Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

FP7

DELICE Report Summary

Project ID: 229907
Funded under: FP7-REGPOT
Country: Romania

Final Report Summary - DELICE (DEVELOPING THE EMERGING RESEARCH POTENTIAL OF ROMANIAN LIDAR CENTRE)

Executive Summary:
As it matures, the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) will represent a quantum leap in the speed, resolution, accuracy and sophistication of weather and climate modelling and forecasting. Being one of the most advanced centres for atmospheric research in Romania, and the only one involved in laser remote sensing at that moment, ROLICE has recognized its weaknesses related both to its scientific activity at European level, and to its collaboration with public authorities and stakeholders at national level.
Three important actions were identified as to be crucial for the future development of the centre and consolidation of its position, and addressed within DELICE project:
• Improving the R&D infrastructure, by purchasing new equipments and upgrading the existing ones;
• Mobilizing human resources by attracting young brilliant researchers and managers, train them in an international environment, and by collaborating with Diaspora;
• Increasing the visibility of the centre and strengthening international partnerships with EARLINET, AERONET and other relevant networks.
DELICE was a 948460 EUR grant, covering all categories of expenses. 45% of the budget was used to purchase new equipments (microwave radiometer, aerosol mass spectrometer, sodar) and upgrade the lidars, 40% to reinforce human resources and 15% to improve mobility and promote the centre. Based on the redesigned state-of-the-art laboratories, trained personnel, strengthen collaborations at national, regional and European level, ROLICE is today one the most advanced and complex remote sensing centres in Europe.
At the end of the project, all the instruments are operational (new equipments purchased, existing equipments upgraded). Market-liaison office is functional, with 2 specialists employed. Three new researchers are working now at INOE. The trainings at counterparts laboratories and at ROLICE were done, including participation to validation campaigns (9 people trained). ROLICE proved its potential (infrastructure and human resources) to external partners, and as consequence it was accepted to provide transnational access to the infrastructure inside ACTRIS (FP7-INFRASTRUCTURES-2010-1, 262254), is leading the planning and recruitment board of the Marie Curie ITN project ITARS (FP7-PEOPLE-2011-ITN, 289923) and is representing Romania to EG-CLIMET COST action.
Team members proved their ability as scientists and also leaders in this part of Europe. The result was the election of DELICE's coordinator as ICLAS (International Coordination-group on Laser Atmospheric Studies) member, starting July 2010, but more important, new consortia were formed, new proposals were submitted to various funding agencies, new collaboration with private sector and national public agencies (Ministry of Environment, National Authority for Scientific Research, ROMATSA, National Administration for Meteorology) were initiated. Collaboration with 6 Romanian experts from Diaspora was reinforced, and the number of communications to international conferences and papers published in peer-review journals has increased significantly.
The web site and web portal was launched and updated regularly, while promotional materials were designed, executed and distributed. Several promotional actions were organized, both scientific (OTEM 2009, 2010 and 2011 workshop, final conference, communications at international conferences and papers published), and for the public (official opening of the Romanian Atmospheric Observatory, based on a synergy of funds, stand at ROMENVIROTEC 2010, 2011, brochures, leaflets and presentations, mass-media interviews).
Coming to the end of DELICE project, we acknowledge the impact of this 948460 EUR grant, but also of the involvement of people from EARLINET, AERONET and other expert groups in Europe who helped us, motivated us and urged us to become better, more present on scientific level, and more responsible.

