This volume of papers and essays contains reflections and discussions on the current situation and future perspectives of the Portuguese economy. The dominant issues faced by the authors regard Growth and Productivity, External imbalances, Health and Social Security. Each topic is addressed by a Portuguese economist together with his international counterpart. The result is a fascinating blend of rigor and policy advice. The papers included in this volume were presented at the conference «Challenges ahead for the Portuguese Economy» held in Lisbon on the 15th and 16th of December 2006. This conference is part of the history of «MIT Missions» to Portugal that were designed around 1974 by Jose da Silva Lopes, who was at that time Governor of the Bank of Portugal, and Richard Eckaus, Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The original scope of the missions was to use economic knowledge to improve conditions in the country. The current volume follows the original spirit and provides an informal channel for the academic profession to affect policy decisions seriously.