Implementation Plan: July 2006
- Programme management
- The UK SOLAS community
- Funding for science
- Knowledge Transfer
- Requirements for ship time, services and facilities
- Data management
- Progress monitoring and reporting
- Links to International SOLAS
- Links to other research programmes
- Summary of UK SOLAS progress to date and programme plans
The UK Surface Ocean-Lower Atmosphere Study (UK SOLAS) is a NERC directed programme which aims to advance understanding of environmentally significant interactions between the atmosphere and ocean, focusing on material exchanges that involve ocean productivity, atmospheric composition and climate. UK SOLAS is a component of the UK IGBP effort and provides the main national science contribution to the international SOLAS initiative with a similar research goal. The scientific objectives and main approaches of the NERC programme are defined in the UK SOLAS Science Plan.
This document provides the strategy by which the objectives of the Science Plan will be implemented, together with information on milestones achieved to date and a provisional timetable for future activities. The Implementation Plan is not fixed and will be updated as UK SOLAS develops.
The aim of UK SOLAS will be met through research grants and other awards, following submission of project-based funding bids in response to Announcements of Opportunity. The programme strongly encourages collaborations between different research groups and disciplines, both within the programme and through partnerships with other relevant national and international activities.
The UK SOLAS Steering Committee (chaired by Dr Howard Cattle) provides science direction, recommends the allocation of financial resources, and guides the progress of the programme. Details of its membership and expertise are available. Sub-groups may be formed to provide advice on, or oversee, specific aspects of programme development.
The NERC Programme Administrator is Kay Heuser, and the NERC Science and Innovation Manager is Dr Mike Webb. Based at Swindon Office, their policy-related responsibilities include programme overview, budget management, and arrangements for meetings, proposal assessment and awards.
The Science Coordinator is Phil Williamson, based at the University of East Anglia. His role is to assist the Steering Committee and Swindon Office with: programme strategy and programme promotion; development of well-integrated fieldwork; communication with researchers and research users; liaison with other relevant national and international activities; and aspects of award administration, progress monitoring, data management and knowledge transfer.
The programmatic framework of UK SOLAS brings together a wide range of scientific disciplines (including marine biogeochemists, atmospheric chemists, modellers and climatologists) to address important research issues that are not being tackled by other projects, and that require a coordinated approach. To help foster a UK SOLAS community, the programme will give high priority to:
- workshops and meetings that provide a platform for interdisciplinary discussion, for active involvement of younger scientists and for engagement with research users
- development and implementation of a communication strategy that ensures wide awareness of the aims and achievements of the programme
- facilitation of collaboration at both national and international levels.
The development and selection of component science projects is based on two main funding rounds, each preceded by well-publicised Announcements of Opportunity (AOs) that include information on the funds available. The first AO involved a Project Outline stage, to assist in the development of well-focussed and complementary full proposals. Timetables for the funding rounds are summarised under Section 13 below.
Proposals may involve a single investigator (PI), or several investigators (PI and Co-Is) in the same institution, or several groups in different institutions (one PI and several Co-Is, with 'split award' arrangements) together with non-academic or international partners. Standard NERC rules regarding investigator and institution eligibility apply unless notified otherwise at the AO stage. Any other special considerations will also be identified then (eg specific priorities, if applicable; or factors affecting timing/duration of awards). Feedback guidance from the Steering Committee will be provided on outlines and following assessment of full proposals.
PhD training will be provided through:
- 'tied studentship' awards, linked to first round UK SOLAS research grant proposals
- CASE studentships (collaborative awards, with research-user partners) supported through the Knowledge Transfer funding round; see below.
Travel funding was provided to research students and other young scientists to assist their participation in the first international SOLAS science conference in Halifax, Canada (Oct 2004) and similar assistance will be provided for their attendance at the 2nd open conference in Xiamen, China (March 2007). Additional short-term training support will be made available for postgraduate students with SOLAS-related interests to attend the biennial international SOLAS summer school.
There are no plans to support NERC fellowships via UK SOLAS.
Knowledge Transfer (KT) activities are now an integral part of NERC's mission, for which directed programmes have particular responsibilities. The expectation is that around 5% of the UK SOLAS budget will be used for this purpose, with emphasis given to:
- co-operation in education and training (by CASE studentships, see above)
- People and knowledge flow
- collaborative research with users
- commercialisation of research and development, where applicable
Initial planning of KT activities was assisted by a KT Facilitator (Martin Johnston) supported for 9 months in 2004/05. A KT-specific funding round was held in late 2005-early 2006, resulting in two CASE studentships and a KT project on global SOLAS data integration and synthesis (with the Met Office; also in partnership with QUEST and CASIX). A separate document gives further information on UK SOLAS KT plans.
UK SOLAS will make use of a wide range of NERC services and facilities for fieldwork and laboratory-based modelling studies. Those of major interest to the programme include: Research Ships Unit (RSU), Facility for Airborne Atmospheric Measurements (FAAM), Remote Sensing Data Analysis Service (RSDAS), and High Performance Computing (HPC).
Separate applications for access to these facilities will be made where appropriate, either by individual project PIs or on a programme-wide basis.