Project Context and Objectives:
The impact of climate change on ecosystems is projected to be significant and have strong direct implications for human well-being. However, many aspects of the global climate system are still not fully understood. GEOSS aims to achieve global coordinated multi-sensor observation of the Earth, therefore making use of all available capacities, significant at global/continental scale, which can contribute on the long-term. In this framework, the need for top-level research centres in atmosphere remote sensing becomes a critical issue for EU and in the same time an important opportunity for research groups like ours.
Being one of the most advanced centres for atmospheric research in Romania, and the only one involved in laser remote sensing at that moment, ROLICE has recognize its weaknesses related both to its scientific activity at European level, and to its collaboration with public authorities and stakeholders at national level. Before the implementation of the DELICE project, the centre had 7 employees, several lidar systems (needing upgrades), and several small complementary instruments. The existing infrastructure was built on national grants, not enough to cope with the real need. At that time, the centre was not able to get information about meteorological parameters (radiosoundings in Romania are sparse and not accurate enough) and aerosols composition, therefore we were unable to perform complex analysis or even ground-calibration.
Contacts with several important European and global networks for atmospheric science (EARLINET, AERONET, EUSAAR) were active also, but since the infrastructure was not proper, we could not provide them high accuracy results. The personnel also were not properly trained as to satisfy the standards of top-level research teams in Europe. Overall, at the moment when DELICE was submitted to FP7-REGPOT, the enthusiasm of "important players" on the market of atmospheric science towards our products was limited, although it was clear for everybody that data from this part of Europe is urgently needed.
To overcome these weaknesses, DELICE proposed as main objective to increase the research capacities of the National Institute of R&D for Optoelectronics (INOE 2000) by developing the remote sensing activities to stimulate its full research potential contributing to the realisation of European Research Area as a ”common market for research”.
The specific objectives of DELICE were:
O.1. Unlocking the ROmanian LIdar CEntre (ROLICE) potential for better integration in specific research networks:
• Improving the R&D infrastructure, by purchasing new equipments and upgrading the existing ones.
• Mobilizing human resources to achieve a critical mass in terms of man power and expertise, by employment of supplementary personnel, developing the expertise of the team members via secondments to counterparts laboratories, and strengthen the collaboration with Romanian experts working aboard
O.2. Increasing quantitatively and qualitatively the regional capacity to contribute to GEOSS :
• Increasing the visibility of the center by promotional activities designed for the scientific community and opening of new channels to communicate with the public
• Establishing new scientific collaboration in South East Europe
O.3. Extending strategic partnerships with other research groups working in the domain of laser remote sensing and complementary.
• Improving cooperation with EARLINET and AERONET groups by a more active implication in networking activities and involvement in joint projects
• Extending cooperation with research groups from complementary fields by formalizing our previous collaborations with important stakeholders in Romania (aviation safety, meteorology, weather modification, security, etc.)
Project Results:
During the DELICE's implementation, work was performed in 6 work packages.
WP1 Management. The objective of this work package was to ensure the overall coordination of the project. Although DELICE was a single partner project, several EU partners were supporting INOE to strengthen its research capacity. The Management structure was based on the Project Management Team (PMT), working in cooperation with the Advisory Board (AB). PMT consultative meetings were organized every 3 months, discussing activities and further actions. A Kick off, 2 AB and 2 Stakeholders meetings were organized in order to collect ideas on future center development and to increase the interest of the stakeholders and improve collaboration.
WP2 Twinning and exchange of expertise. This work package objective was to reinforce ROLICE’s human potential, in order to be able to reach the EU expertise level. Training was organized under the supervision of the best experts in Europe, on their laboratories and at INOE's facility. A task was to quality assure the main instruments (lidar and sunphotometer) and instruct the technical staff on proper measurement procedures. ROLICE together with European partners had participated to EArlinet Reference LIdars campaign 2009 in Leipzig, Germany. Significant results: 6 people trained in counterparts laboratories; 9 people trained at ROLICE by counterparts’ experts; 2 instruments optimized and quality assured; 3 people participating to workshops and field campaign.
WP3 Developing research facilities. The objective of this work package was to improve the existing research infrastructure by purchasing new up-to-date scientific equipments and upgrading the most important existing ones. Following analysis of the real needs for current and future applications, and of the available technological solutions, 3 new equipments were purchased, installed and tested (Aerosol Mass Spectrometer; Microwave Radiometer; Sodar) and 5 were upgraded (Elastic backscatter, UV backscatter scanning, Raman and Ozone lidar systems; Aeronet Sunphotometer).
WP4 Recruitment of highly qualified staff (including brain-gain). The objective of this work package was to strengthen INOE's research capacity to face new challenges by making use of experts, young researchers and strengthening the non-research activities. We set up a “market liaison office” within ROLICE, and recruit research and marketing specialized personnel, but we also set up a framework of cooperation with Romanian specialists working abroad. Significant results in WP4: 1 market-liaison office created; 2 marketing specialists, 2 experts and 3 young researchers hired; 16 proposals submitted, out of which 3 approved and 10 under evaluation; 3 collaborations with Romanian experts from Diaspora formalized.
WP5 Strengthening cooperation and improve networking. The objective of this work package was to “expose” INOE’s staff to an international environment to facilitate knowledge transfer and contacts at national, European and international level. We organized 3 counterparts meetings and 1 conference, participated in numerous conferences and published scientific papers. Significant results: 3 counterparts meetings and 1 international conference organized; 40 communications to international conferences; 25 papers published in ISI journals; nomination of DELICE’s coordinator as Romanian representative at EG-CLIMET COST action and as ICLAS member.
WP6 Promotion and dissemination for "Life after the project". The objective of this work package was to promote laser remote sensing and networking in Romania. We set up a web-based tool for dissemination of project results and communication within and outside the consortium. Also we produced and distributed various promotional materials, and participated to press interviews, exhibitions and science fairs. Significant results: 1 web site/portal; 2 brochures; 5 leaflets; 2 e-bulletins; 2 fair stands; posters, flyers and presentations; mass media interviews.

