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a Succesful ITN - Minutes: Mid Term Progress Meeting

2012-02-22 10:05

26-27 January 2012

Download: the full version of the minutes and the programme.



DAY 1 

26 January: Formal Mid Term Progress Review with EC Representatives



Tour de table

After a short introduction by M. Genachte (CASE Project Officer) and Bob Nesbit (REA expert reviewer), each scientist-in-charge (PI) briefly presented their work package and research group, as well as their role within the network.


Coordinating Team Report

The CASE coordinator J. Giraudeau gave a ca. 45 minutes presentation on the main achievements (scientific, training, networking and management) since the inception of this Initial Training Network.

Feedback positive. Care was made to address how the network fulfilled the objectives, deliverables and milestones as foreseen in Annex I of the Grant Agreement. This was followed by questions by the REA representatives essentially on management aspects.


ESR Individual Reports

The Fellows presented themselves, their background, their work, and their training experience in the Network. This presentation went beyond the scientific project and included their expectations on the possible impact of the action on their future career. The REA representatives congratulated the ESRs as a group for the quality of their presentations, their investment in training and their awareness of the network environment.


Following this open session, a conversation behind closed doors (without PIs) took place between the ESRs and the REA representatives.

Scientific Steering Committee (PI and EPM)

PIs and EPM gathered for ca. 1 hour in order to exchange on the planning/preparation of short-terms events (Plymouth training session, EGU-based open conference...) as well as on the preparation of the mid-term financial report.

An agreement was reached on the merging of training sessions T10 and T11 (Plymouth). Following up-to-date information on the preparation of the first CASE open conference (EGU, Vienna) by the host Katrine Husum, the decision was taken to host a CASE management meeting during this gathering.

Mid-term financial report : questions were raised on several aspects related to the proper filling of the Financial Form C due to EU by the end of May.


A later discussion with the CASE Project Officer (M. Genachte) answered much of those questions, i.e.:

- claiming of budget according to lump sum/flat rate calculated from the date of ESRs and or VS recruitments (cat. A to E), and according to external researchers-days attending eligible events (cat. F; limited to he negociated budget in Annex I).

- budget claimed for category G must be properly justified. It may include costs raised for attendance of PIs to the kick-off meeting, the annual progress meetings as well as the Vienna open conference (where a formal management meeting will take place).


Output of the Network

Informal concluding remarks were formulated by the REA representatives.

Both EC representatives considered that the CASE ITN reached most, if not all of the scientific, training and management objectives set out in the technical annex (Annex I of the GA). CASE stands as one of the most successful ITN evaluated so far by these reviewers at this stage of reporting. A special call was made to the coordinating team to provide a brief summary of scientific and training achievements for publications on the front page of the CORDIS website. They congratulated the coordinating team and PIs on the efficiency (and stability) of the ESR recruitment, the quality and diversity of the training initiatives (i.e. formal training courses, technical courses, field sessions/training session at sea), as well as on positive steps for publications and presentations at major international meetings.

Though recognizing the involvement of associated partners from the industrial/private sector in dedicated training sessions, the REA officers suggested that action should be taken to strengthen the exposure of ESRs to those industrial partners. They also called for the presence of these associated partners at each CASE annual gathering.

Following the ESRs-REA conversation behind closed doors, the REA advised the PIs and coordinating team to plan actions in order to ease scientific communications between ESRs from various institutions.

PIs were reminded that tuition fees for CASE ESRs are under the responsibility of the hosting partner institution (must not be paid by the ESRs from their personal allowances), and that all ESRs must be properly registered into a PhD programme. It was also reminded that payment of the Career Exploratory Allowance to each ESR is compulsory within the 3 year-long fellowship. Methods were discussed in order to lower taxation (according to local rules) due by the ESR when being given this allowance.


Social Event: A private canal tour and dinner in the historical centre of Amsterdam, organized by our host H. Renssen, nicely concluded this first day of the mid-term progress meeting.  Superb evening, nice food.




27 January: CASE Scientific Achievements, Science Plan (2012-2013) 



Guest Lecture

John Andrews (INSTAAR, Univ. Boulder - Colorado) - Holocene Ice-Rafted Detritus (off NE Greenland, N Iceland): evidence for solar forcing?

This key-note presentation summarized available evidence for the Holocene dynamics of sea-ice and icebergs from sedimentary cores (lithic particles) in the Denmark Strait area, and re-visited previous assumptions (i.e. G. Bond 1997 and 2001 Science papers) for the pacing and solar forcing of cooling events in the northern North Atlantic.


Fellows’ Scientific Reports (ESRs)

Each ESR provided detailed information on their scientific achievements, as well as their analytical plan for 2012. All presentations motivated series of questions and comments by researchers internal or external to the network, with the purpose of overstepping blocking analytical or scientific points.


Group Discussions

Group discussions were organized according to geographical working areas (Trondheim Fjord, Barents Sea,  Fram Strait) and hydro-climatical processes (sea-ice, SST reconstructions) with the purpose to foster additional collaborations between partner institutions and workpackages.

Following a common request made by the CASE ESRs, the Scientific Steering Committee (PIs) agreed to contribute to an ESR-only gathering in a central location (such as Amsterdam). The purpose here is to provide ESRs for an extended period of exchanges (datasets, methods, etc...) outside the formal and busy annual meetings or training  sessions.

The next training session due in Plymouth (T10 and T11) was agreed to take place earlier than initially planned: the new period is week 25 (June 18-22, 2012).


The progress meeting was officially closed with a renewed acknowledgement to our host H. Renssen for a superbly organized session. John Andrews, as member of the external advisory board, was congratulated for his very active participation to the scientific sessions, and for his willingness to contribute to the success of the network as well for its opening to the external research community. John provided CASE with a brief but enlightening personal report which will be available to the project members via the CASE website (“Members only” restricted page).

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