NERC Policy requires all directed programmes to properly manage the data they collect. UK SOLAS will devote an adequate proportion of its budget and planning effort to ensure that datasets collected by the programme are managed in accordance with this policy, so that they can be exploited scientifically and commercially beyond the lifetime of the programme. As UK SOLAS involves both atmospheric and oceanographic studies, both BADC and BODC are involved in data management - with BODC leading the 'UK SOLAS Data Centre' (SDC).
The UK SOLAS Data Management Plan provides information on these arrangements, including Annexes on metadata protocols and project-specific data tasks.
Formal monitoring of the progress of individual projects will be carried out as part of the NERC annual Output Performance Measures (OPM) exercise. Results (together with additional information) will be collated and incorporated in to both written and oral annual progress reports to the Steering Committee and to NERC.
NERC is keen that all interested parties (including the general public) are aware of its research activities and their societal importance. To help achieve this for UK SOLAS, the Science Co-ordinator will (with advice from the Steering Committee) develop and implement a communication strategy to promote wider outreach for the programme, eg using press notices, other media liaison and public events. Such activities will be linked to KT initiatives and the wider exploitation of research results.
The national SOLAS community already has many working links with SOLAS activities taking place worldwide, and has played a major role in establishing international science activities. These connections will be further developed through close contact between the UK SOLAS Science Coordinator and the SOLAS IPO (co-located at UEA), the involvement of UK representatives at international SOLAS meetings, and the active encouragement of wider collaborations. In particular:
- strong links have been established with German SOLAS activities through common interests in the Cape Verde region
- wider European SOLAS linkages have been developed through the EU TENATSO project (Tropical North Atlantic studies) and the EU/ESF COST project (on global SOLAS data integration and synthesis)
- The US SOLAS Science Plan (2006) identifies many opportunities for US-UK collaborations
In addition to international SOLAS, UK SOLAS will make connections to other relevant UK and international research projects, to promote complementarity and avoid duplication of effort. Attention to date has been directed at maximising synergies with the Atlantic Meridional Transect (AMT), the Centre for Air-Sea Interactions and Exchanges (CASIX), Quantifying the Earth System (QUEST) and the African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analysis (AMMA; UK contribution to international programme supported via a NERC consortium award and linked to the Met Office DABEX project).
The timetabling of information given below.
- 19-20 Feb - 1st Steering Committee meeting
- Mar to May - Development of Science Plan and Implementation Plan
- 20 May - 2nd SC meeting
- 10 Jun - First Announcement of Opportunity (project outlines)
- 3 Aug - Closing date for 1st round outline bids
- 23 Aug - 3rd SC meeting; assessment of outlines
- Sep to Oct - Workshops to help develop full proposals (for shortlisted outlines); initial planning of field programme
- 13-16 Oct - Presentations on UK SOLAS science plans at international SOLAS science conference (Halifax NS)
- 8 Nov - Closing date for full bids
- 7-8 Apr - 4th SC meeting, including 1st round proposal assessments.
- Jun - Decisions on first round funding announced; additional AO for halogen dynamics component [Note: delay in announcement of awards due to reduction in funding available to the programme]
- 12-13 Jul - PIs meeting with research users; Met Office, Exeter
- Aug to Sep - Participation of young UK SOLAS researchers in 2nd international SOLAS summer school, Corsica
- Sep to Oct - Start of research grant awards and studentships
- 15 Nov - 5th SC meeting; assessment of halogen dynamics proposals
- Dec - AO for Knowledge Transfer (CASE studentships and research grants)
- Jan to Feb - Start of fieldwork: research cruise on RV Poseidon (led by Eric Achterberg) and DODO flight campaign (with DABEX, led by Ellie Highwood) off NW Africa
- Mar to Apr - SC assessment of KT bids (by correspondence). UK SOLAS exhibit at Science Museum
- 17-18 Jul - First Annual Science Meeting for all programme participants, Manchester. 6th SC meeting; finalisation of programme Data Management Plan
- end Jul - Second (and final) AO for science projects, with emphasis on integrative activities
- Sep - Start of measurements at SOLAS observatory, Cape Verde. 2nd DODO flight campaign (with AMMA)
- 5 Oct - Closing date for 2nd AO
- Oct - Start of 2 yr observations on Norwegian weather ship, RV Polarfront (HiWASE, led by Margaret Yelland)
- Nov - Dec - Research cruise on RRS Discovery: DOGEE and SEASAW projects (led by Rob Upstill-Goddard and Ian Brooks)
- 8-10 Jan - Workshop on monitoring and modelling, Cape Verde
- Jan-Jun - Four UK SOLAS research cruises on RRS Discovery, led by Eric Achterberg, Ian Brooks, Gordon McFiggans and Rob Upstill-Goddard
- 31 Jan - SC meeting; assessment of 2nd round proposals
- 6-9 Mar - Presentations on UK SOLAS science at international SOLAS science conference (Xiamen, China)
- Apr - Start of 2nd round awards (max 2 year duration)
- Sep - Second Annual Science Meeting for all programme participants, 8th SC meeting
- 22 Oct-3 Nov - Participation of young UK SOLAS researchers in international SOLAS summer school, Corsica
- Jan to Jun - Two UK SOLAS research cruises, led by Gill Malin and Carol Robinson
- Sep - Third Annual Science Meeting for all programme participants, 9th SC meeting
- Mar/Apr - Conclusion of programme
- Programme Final Report. Publication of UK SOLAS data
- Finale event