FCT

R&D Institutions

Resultado da avaliação 2007 na área de Ciências da Terra e do Espaço

Unidade de I&D

Centro de Petrologia e Geoquímica [EASP-LVT-Lisboa-98] visitada em 03/02/2009

Classificação: Good

Comentários do painel de avaliação
Sobre a unidade
Overview
This medium sized Unit has three research Groups with different focuses: hydrogeology and hydrogeochemistry; cultural heritage of building stones; and environmental geochemistry. Much of the current research is of considerable local interest with some areas approaching international acclaim. An international conference was organised by the Unit during the assessment period. However, the productivity as a whole, especially in terms of international publications could be further improved. The arrival of a new international post-doctoral fellow should help in this regard. The Unit is well organised, has a clear and achievable strategy for the future and is advised by an external advisory committee. The Unit has responsibility for an impressive geological museum. The Unit has a clear strategy for post-graduate training, life long learning and outreach activities. The research students are pleased with the level of support they are given and are contributing to the Unit's international visibility, for example, by developing web pages.

Management
The Unit is well organised and is engaging in a strategic planning exercise advised by an external committee. It is clear that the future plans in some areas have considerable potential.

Facilities
In general the equipment is very good, including an impressive X-ray tomography system, a new
Atomic Absortion spectrophotometer and an X-ray diffraction system. There is a good library and an impressive Museum. However, other laboratory space is of poor quality.

Recommendation to the Unit
As viewed from an international perspective the Assessors do not see the logic of separate Units existing within IST that have a significant overlap in areas of research. We very strongly recommend that all Units consider amalgamation or a strategic alliance with a view to enhancing their international status.

Commendations
We commend the Unit's interest in developing the museum as an outreach activity, but question whether it will aid their internationalisation. The current staffing limits and the demands on staff time for curatorial duties, external income generation and fundamental research need to be assessed realistically. We also commend the Unit's ability to acquiring external income to support research and its ongoing planning process.

Conclusions
We rate the current status of the Unit as Good, mainly upon the present level of internationalisation. This 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 advise that this Unit talk with others in IST as united they would represent a considerable force.
Sobre os grupos de investigação
DECASTONE [RG-EASP-LVT-Lisboa-98-804]
Introduction
This is a moderate-sized group staff and other PhD level researchers. It is noted that the group has been active since 2003 and will continue its activities to 2010.

Focus, Relevance and Feasibility of the Research Aims
The general research focus is on cultural heritage of building stone through qualitative and quantitative studies of factors controlling their durability and decay. This is very topical research area at the interface between Earth Sciences, Materials Science and the Built Environment which has led to major contributions to knowledge and understanding at national level, and some contributions at international level.

Productivity (including evidence of international levels of attainment)
For its size, the group has achieved a moderate level of productivity in terms of publications. Some of these are in peer-reviewed international journals. But a significant number are in international conference proceedings, notably the proceedings of the 6th International Symposium on Conservation of Monuments in the Mediterranean Basin organised by the Group.

Training
1 PhD and 3 MSc projects completed in the review period is evidence that the group provides a good research training environment.

Overall Perspective
The group’s overall achievements have met expectations with significant indications of the impact and relevance of this work at international level. Future plans and objectives, including the commendable use of X-ray tomography and the development of NDTs, are well developed, realistic and likely to lead to outcomes of national and international relevance and importance.
ENVIGEO [RG-EASP-LVT-Lisboa-98-805]
Introduction
ENVIGEO (Environmental Geochemistry), the youngest group in CEPGIST, has grown from a medium-sized group to what is now a large group of researchers.

Focus, Relevance and Feasibility of the Research Aims
The general research focus of this environmental geochemistry research group is investigation of the environmental influence of various human activities: specifically, mining and abandoned mines, military training areas, urban industrial production etc. These are established research areas in Earth Science which would be expected to lead to significant contributions to knowledge and understanding at national level and some contributions at international level. Most of the work undertaken thus far, however, appears to be in response to specific queries and mainly of regional value. Nevertheless, with respect to the environmental impact of abandoned mining activities (e.g. uranium), a reasonably good start has been made and, in terms of research area choice, there is room for expansion in this area in terms of potential impact upon human health as well as efforts aimed at remediation. The Group also appears to have engaged with external research institutions/universities and mining companies, with funding secured for effects of contaminated irrigation water upon crops.

Productivity (including evidence of international levels of attainment)
For its size, the group has achieved a moderate level of productivity in terms of publications. These now include 4 papers in 2007 and 2008 in international peer-reviewed journals, Environmental Geology (2), Journal of Geochemical Exploration and Water, Air and Soil Pollution. There are also several other publications, many of them Conference/Workshop Proceedings, and predominantly concerned with the impact of mining (uranium, gold) operations.

Training
There is a reasonable research training environment, although only 1 PhD thesis appears to have been produced by the group over the review period.

Overall Perspective
The group’s overall achievements have probably been below expectations with limited, although improving, impact and relevance at international level. However, future plans and objectives are reasonable and realistic, and might lead to outcomes of increasing international relevance and importance.
WATERPROTECT [RG-EASP-LVT-Lisboa-98-797]
Introduction
This is a moderate-sized group of staff and other PhD level researchers. It is noted that the group has been active since 2003.

Focus, Relevance and Feasibility of the Research Aims
The general research focus is on hydrogeology and hydrogeochemistry in Portugal and the Azores) with special attention being paid to the urban environment. These are very topical research areas in the Earth Science which would be expected to lead to significant contributions to knowledge and understanding at national level and some contributions at international level. But, to date, significant contributions in both these areas have been limited.

Productivity (including evidence of international levels of attainment)
For its size, the group has achieved a low level of productivity in terms of publications. Few of these are in peer-reviewed international journals. Most of those listed are in Conference proceedings.

Training
Only 1 MSc projects completed in the review period is evidence that the group provide a very limited research training environment.

Overall Perspective
The group’s overall achievements have been below expectations with little indication of the impact and relevance of this work at international level. Future plans and objectives are somewhat unclear, unfocussed and unlikely to lead to outcomes of international relevance and importance. Reconfiguration and/or redirection of the group may help to define and focus its efforts more clearly.

Comentários da unidade

Exmo. Sr. Presidente da FCT,

A despeito da boa classificação geral que foi atribuida a este Centro, parece não haver coerência com a apreciação específica de um dos Sub-Projectos em que, por lapso, não foram contabilizadas publicações relevantes que eventualmente levariam à manutenção da classificação do Centro, que tem sido VERY GOOD.
Oportunamente será enviada a contestação fundamentada, elaborada pela Comissão Executiva deste Centro.

Com os melhores cumprimentos,

José Manuel Vaz Velho Barbosa Marques
Coordenador do CEPGIST