WP1: Management

WP1 Objectives

The aim of this work package is to provide overall project coordination and management.
The specific objectives are:
•    To ensure efficient management of ACTRIS-2 and implement appropriate quality control measures for monitoring the progress of the project activities.
•    To optimize the information flow with the partners, scientific community, and end-users /stakeholders through regular project meetings and ACTRIS-2 web portal.
•    To provide joint management of trans-national access provision.

Description of work

This WP will ensure adequate coordination and management of all ACTRIS-2 work packages in all scientific, technical, administrative, financial, and legal matters and the day-to-day management tasks and the liaison with its Consortium partners. The Coordinator and coordination office will guarantee high-quality management of 31 partners, 17 joint research unit members, and a large number of associated partners through the following key tasks: Task 1.1: Administrative management and quality control (CNR, CNRS) This task will ensure that the contractual aspects within the Consortium are carried out in a timely manner, including partner accession to the contract, establishment of and compliance with the Consortium agreement, and fulfilment of the beneficiaries’ contractual obligations. It will implement appropriate quality control tools to monitor the work progress including deliverables and milestones, prepare and coordinate the periodic project reports with the partners, and ensure timely delivery to the EU. It will moderate potential internal conflicts, propose resolutions and corrective actions. It will be responsible for the financial and administrative management and consistency of overall the resources used, and manage the distribution of the Community financial contribution between the contractors and activities in accordance with the contract and the decisions taken by the Consortium. It will be in charge of the day-to-day execution of the management tasks and the internal communication within the Consortium.

Task 1.2: Project meetings (CNR, CNRS)

A kick-off meeting and regular official project meetings (one General Assembly per year, two Executive Steering Group meetings per year, two-monthly telecons) will be organized in order to review the work progress, measure the project results against the set objectives, and foster constructive work. The Coordinator will chair the project management meetings, prepare the meetings, agendas, and draft the minutes.

Task 1.3: ACTRIS web portal and communication (CNRS, CNR)

The project coordination office will be responsible for implementing and maintaining the centrally managed ACTRIS-2 web portal. The web portal will be the central platform for information exchange with partners and associated partners, the international science community, end users, stake holders, and the general public. It will publish and advertise opportunities for remote and hands-on access transnational access offered within the project and inform on the research facilities, the related access procedures and outcomes, and provide access to the ACTRIS-2 Data Centre. It will report on ongoing activities and inform on up-coming events, disseminate project results, publications, and provide documentation material. An internal pass-word projected intranet website will be created to host project internal information relevant for efficient project operation: deliverables, dissemination material, official documents, workshop material, reports. Internal and external project communication will be reinforced through adequate information tools with project partners and associated partners, e.g., specific mailing lists, and new communication tools.

Task 1.4: Joint coordination of trans-national activity provision (CNRS, CNR)

To ensure efficiency and optimize the use of the services by the scientific community, the provision of transnational access for all TNA1-4 activities will be jointly coordinated by the project management team (PMT, responsible to the coordination office) and access providers. Efficiency has already achieved a high level of expertise built in ACTRIS and predecessor projects since FP6. A central procedure with harmonised and enhanced interfaces will be put in place at project start i) to advertise the opportunities for access, ii) to implement and coordinate the procedures of proposal submission, evaluation, and selection, and iii) to report on the access provided. The ACTRIS-2 web portal will be the unique entry point and central interface between external users, infrastructures, and PMT. The PMT will coordinate the proposal review which will be carried out by a TNA user selection panel (TNA-USP). The TNA-USP consists of separate TNA subpanels for the remote access (TNA1,2,3) and for the hands-on access TNA4 as a function of scientific proposal topic covered (aerosol, clouds, trace gases). Each TNA user panel is represented by an independent expert team. The coordination of the TNA activities TNA1-4 is common, however, the modalities of access of the remote TNA (calibration activities TNA1-3) are specific. TNA1-3 foresee an additional internal management module led by the main TNA host institution in collaboration with the PMT. Pertinent details in the procedure and details are, therefore, described in the corresponding work packages WP 6,7,8. The modality of access, outreach to new users, and review procedure for the hands-on TNA4 is unique and, therefore, described only once in the following. WP9 will focus on the description of the infrastructures, services provided, and support offered. Modality of access under the proposal (general aspects TNA4):

