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FCTUC

Activities 2003-2014

Evaluation 2003-2007

Apresentação dos resultados da avaliação da Unidades de I&D

Resultado Global da Unidade:

Good

Financiamento Base Anual:

€ 88.000,00

Constituição do Painel de Avaliação e comentários relativos à unidade:
Centro de Geociências (EASP-Centro-Coimbra-73)

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  • 1. Comentários:

  • The report of the evaluation panel was much appreciated and the comments presented are considered quite valuable and essential for the future research of the unit. Despite that, the clarification of several aspects would be advisable.

    A) - The panel refers in vague terms the high quality of some research work developed. The unit considers that the improvement of the research would benefit with a more detailed analysis of the work developed.

    B) - In the evaluation report, the main weakness pointed to the unit is related with deficiencies that can be attributed to the host institution. Quoting the report “The facilities in general do not meet established norms and we advise that the Unit negotiate with the Faculty to seek improvement. The Unit as a whole needs to acquire funding for technical support and equipment.”

    The unit agrees with those remarks and would like to overcome several difficulties like the following ones:

    - The host institution (FCTUC) has denied or obstructing the adequation of the laboratory infrastructures, even when there is no financial charges to the institution;

    - The host institution frequently does not liberate in time the founding created by the research activities, without plausible reasons, creating serious difficulties to de developments of the planned research.

    - The host institution has not been sensible to a proper curator and valorization of reference fossil collection - “…internationally important material that should be integrated into an internationalization strategy”. Nevertheless, a reference paleontological data base was produced and is available on line for international use (http://www.dct.uc.pt/labpaleont/pagelab_ENG.html), managed by the researchers responsible for the research work, managing the paleontological fossil collections stored in the Paleontology Laboratory of the Earth Science Department.

    C) Considering that:

    - the panel comments to the unit performance and to the individual groups were quite positive, and that the “unit is producing good, solid and worthy science in many areas”;

    - most of unit´s drawbacks, pointed in the Report, are closely related to institutional deficiencies and obstacles of the host institution;

    D) The Research Unit 73 “Centro de Geociências” requires the revision of the unit’s classification, and its improvement to a “Very Good” grade.

  • 2. Pretende que o seu comentário seja tornado público conjuntamente com o Relatório de Avaliação do Painel? SIM / NÃO

Unit Name: Centro de Geociências (EASP-Centro-Coimbra-73)

Evaluation Panel (Unidade I&D visitada em: 02-02-2009)

  • (c) Paul D. Ryan
  • (r) Francesco Dramis
  • (r) John G. Farmer
  • (r) Andrew Rankin
  • (r) C. Mary R. Fowler
  • (r) Francis Meilliez
  • (r) David A. T. Harper

Legenda: (c) Coordinator; (r) Reviewer

General Comments*

Overview

This is a large and long established Unit with many continuing projects which they wish to maintain. The Unit is producing good, solid and worthy science in many areas. Whilst there is considerable potential in some areas, realisation of such potential may be hindered by the lack of an internationalisation strategy, particularly in the more applied areas. We recognise that the Unit is developing a strategic plan for future development but would council that as part of this strategy the Unit needs to reflect on the balance between satisfying their national goals and the FCT required internationalisation of research. The Assessors still found that individual groups showed considerable variation in their perception of the requirements for internationalisation.

Management

The Unit has a clear management structure. However, management should continue to work on high level strategic planning and support for research for this Unit.

Facilities

The facilities in general do not meet established norms and we advise that the Unit negotiate with the Faculty to seek improvement. The Unit as a whole needs to acquire funding for technical support and equipment.

Recommendations to the Unit

The Assessors were not clear about the role of the Museum within the research framework. However, we see this as an asset capable of development in terms of a repository for collections and exhibitions of internationally important material that should be integrated into an internationalisation strategy. We strongly recommend that the Unit undertake a further strategic planning exercise to identify clear future goals. We would also recommend the establishment of a seminar series as part of a graduate training programme.

Commendations

We commend the good exposure of research students to external agencies during their training. We would also like to recognise the relevance to society of some of the research conducted as evidenced by high levels of external funding obtained for applied research.

Conclusions

We would currently grade this Unit as Good. It is a Unit in which one or few groups did high quality international research which leads to some contributions to the field while most groups did good, solid research at international level leading to incremental contributions to the field. We believe the Unit can improve by concentrating on those areas with considerable potential for internationalisation.

Specific Group Comments*

  • [RG-EASP-LVT-Tomar-73-818] Quaternary and Prehistory

  • Introduction

    This is a very large, active, relatively well funded group. It is noted that the group has been renewed for the 2007-2010 period after a previous 2003-2006 cycle.

    Focus, Relevance and Feasibility of the Research Aims

    The specific research focus is geoarchaeology. This is an established research area in the Earth Sciences which is expected to lead to significant contributions to knowledge and understanding at the national and international levels. In particular the group is developing the theme of human adaptations to environment particularly in the Tagus Valley and West Africa. These are exciting topics in areas of great interest that are commended and can be developed as a focus for onsite and international outreach whereas the collections and databases provide a strong museum component to the research. The development of the programme to include also luminescence dating, a rock-art database and the study of artefacts within the frame of the spread of agriculture should yield exciting results as will studies of hominids from the Naboa Valley. Much of the work is developed within the wider context of the prehistory and rupestrial art of the Iberian Peninsula. It is, however, recommended that the group tries to establish a better global profile through the international publication of its results.

