R&D Institutions

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

Unidade de I&D

Centro de Investigação em Ciência e Engenharia Geológica (CICEGe) [EASP-LVT-Almada-4073] visitada em 26/01/2009

Classificação: Good

Comentários do painel de avaliação
Sobre a unidade
The reviewers found this a very open and responsive Unit who supplied detailed information on their activities. The Assessment Panel was grateful for their frankness. The graduate students were satisfied with the level of training they were receiving. The future possibility of attracting students from elsewhere, e.g. Spain, is noted. Some of the groups within the Unit are conducting research which is respected at the national level, whilst one Group has international visibility. The Panel feel that this Unit as a whole has yet to appreciate where it stands in an international context. Perhaps because there are two different research cultures within the Group: an applied research component that underpins the teaching programmes and earns funding from the University; and a pure research palaeo-stratigraphy component that has some international visibility. We recommend that the Unit as a whole engage in a planning exercise by initially examining its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT analysis) with a view to developing a Strategic Plan to both improve its international visibility and to present themselves as a more united whole.

The Unit has a solid management structure which should provide a platform to enable them to develop a more strategic view.

The laboratory facilities were adequate, although the Unit expressed the need for a new SEM (Scanning Electron Microsope) to replace the 20 year old facility. It is the view of the Panel that such expensive equipment, both in terms of acquisition and running costs should be justified and provided on a Faculty rather than a Departmental basis. The groups within the Unit have requested a significant list of other laboratory and information technology equipment, suggesting a shortage of modern equipment. We also note that the Unit needs flexibility in establishing the balance of support staff as there seems to be a shortage of technical expertise.

Advice to Unit
To improve the impact of the applied research the Unit needs to actively pursue sources of funding from industry. This may be achieved by inviting external advisors from both national and international industries. A better publication strategy is needed to promote the international visibility of the classical and globally-important stratigraphic sections worked on by members of the Unit. Such sections represent a resource of international scientific importance and which should be fully exploited.

The assessors wish to commend the work on the systematic treatment of the new dinosaur material and the high resolution Neogene stratigraphy.

The assessors understand the conflict between the demands of teaching, pure and applied research but strongly recommend that the Unit, with support from the Faculty resolve this issue by making a strategic plan based on their strengths. We are concerned with the current lack of a definitive strategic plan to unify and strengthen the various themes within the Unit and would place the Unit near, but above, the Good/Fair border. The Panel, therefore, grade this Unit as 'Good' in that we find that 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.
Sobre os grupos de investigação
A1 [RG-EASP-LVT-Almada-4073-198]
This is a medium-sized, very well-funded, active group developing a very diverse applied programme, highly relevant to local and regional environmental, mining, quarrying and waste problems.

Focus, Relevance and Feasibility of the Research Aims
The group has a strong focus on applied geology with a number of programmes reacting to the needs of industry, reflected in the high levels of external funding. Achievements in this cycle include investigations of the biostratigraphy of the Jurassic of the Lusitania Basin using ammonites and nanofossils, Mesozoic magmatic events, modelling the Algarve Basin, GIS mapping of the Mesozoic and Cenozoic rocks and a variety of engineering geology phenomena, important at a national level, such as rockfall and slope failures together with aquifers, coastal, soil and groundwater studies. Future directions will include evaluation of resources, basin analysis, hazard and risk assessments.

Productivity (including evidence of international levels of attainment)
The group has demonstrated moderate productivity, publishing books and book chapters in addition to papers and shorter contributions and undertook ca. 20 applied contracts. A few papers were published in international journals and the group demonstrated good international activity through collaboration, conferences and international networks. The group is commended for their strong links with industry, engagement in geological mapping programmes and focused research on the Toarcian Global Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP) in the Lusitania Basin.

The group has a good training environment having completed some projects (2PhD and 1MSc in the review period) and produced new outreach and MSc programmes.

Overall Perspective
The group’s overall achievements have met expectations and show some indication of the impact and relevance of this work at an international level.
B1 [RG-EASP-LVT-Almada-4073-523]
This is a large, modestly funded, active group with a well-focused research programme on the Cenozoic basins of the Western Algarve and Lower Tagus; Late Jurassic dinosaurs, the End-Cretaceous extinction event and Early Cenozoic recovery; Pliocene aquifers.

Focus, Relevance and Feasibility of the Research Aims
Achievements during this phase include new dinosaurs from the Upper Jurassic, reptiles from Angola, Neogene mammals from Lisbon and recognition of the Messinian in the Algarve. Future research will include new investigations of Cretaceous and Neogene fossil sites, continued search for new dinosaurs in Portugal and Angola together with the palaeoanthropology of Islamic sites and aspects of the history of science. A stronger international focus and outreach on the interesting array of marine and terrestrial facies in the Lisbon Basin is recommended as is sustained research on more global aspects of correlation of the Miocene.

Productivity (including evidence of international levels of attainment)
The group has demonstrated good productivity with some ten papers in international journals noted (although mainly focused on two researchers), together with conference proceedings and good international activity through collaboration and networks. The group is commended for its publications on dinosaur and mammal taxonomy and the continued development of this research in a more global ecological and phylogenetic context is recommended.

The completion of 3 PhD and 2 MSc projects in the review period is evidence the group provides a good training environment.

Overall Perspective
The group’s overall achievements have met expectations with a number of indications of the impact and relevance of this work at international level.
B2 [RG-EASP-LVT-Almada-4073-535]
This is a small 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 general research focus is on geomaterials, with specific application to rock degradation, dimension stone and cultural heritage. This is a topical research area in the Earth Sciences which would 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 moderate level of productivity in terms of publications.
Since its constitution in 2003, the group has produced 3 papers on ISI journals, 7 articles in conference proceedings, and 1 book.

1 PhD has been completed in the review period (2003); the group provides a low research training environment.

Overall Perspective
The group 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 may lead to outcome of international relevance and importance. But the group has to trigger a better research training environment.