Potential Impact:
DELICE was indeed a boost for atmospheric remote sensing in this part of Europe from many points of view. First, it proved is possible to get support and become a high-tech facility if the motivation is strong enough. Second, it demonstrated to "old players" in atmospheric research they can count on state-of-the-art laboratories and well-trained staff in Eastern-Europe too, and by consequence our centre was invited to participate in several large-consortiums and networks.
DELICE also provided funds for meetings face-to-face with potential partners, including organizing several scientific events at our place. This was a good opportunity to show scientists from Europe what we have and what we can do, therefore a good reason to set up new collaborations. DELICE open a door for Romanian researchers from Diaspora to reconnect to their country and transfer part of their expertise, erasing by this a moral debt towards the society which contributed to their formation as professionals. It imposed a centre from a very new EU country as one of the most advanced in the entire continent. Although our facility is too young to have a history of "success stories" behind, we are optimistic in considering users from Romania and abroad will express their interest to perform research here.
DELICE was not only about us. DELICE had deep implications in 4 other research centers in Romania, since we already started the transfer of expertise towards the newly set up Romanian Lidar Network. This involves a long-term commitment to provide data at national scale and to contribute to main European databases (http://inoe.inoe.ro/RADO). Moreover, DELICE created the frame to extend the activity in other East-European countries such as Croatia, Serbia and Slovenia. New projects were developed together with partners from within and outside Romania, to support them building laboratories and/or train the personnel in view of participating directly to GEOSS.
We acknowledge the impact of this 948460 EUR grant, but also of the involvement of people from EARLINET, AERONET and other expert groups in Europe who helped us, motivated us and urged us to become better, more present on scientific level, and more responsible.
The web site and web portal were launched and updated regularly, while promotional materials were designed, executed and distributed. Several promotional actions were organized, both scientific (OTEM 2009, 2010 and 2011 workshop, final conference, communications at international conferences and papers published), and for the public (official opening of a new centre (synergy of funds), stand at ROMENVIROTEC 2010, 2011, brochures, leaflets and presentations, mass-media interviews).
Volcanic ash over Europe was for ROLICE an opportunity to increase its visibility especially at national level. With our 3 aerosol lidar systems and ground-based instruments, we provided daily reports to EARLINET and various national authorities (civil aviation, weather service, environmental agencies) to advise them about plume trajectory, height and density. Team members participated in numerous mass-media interviews and debates regarding the impact of volcanic ash and Saharan dust on human's life, short and long term effects and risks.
DELICE had and will have a considerable impact not only on our centre, not only in Romania, but also in the entire region.

List of Websites:
http://inoe.inoe.ro/DELICE
http://environment.inoe.ro

Related information

Contact

DOINA NICOLAE, (Department Coordinator)
Tel.: +40-314050790
Fax: +40-214574522
E-mail
Record Number: 196535 / Last updated on: 2017-03-28
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