    Productivity (including evidence of international levels of attainment)

    During its previous period of activity, the group achieved a high level of productivity in terms of publications but, as is common in the archaeological sciences, none of these is in peer-reviewed international journals. In addition the group has hosted nine conferences and developed various databases.

    Training

    Completion of 1 PhD and 8 MSc projects (some of which were developed within an international context), in the previous period of activity, and a number of international research-education programmes indicate that the group hosts a very good research training environment.

    Overall Perspective

    This newly structured group is based on a previous group whose overall achievements and potential met expectations with some indications of the impact and relevance of this work at international level. Future plans and objectives are reasonable and realistic. The proposed work may lead to outcomes of international relevance and importance.

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  • [RG-EASP-Centro-Coimbra-73-853] Sedimentary Geology and Fossil Record

  • Introduction

    This is a large, relatively active group, well funded, studying a dispersed variety of topics within the broad frame of the stratigraphic record, to continue during the 2007-2010 period following its 2003-2006 cycle.

    Focus, Relevance and Feasibility of the Research Aims

    This group has a strong focus on palaeontology having made some important advances in the areas of Ordovician-Silurian stratigraphy and faunas, Jurassic biostratigraphy and geoconservation. The giant trilobites of Arouca have already created international interest in the geology of Portugal; this initiative and the further development of such onsite museums and parks are commended. Although the group is split between the Ordovician-Silurian and Jurassic, it is linked by competent biostratigraphy and systematic research. The future programme will develop models for the Early Palaeozoic of the Iberia (a key peri-Gondwana set of terranes) a greater degree of international networking and publication of results in front-line journals is recommended. Similarly Jurassic bioevents in for example the Lusitania Basin (that is already the site of important global stratotypes) can be developed within a more global framework. The track-record of outreach within the group is good and promises further internationally-important results.

    Productivity (including evidence of international levels of attainment)

    The group has demonstrated a good level of productivity, including the establishment of new fossil taxa, some eight publications (three international), locally published books and book chapters, seven conferences and two contracts with PETROBAS. The work of the group with the international subcommissions on stratigraphy and the Year of Planet Earth is commended.

    Training

    The group has demonstrated a good training environment with a number of students (1PhD and 3MSc), and some graduate programmes and training networks together with strong graduate links with the hydrocarbon industry.

    Overall Perspective

    The group’s overall achievements have met expectations with some indications of the impact and relevance of this work at international level. Future plans and objectives are reasonable and realistic.

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  • [RG-EASP-Centro-Coimbra-73-1269] GeoTechnology

  • Introduction

    This is a medium-sized group of staff, PhD and non PhD researchers. It is noted that the group has been established for the 2003-2010 period.

    Focus, Relevance and Feasibility of the Research Aims

    The specific research focus is on applied geoscience. This is a topical research area in the Earth Science which would be expected to lead to significant contributions to knowledge and understanding at the national and international levels. The group has carried out research in Portugal and in different foreign countries.

    Productivity (including evidence of international levels of attainment)

    For its size, the group has achieved a high level of productivity in terms of publications. Many of these are in peer-reviewed international journals.

    Training

    4 PhD and 7 MSc projects, completed in the review period evidence the group provide a very good research training environment.

    Overall Perspective

    The group’s overall achievements have met expectations with significant indications of the impact and relevance of its work at international level. Future plans and objectives are well developed and realistic and will lead to outcome of international relevance and importance.

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  • [RG-EASP-Centro-Coimbra-73-1765] Geochemistry

  • Introduction

    This is a medium-sized group of researchers that continued in existence after completion of the 2003-2006 period.

    Focus, Relevance and Feasibility of the Research Aims

    The general research focus has been on the geochemistry of granitic rocks, associated ore deposits and their environmental impacts, e.g. abandoned metal mine workings upon soils, stream sediments and waters. The main focus of the research effort, however, has been in established areas of the geology, mineralogy, geochemistry and petrology of granitic rocks and the geochemistry of granitic pegmatites and hydrothermal ore deposits. This has led to significant contributions to knowledge and understanding at national level and some contributions at international level. The evolving research programme, however, will place more emphasis upon environmental impacts, including studies of atmospheric pollution, although there is concern over shortage of financial resources to pay for technical support and small basic items of equipment in the chemistry laboratory.

    Productivity (including evidence of international levels of attainment)

    For its size, the group has achieved a moderate to high level of productivity in terms of publications and reports. The publications are increasingly in peer-reviewed international journals, such as Lithos and Applied Geochemistry, the eight peer-reviewed papers in international journals over the 2003-2007 period being supplemented by the same number in 2008. The number of presentations at international congresses has been high and there has been good interaction with the European Commission.

    Training

    The group provides a good research training environment, evident from 2 PhD and 9 MSc theses completed over the 2003-2007 period and the current crop of 6 PhD and 5 MSc students. The group is to be commended for its policy of placing its PhD students in collaborating international laboratories for short periods to gather analytical data of a specialised nature.

    Overall Perspective

    This group is well organised and its overall achievements have met expectations with some indication of the impact and relevance of this work at international level. Including the increased emphasis upon environmental impact investigations, the group’s future plans and objectives are well developed and more ambitious. Provided that its internal laboratory financing difficulties can be resolved, the group’s work is likely to lead to outcomes of greater international relevance and importance. In order to enhance its financial support beyond that from FCT, the group is encouraged to develop partnerships with mining companies and/or local authorities for environmental mitigation topics.