FCT

R&D Institutions

Resultado da avaliação 2007 na área de Ciências do Mar

Unidade de I&D

Centro de Ambiente e Tecnologia Marítimos - MARETEC [MAR-LVT-Lisboa-516] visitada em 17/01/2008

Classificação: Very Good

Comentários do painel de avaliação
Sobre a unidade
The evolution of this unit was very positive, with one group better than very good and one group better than good. The unit is very active and successfully involved in several European projects. The reviewers recognized the remarkable productivity of the unit with regard to extension work but raised questions about the productivity of the unit in terms of publications. The reviewers also asked questions about the source of funding for the students and about extra time connected to funding that are required to complete their degrees. Other questions related to the exact nature of collaborations with different industry partners.
Sobre os grupos de investigação
Marine Environnent [RG-MAR-LVT-Lisboa-516-2572]
This group has shown remarkable productivity with regard to technology transfer. MOHID is used by. 1,000 researcher from .70 countries worldwide and is considered to be one of Europe’s top estuarine models. The score was reduced from the top category because the publication record was not outstanding, and there was a number of publications submitted but not published. In addition the full documentation of MOHID was not yet publicly available.
This group received top score for relevance because the work has great significance internationally. The world’s coastal zones, particularly estuaries and the land-sea interface, are highly stressed. The research by this group is actively used by other members of the research community within Portugal and other parts of the world. Neves is highly respected as an international authority.
This group received a top score for feasibility because of the proven track record with this technology. The large number of contracts from the private sector that are given to this group attests to their ability to deliver on results. Thus the group has shown an outstanding capacity to transform interesting ideas into practical projects at the international level.
The committee was impressed by the large number of PhD students being produced by this small group of scientists but it also had several serious concerns. First, it felt that few students were receiving outside training through international exchanges. Second, it was concerned by the extra year that graduate students were required to take before completing their degrees. This extra year was due to contract work undertaken by students to help fund their research. Thus, students at this group were finding it more advantageous to fund their activities by conducting contract work in the private sector as opposed to applying for scholarships with FCT. We understood that many students did not apply to FCT for funding because there were too many constraints and obstacles as compared to other sources of funding.
A strong group that only needs to revisit its approach to training of graduate students.
Marine Technology [RG-MAR-LVT-Lisboa-516-2075]
Comments by Cristina Amon – Coordinator of Mechanical Engineering panel

The research and development at MARETEC involves two main areas Wave Energy and Ship Dynamics. Even though at first glance it may appear two disjoint units, the commonality is the development and utilization of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) as the research tools. In addition, there is the strong possibility to grow the synergistic interactions between both units.

The Wave Energy thrust has the objectives of: a) advancing scientific research by combining numerical and experimental approaches and, b) developing wave energy devices and evaluating their performance for energy extraction from sea waves.

On important outcome from the prior period 2003-06 has been the creation of the Wave Energy Centre, which is a private non-profit organization with the goal of providing technical support to companies to generate wave energy, to train high-tech researchers with knowledge in wave energy devices and to develop policies for Portugal and the EU.

The Ship Dynamics thrust has focused mainly on the development of CFD numerical codes for the prediction of propulsion and resistance in ship viscous flows. This work has been performed in collaboration with MARIN in the Netherlands. This is also an important area for Portugal given its long tradition in ship and naval engineering.

The group has had a solid productivity in terms of journal publications, though a low number of citations, with a modest number of 5 PhD researchers and the outcome of several MS and PhD thesis completed. More importantly, the group has been an active participant in organizing conferences and workshops and member of scientific committees in Europe and the USA. It has also carried out collaborations and contract work with industries, and this may explain some of the issues related to modest journal publications outcomes. It appears that the vast majority of the research funding has come from European projects. There is one pending proposal of the order of 75,000 Euros per year to develop wave energy converters for several companies. The outcome of this pending proposal would be an additional indication of the support and interest from the industry.

Wave energy generation is a relevant and promising area of renewable energy. It is also one area identified by the government as of strategic importance due to its possible contribution to energy generation and security, and an area which also enables Portugal to take the lead in European Union projects. It is also relevant to address societal and global energy challenges more so at this historical time than ever. The role of the Centre in developing research codes and providing technical support to industries is critical as well as creating the knowledgably workforce to then migrate to the industry. It is therefore important to continue nurturing and assisting its development. Most of the funding to date has been provided by EU and private enterprises.

The integration of numerical modelling with engineering analysis processes and data monitoring provides a strong platform for research opportunities in marine environment and contributions toward the effective exploitation of wave energy resources. The plan to move forward looks good as well as the goal to continuing assisting companies with the knowledge and expertise at MARETEC, which has and will continue to develop state-of-art numerical simulations including wave-structure interaction.