FCT

R&D Institutions

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

Unidade de I&D

Centro de Investigação em Ciências Geo-Espaciais (CICGE) [EASP-Norte-Porto-190] visitada em 28/01/2009

Classificação: Good

Comentários do painel de avaliação
Sobre a unidade
Overview
This moderate sized Unit concentrates mainly upon space science and the applications of image processing to environmental studies. The three Groups concentrate on different areas of the Earth Sciences: Satellite Positioning and Navigation, Radioastronomy and Reference Systems; Sea level change and ocean circulation studies from satellite altimetry and multi-sensor data; and Remote Sensing, Image Processing and GIS. The Unit has grown considerably in size over the review period and engages in both academic and applied research. There is a moderate to high level of research output at international level, individual members act as series editors for international publications and on international committees and international conferences have been organised. Whilst each group has a Principal Investigator it was not clear to the Panel that there was a strong management structure at the Unit level. Members of the Unit expressed concern that the current strategy of the University towards commercial developments could be improved. The students were satisfied with the level of supervision and facilities and felt that the strong commercial contacts of the Unit helped their employment prospects.

Management
Each Group has a Principal Investigator, however, there did not seem to be a motivation for strong management at the Unit level. The Unit as a whole did not present a clear strategic plan.

Facilities
The facilities are good.

Recommendations to the Unit
Attention should be given to developing an overall management strategy that may well assist in negotiations with the University about commercialisation of some of the Unit's products. A policy should be developed to maximise the impact factor of the publication venues used, especially in the computer science literature. A graduate training programme for Ph.D. students would help with the integration of a Unit with such diverse interests.

Commendations
The Unit is commended for their contribution to European projects, the level of international collaborations and their role in scientific administration at European level. We also note the recent award of the 2007 'Innovation in Agriculture Award sponsored by Syngenta AG, a large global agribusiness.

Conclusions
We assess the Unit as Good, with the clear potential to achieve the Very Good category. 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. Our main concern at present is the apparent lack of a coordinated strategy to integrate the various research lines, develop their research culture and to balance the requirements of academic and commercial research.
Sobre os grupos de investigação
Remote Sensing, Image Processing and GIS [RG-EASP-Norte-Porto-190-2350]
Introduction
This is a medium-sized group that was formed as a distinct entity during the assessment period and is carrying out multi-disciplinary work in basic and applied research.

Focus, Relevance and Feasibility of the Research Aims
The general research foci, which are on remote sensing, GIS and image processing systems have a wide range of applications. These are topical research areas in the Earth and Space Sciences which would be expected to lead to significant 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 high level of productivity in terms of publications. Many of these are in peer-reviewed international journals, primarily in the Springer Lecture Notes in Computer Science (removed from the ISI list in 2006) while the majority are in others appropriate for a such as international conference proceedings.

Evidence for international standing is apparent from such evidence as the positions of Dr. Marçal as Secretary General of the European Association of Remote Sensing Laboratories (EARSel) and Dr. Sillero, as Chairman of the Mapping Committee of the New European Atlas of Amphibians and Reptiles (Societas Herpetologica Europaea).

Training
The completion of 2 PhD and 12 MSc projects is evidence the group provide a very good research training environment.

Overall Perspective
Future plans and objectives are reasonable and realistic. The proposed work should lead to outcomes of international relevance and importance.
Satellite Positioning and Navigation, Radioastronomy and Reference Systems [RG-EASP-Norte-Porto-190-2288]
Introduction
This is a moderate-sized/large group which has grown over the assessment period.

Focus, Relevance and Feasibility of the Research Aims
The specific research focus is on satellite positioning and navigation and on radioastronomy. These are topical research areas which have led to some contributions to knowledge and understanding at national level and significant 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. Many of these are in peer-reviewed international journals, such as Space Science Reviews and Astrophysical Journal. However the group is advised to publish more of their GPS-related research in the internationally accessible literature.

The Group is commended for their development of software receivers for the future European Global European Satellite System, Galileo signals and for their ongoing European consortia projects and extensive series of international collaborations which provide clear evidence of their recognition in the international radioastronomy research community.

Training
2 PhD and 8 MSc projects completed in the review period is evidence that the group provides a good research training environment. Their maintenance of the Masters degree in Satellite Positioning and Navigation is noted.

Overall Perspective
The groups overall achievements have met expectations with significant indications of the impact and relevance of this work at international level. Future plans and objectives are well developed and realistic and will lead to outcomes of international relevance and importance.
Sea level change and ocean circulation studies from satellite altimetry and multi-sensor data [RG-EASP-Norte-Porto-190-2349]
Introduction
This is a moderate-sized group that has grown substantially over the assessment period.

Focus, Relevance and Feasibility of the Research Aims
The general research focus has been on sea-level change and ocean circulation using satellite altimetry, as well as tide gauge, sea-surface temperature and pressure data. The group has focussed on the development of new approaches to improve processing corrections to altimetry data near coasts as well as the spatial and temporal variation of the Atlantic circulation and especially the Azores current. These are topical research areas in the Earth Sciences which are leading to some significant contributions to knowledge and understanding at national and 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. Many of these are in peer-reviewed international journals, for example in Remote Sensing of the Environment and Annales Geophysicae.

Training
2 PhD and 2 MSc projects completed in the review period is evidence the group provides a good research training environment.

Overall Perspective
The groups overall achievements have met expectations with indications of the impact and relevance of this work at international level. Future plans and objectives are well developed and realistic and are likely to lead to outcomes of international relevance and importance.