CEPS is the only research centre in Portugal exclusively dedicated to the fields of Political Philosophy and Applied Ethics. It has more than twenty full members and several associated members, organized into two main research groups.

The Political Theory Group deals with normative and applied political philosophy, the critical theory tradition, and the history of political thought. The members of this group work on topics such as egalitarian justice, human rights, immigration and tolerance, universal basic income and property-owning democracy, democratic accountability and public interest, political rhetoric and populism, anarchism, and various issues in the history of political philosophy.

The Applied Ethics Group conducts research in matters of ethical theory that could affect the way we act. In particular, it focuses on how theoretical issues in population ethics and techno-science are important for real world decisions affecting future generations, such as our treatment of nonhuman animals, the environment, gender issues, resource prioritization, biomedical enhancement and breakthrough technologies.

The Centre is home to Ethics, Politics & Society, an international open-access peer-reviewed journal publishing high-quality contributions in the areas of the Centre's expertise.

The Centre also organizes a rich series of international events, among which are the Meetings on Ethics and Political Philosophy, the Summer School in Political Philosophy and Public Policy, the Colloquium in the History of Moral and Political Philosophy, and hosts a Research Seminar Program, a series of monthly meetings to discuss ongoing research by its members and papers presented by invited speakers.

The international panel of the Foundation for Science and Technology that evaluated the Centre graded its activities as “Very Good”.