R&D Institutions

Resultado da avaliação 2007 na área de Ambiente

Unidade de I&D

Laboratório de Sistemas, Instrumentação e Modelação em Ciências e Tecnologias do Ambiente e do Espaço - SIM [ENVS-LVT-Lisboa-4006] visitada em 27/01/2009

Classificação: Very Good

Comentários do painel de avaliação
Sobre a unidade
This Unit is strongly integrated with national and international research groups such as the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). However, the level of integration of the two separate Groups, who have markedly different research interests, was not clear to the Panel. This may be partly because this is the first evaluation for this Unit which, therefore, has been hindered from recruiting research students to operate in the important scientific area which both Groups share in common - using space imaging to assess planetary environments. This situation might also be complicated by the Unit's commitments as an Associated Laboratory. We note that the group is well organised. We fully expect this Unit to expand and such expansion will help them meet their goals. However, we have genuine concerns about the long term sustainability of a Unit with two such diverse Groups, unless the expansion is used to consolidate areas of common interest.

The management is informal, with the Unit being cemented by their team leader. It would be advisable establish a more formal structure, and particularly to plan future strategies for growth.

The space facilities are limited and not of high quality.

Recommendations to the Unit
The Panel understand that the Unit wishes to become more integrated and we advise them to make efforts to achieve this. The development of common areas of research and gaining access to better quality space should be priorities.

The Unit is commended for its work in producing space imaging equipment and supporting software to the highest international standards and for their high rate of publication in international ISI journals.

We would grade this Unit as Very Good. This is a Unit in which most groups did high quality international research which lead to some contributions to the field and the remaining did good, solid research at international level leading to incremental contributions to their fields. The standing of the Unit would be enhanced if original Climate Change research were performed at the interface between the two Groups.
Sobre os grupos de investigação
Impactos, Adaptação e Mitigação das Alterações Climáticas [RG-ENVS-LVT-Lisboa-4006-224]
This was a small-sized group of researchers, established in 2005 and renewed for the 2007 – 2010 period.

Focus, Relevance and Feasibility of the Research Aims
The general research focus is on climate change and consequences, as the group aims to be the national leader on that topic. Specific foci are diverse (for example: physics; coastal land management; health; energy policy etc). These are very topical research areas in the Earth Science which might have been expected to lead to major contributions to knowledge and understanding at national level and significant contributions at international level. The scientific relevance of the research group may be considered high.

Productivity (including evidence of international levels of attainment)
For its size, the group achieved a very good level of productivity in terms of publications. Before 2007 the following products were delivered: 5 papers in scientific journals, 2 books, 5 chapters in national and international books. Moreover, during the 2005 -2007 period, the research group has organized 3 national and 5 international conferences.

Only 1MSc thesis was completed in the review period (2005), suggesting that the group provided a relatively poor research training environment.

Overall Perspective
The group’s overall achievements met expectations, with significant indications of the impact and relevance of this work at international level. Based on work already completed, the Group has demonstrated that it has the capability to develop high standard research projects and thereby make positive impacts in the international scientific and socio-economic context. However the number of researchers seems too low when measured against the volume of current and proposed activities. Some convergence could also be encouraged with the Unit 263, within the Faculdade de Ciências (Lisboa).
Instrumentação e Computação para Observações Espaciais [RG-ENVS-LVT-Lisboa-4006-223]
This is a medium-sized group of staff and researchers that was formed in 2005.

Focus, Relevance and Feasibility of the Research Aims
The specific research focus is instrumentation, computing and data acquisition for environmental and space sciences. These are very topical research areas which are expected to lead to significant contributions to knowledge and understanding at national level and major contributions at international level.

Productivity (including evidence of international levels of attainment)
For its size, the group is achieving a very high level of productivity in terms of publications in peer-reviewed international journals and in deliverables for international collaborative projects.

The group is commended for designing, building and testing the CAMCAO infrared high resolution camera for the European Southern Observatory (ESO) and for developing the TIDB data handling framework that is being used at CERN and evaluated at the European Centre for Medium Term Weather Forecasting (ECMWF). These provide very clear evidence of the international standing of this group.

2 MSc projects completed to 2006 together with the large number of MSc and PhD students undertaking projects indicates that the group is providing a very good research training environment.

Overall Perspective
The groups overall achievements have exceeded expectations with major indications of the impact and relevance of this work at international level. Future plans and objectives are very well developed, and ambitious and will lead to outcomes of international relevance and importance. We recommend continued expansion of this group.