The main mission of the School of Life and Environmental Sciences (ECVA) is the continuous performance of teaching, research, transfer of science & technology, and cultural dissemination tasks, as well as the provision of specialised services. It comprises the departments of Biology and the Environment; Sports Exercise and Health; Genetics and Biotechnology; Geology; and Chemistry.

The educational opportunities its departments provide are therefore very comprehensive, attracting students from the biology-, food- and environment-related sciences to sports sciences.

The teachers of the School work in four research centres financed by the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT): Vila Real Centre of Chemistry (CQ-VR), Centre for Genomics and Biotechnology (IBB-Associated Laboratory), Centre for Research in Sports, Health and Human Development (CIDESD) and Centre for Research in Agro-environmental and Biological Technologies (CITAB), together with researchers from other schools and institutions.