A forward look to a road map for solid earth science research in Europe
Through a number of initiatives across Europe, involving programmes and infrastructure development, we feel it is timely to bring scientists studying the solid earth and its interactions with the broader earth system together to discuss science requirements behind key programmes and infrastructures and also to build, as best as possible, a list of the needs of the community.
We note here some key markers that are important for our science:
- The launch of Horizon2020 with a strong focus on the excellent science via the European Research Council (ERC), training programmes and infrastructure in addition to grand societal challenges;
- A number of infrastructure programmes and joint programming initiatives in European nations in the earth science sector that are in the preparation phase and will be planning for the engineering and/or implementation phase;
- Renewal and review processes in some key international programmes such as IODP, ICDP, IGCP, TopoEurope, ILP, etc;
- Publication of national earth science infrastructure and science plans by Germany, UK, Australia, USA and Chinese governments, etc;
- New Earth observing satellite systems that will be launched by Europe and other international partners, some with a focus on the solid earth;
- An increasingly robust science base in the BRICS countries with which we can now develop partnerships.
We initially brought together a limited number of key representatives of major research programmes and infrastructure projects with some of the top Earth scientists in Europe. This meeting was held in October 2012, and the agenda and report is now available to download. In the wake of this meeting, which was by invitation only, a written report has now been produced for wider consultation. Invitees were scientists representing key interest groups and included the following:
- Key infrastructure initiatives
- EGU & EAGE Division representatives
- Leaders of national and European earth science research committees
- European geological surveys (EGS)
- Other key representatives from both research and industry.
The aim is to enhance the scientific credibility of solid earth science through a coherent road map, without interfering with a strong 'bottom-up' grass roots research effort.
In the same way as the marine and polar sciences have a voice through an independent board in Europe we feel that earth sciences ranging from the research base through the surveys and institutes to the private sector will often need to speak as a community.
Whilst we do not have an official mandate for this action, the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI)) has requested a road map for the environmental sciences and we have agreed to use the EPOS project to undertake this for the earth sector, initially with particular reference to the solid Earth system.