The TNA4 activity offers researchers and research teams from the scientific community and industry free hands-on access to 18 experimental research infrastructures, chosen for their uniqueness in Europe, offering an excellent combination of state-of-the-art equipment, services, and training for measurement and ACTRIS-2 related research projects. TNA may be requested at any time to any of the 18 sites which are open to any interested user following an official call for access. The call for access is continuously open and complemented by specific calls where necessary in case of particular training events or measurement campaigns. Request for TNA is made through central submission of a TNA proposal via the web portal, it will provide information the project PI and participating users needed to carry out the project, a project description including scientific objectives, motivation, and succinct description of the work plan including information on training and/or mobility of experts (added value to infrastructure), project length, estimated costs, and expected output. Typical TNA4 research projects are on the order of several days to 2-3 weeks with 2-5 users per project. Access will be aligned and integrated into station operation and will generally cover the necessary preparatory work and training to use the facility and instruments, and participate in the routine measurements or specific campaigns. Users will have access to the observation infrastructure, instrumentation, and data from permanent instruments. Additional work space will be available to bring and use own instruments. Advanced visitors are given more independency in their operation while new users are trained to comply with local procedures and safety regulations. The TNA4 access costs for 14 stations are declared on the basis of unit costs due to availability of reliable 2-year operation costs. One station’s operation costs (MAIDO-OPAR) is based on unit costs although the reference period for calculating unit costs is reduced to one year due to a reconstruction of the observatory until 2012; the units costs for the 12-month period are considered reliable and representative. Three stations (PUY, CAO, HYM) for which auditable data are not continuously available for the past two years declare the access costs on actual costs. The unit of access to all 18 infrastructures is one research-person working day (1 rwd).

Outreach to new users:

The opportunities of TNA to the 18 sites will be largely advertised through the ACTRIS-2 web portal including description of the research facilities, but also through dedicated websites of each infrastructure. TNA will be largely publicised through newsletters and mailing lists of international networks and projects and cooperating scientific communities, and promoted at international conferences, scientific workshops, summer/winter schools, and through project brochures. The participation of the observation stations in various international networks and multidisciplinary measurement campaigns maintains visibility and high profile, the access providers will be very active in attracting new users. Further visitors and new users targeted are e.g., users interested in participating in scientific intensive campaigns, for developing specific expertise, for instrumental synergies not available at the site (added value), for interdisciplinary research projects or those involving a unique combination of instruments (e.g., tower and ground-based measurements), for new users taking advantage of open collaboration with networks outside Europe (Latin America, USA, Russia, China etc.).  Results of TNA projects will be presented at conferences and published in the peer reviewed journal publications. Financial support foreseen to the research teams will facilitate the TNA and particularly attract new users. Access aimed at innovative research projects involving SME are particularly promoted in cooperation with NA4. Most of the sites are TNA-experienced and are expected to be similarly successful as during ACTRIS (the actual access was often higher than claimed), interest for visits by users are already indicated until the year 2016.

Review procedure:

Incoming proposals are verified by the PMT for formal compliance with the EU regulations (eligibility criteria) and are then forwarded to the independent TNA-USP for peer-review based on scientific merit. The selection panel consists of individual TNA subpanels which are composed of international panel members having strong expertise in the specific ACTRIS-2 discipline. They will evaluate and select the proposals according to clearly defined criteria (scientific quality/originality, innovation aspects, impact: 60% weight), priority will be given to new users for high quality research (20%) and to support training of young scientist (respecting promotion of female participation) to become future leaders and the field (20%). Particular efforts will be made to promote scientific excellence in less-favoured regions in Central and Eastern Europe or beyond. A minimum of 3 reviews are considered for final acceptation of each proposal, which must receive a minimum threshold of points to pass. The PMT centralizes the review results and informs the applicants of the final decision. Upon acceptation, the project PI is invited to contact the access provider of the planned infrastructure to organize the access. Financial support may be allocated to the users to facilitate the TNA and is offered on request and is decided jointly following assessment results by the PMT with the access provider. Reimbursement of the financial grant is made after project completion and after submission of all requested TNA-related documentation via online forms on the web portal (e.g., TNA user report, confirmation of visit justifying the quantity of access provided, detailed scientific activity report). All TNA reporting documents will be collected, verified, and archived by the PMT, and provided on the project intranet and  the EU. Users are encouraged i) to make available the data from TNA projects via the ACTRIS-2 data portal and ii) to present and publish results from work carried out under the ACTRIS-2 TNA with the necessary acknowledgements. The TNA documentation reported will be the basis for an intermediate and a final TNA report (provided as deliverable within the work package)