students;
B) Edition of scientific and periodical publications privileging an open access policy ;
C) Transmission of knowledge through pedagogical activities (free courses, summer school, research seminars, curricular units for the 3 cycles offered in cooperation with the departments, lectures, colloquia, congresses and activities in partnership with cultural institutions);
D) Hosting of Exploratory Research Projects;
E) Internationalization through participation in international networks ;
F) Opening of short-term research scholarships (masters and PhD) in the scope of micro-financing programmes.
 IELT is currently associated with the following doctoral programmes: PhD in Portuguese Studies; PhD in Modern Languages and Literatures; PhD in Anthropology: Politics and Displays of Culture and Museology; PhD in Medieval Studies (e-learning). The integration of doctoral students in IELT’s activities is ensured since 2016 by the Doctoral Students Seminar organized by the students themselves with the direction of the Research Unit.
 In addition to a set of publications in ebook format, IELT offers three digital periodicals that favor an interdisciplinary approach to literature and tradition: Cadernos do CEIL – Revista Multidisciplinar de Estudos sobre o Imaginário [ISSN 1647 – 7715]: http://ielt.fcsh.unl.pt/pt/cadernos-ceil; MEMORIAMEDIA Review. Intangible Cultural [ISSN 2183 3753]: http://review.memoriamedia.net; Estranhar Pessoa: http://estranharpessoa.com/revista [ISSN 2183-4075];
 BRASPOR, CRI2i, RIUL, Fábula Numerica.