Tagged / environment

NERC Innovation Projects

 

The Innovation Projects call supports projects that are likely to generate little or no commercial return, but which will deliver impact.

The call aims to increase and accelerate the uptake and impact of NERC funded research output by supporting translational and knowledge exchange activity which delivers direct tangible and demonstrable benefits to end users.  The Follow-on Fund is for those projects that aim to be fully commercialised with a revenue stream derived from licensing, spinouts, consultancy etc.

A maximum of £125k (£100k at 80% FEC) may be requested.  Projects are expected to start in May 2015 and to last for up to 12 months.  Smaller, targeted activities of three to six months are also welcome and NERC anticipates seeing a range of requests within the £125k limit, reflecting a diverse range of potential projects and activities.

The closing date is 16.00 hrs on 18th December, 2014

For further information go to  the  website

Communicate 2014, will you grasp this opportunity?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This November 4th and 5th, get down to At-Bristol, located in Bristol city which will play host to this year’s eagerly anticipated Communicate 2014. Communicate is the UK’s leading conference for environmental communicators, bringing together over 150 delegates each year to debate and share the latest challenges and emerging best practice for engaging people with the natural world.

 Communicate can boast of bringing together over 80 organisations, including NGO’s, local and national government, media, academia, visitor attractions and green businesses, providing participants with an excellent opportunity to engage with practitioners. This is an opportunity that cannot be missed as these organisations represent Communicate annually and since 2003, more than 800 delegates from over 300 organisations have attended the conference. The conference is highly stimulating and thought provoking and it is a great opportunity to meet people involved across a wide variety of sectors.

 There is funding available for NERC funded PhD students and early career researchers thanks to the support from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). Bursaries will be awarded through a competitive application process. Applications for the second round of bursaries must be received by 9am on Monday 20th October. Click here to start your application. Don’t miss out on this fantastic opportunity.

 Click here to see the latest line-up of some of Britain’s most effective speakers that will be there to make this experience one you will never forget.

Non-intrusive river flow measurement – funding available

This SBRI competition is focused on the Environment Agency’s need to measure river flows in challenging locations where existing standard instrumentation cannot be used. However, a solution that could also be deployed in less demanding/normal river conditions would be ideal.

 Over 5.5 million, or one in six, properties are at risk of flooding from all types of floods across England and Wales. The latest UKCP09 climate change projections indicate rising sea levels and increasingly severe and frequent rainstorms mean the risk of floods will increase.
The Environment Agency requires a non intrusive method of river flow measurement which is capable of measuring river flows to “bank full” in rivers with variable backwater, weed growth and with a mobile bed load.
Priority requirements
  • a cost-effective solution
  • minimise the need for in-channel civil engineering works
  • the solution must provide data outputs that can be ported into Environment Agency telemetry systems
  • the solution should be low maintenance
  • it should be able to be supported and maintained by non-specialist staff with moderate technical skills
  • to be able to measure flows in channels that are affected by in channel weed growth and mobile beds
  • to be able to measure flows to local bank full level
  • the solution should measure flows to an accuracy of 6 to 15% or better in the range of flows of interest
  • not affect fish migration, both upstream and downstream
  • have a minimal impact on river fauna and flora and sediment transport
  • meet as many of the aspirational specifications as possible for the proposed new technology (highlighted in the competition brief)
Further details of the challenge are included in the competition brief.
Register for the networking and  briefing event – to be held in London on  Monday 15 September 2014.
Key dates for this call can be found here.

BUDI Open Public Meeting – 14 May 2014


This is a reminder that the BUDI Open Public meeting is tomorrow (14 May) there are still a few spaces available. 

This year’s event focuses on dementia friendly environments, how design helps to support people living with dementia.  The hospital environments and the philosphy of dementia friendly environments will  be covered by external speakers.

To book your free place please go to eventbrite http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/budi-open-meeting-dementia-friendly-care-environments-tickets-9876528964

 

Flying through Mexico – a reconnaissance tour

 

I visited Mexico for 2 weeks earlier this month (6-20 June) to assess the potential for future research collaboration and to establish links between Bournemouth University (BU) and Mexican organisations. As I have the role of School of Applied Sciences (ApSci) Academic Lead for Students Placements, one of my objectives was to find potential hosts for our students and also opportunities for staff and student exchange. The talks I gave (5 in total!) allowed me to disseminate some of the work I do, the wider teaching and research at ApSci and to promote BU overall. After the talks there was always a good interaction with students and staff and I think there is a good chance that this was the start of long-lasting partnerships between BU and at least some of the organisations I visited:

  • Instituto de Investigaciones Oceanologicas, Universidad Autonoma de Baja California, Ensenada – researchers from other departments and also from CICESE (Center for Scientific Research and Higher Education) also attended the talk, what was very good. Many thanks to Dr Amaia Ruiz de Alegria Arzaburu for organising everything. It was great to catch up with you and hopefully we will be doing something together soon.
  • Instituto de Ingenieria, Universidad National Autonoma de Mexico, Mexico City -attendance to the talk was very good and there was also an interview and material will be added to their website, so quite good dissemination. Dr Rodolfo Silva Casarin is a star, brilliant head of a very interesting group, it was great to have met him after so many emails we have exchanged in the recent past. Many thanks!
  • CINVESTAV (Center for Research and Advanced Studies), National Polytechnic Institute, Merida – here I had a closer contact with research conducted by staff and PhD students and also with coordinators of relevant programme, including some clear demonstration of will for visiting BU and start collaboration. Thanks to Dr Ismael Marino Tapia for the invitation and for being such a great host. Very interesting research are being conducted in CINVESTAV.
  • Laboratorio de Ingeniería y Procesos Costeros, Universidad National Autonoma de Mexico, Sisal – this people are so lucky, they have brand new facilities right at the beach, beautiful settings and they are building new labs, which I’m sure will host great quality research. The talk was well attended and hopefully we will be able to keep in touch with colleagues that were very interested in staff and student exchange. Many thanks to Dr Ernesto Tonatiuh Mendoza Ponce and Dr Cecilia Enriquez for the opportunity to visit your facilities – I look forward to working with you.
  • Instituto EPOMEX (Instituto de Ecología, Pesquerías y Oceanografía del Golfo de México), Universidad Autonoma de Campeche – Thanks to Dr Gregorio Posada Vanegas for introducing the research conducted at EPOMEX and for facilitating the contact with students and other staff. The interactions  after the talk were very informative and hopefully we will continue our collaboration in the future.

This was my first time in Mexico and I had the opportunity to see a bit of very different parts of the country, talk to researchers and students and learn about their work, culture and life style. I call it a tour because in two weeks I visited Ensenada in Baja California, Mexico City and a number of locations in the Yucatan Peninsula, including Merida, Sisal, Campeche and also part of the coast of Quintana Roo. So every other day I was packing and unpacking, which was very tiring. But all worth it for the people I met and the things I learned.

Many thanks to BU’s EUADS (EU Academic Development Scheme) funds for allowing me to engage in this reconnaissance tour.

I will keep you posted of further developments from this initiative.

FIF Staff Mobility and Networking award helping me fly

Early in January I received the good news that my application to the Fusion Investment Fund SMN strand was successful. What a great way to start the New Year!

The main aim of my FIF SMN project is to consolidate newly developed partnerships with European and non-European researchers and stakeholders. Planned activities include visits to colleagues who were involved in the development of the research proposal “Living with Extreme Events at the Coast” (LEEC), submitted to the EU FP7 call on Environment (Challenge 6.4 Protecting citizens from environmental hazards). LEEC successfully passed stage 1 and we are now waiting for the outcome of stage 2, so keep your fingers crossed.

As my FIF SMN proposal builds from LEEC, I decided to call it “Living with Extreme Events at the Coast Grant Development” (LEEC GraDe). Not very creative, but it reflects well the main objective, which is to explore opportunities for collaborative research in topics related to LEEC. LEEC aims to better understand how extreme storms and climate change in coastal areas will affect flood risk and impact on society, infrastructure, economic activities and the natural environment throughout the 21th century.

Besides, the development of collaborative research proposals, I will also be exploring opportunities for enhancing students’ experience, e.g. through work placements. By the time I submitted the FIF SMN proposal, I had just taken the role of ApSci’s Academic Lead for Placements. In this role, one of my objectives is to increase the offer of research-based placements to our students. So I thought my networking visits would be a great opportunity to discuss with colleagues from organisations in Europe and abroad whether they are interested in offering to our students a research-based working experience. Many researchers systematically plan their fieldwork campaigns or dedicate larger proportion of their time to research in the summer, so a work placement can be mutually beneficial.

I so much believe in the benefits of this arrangement that I am offering two placements this summer to undergrad ApSci students. If you are interested in doing the same, please contact me.

LEEC partners are from 13 organisations spread across eight countries (Estonia, Spain, France, Belgium, Denmark, UK, Mexico and Vietnam). The FIF SMN award will allow me to visit some of these organisations and engage in other networking opportunities. I will be very busy networking throughout 2013! Hopefully the effort will result in the submission of more collaborative research proposals and a number of arrangements made to enrich students’ experiences through placements or exchanges.

The first of my planned activities was to attend the 12th International Coastal Symposium (ICS) in Plymouth (http://ics2013.org/) earlier this month. This is the largest international conference focused on coastal research with over 500 participants, so a great venue to disseminate research results, to keep updated with research progress worldwide and to network! I was invited to be the convener of the Coastal Evolution and Geomorphology session, so worked very hard evaluating abstracts and full papers before the conference! I also presented a paper on the Coastal Management session, entitled “Is managed realignment a sustainable long-term coastal management approach?” You can find a copy of the paper on BRIAN.

ICS offered the opportunity to meet many ‘old’ friends and make new contacts worldwide, including from countries I had none before, such as Trinidad & Tobago and South Africa. I have already exchanged email with a few of the new (and old) contacts and there are very exciting prospects for future collaboration. I have discussed the preparation of a joint paper with a colleague from the University of Rostock (Germany), explored ways to collaborate with practitioners from a government agency in Trinidad & Tobago and I am already working on a proposal with colleagues from South Africa. The most immediate result from networking during ICS was the invitation to visit five different organisations in Mexico, which is planned to happen in June.

Networking is also about maximising the opportunities and I will be doing exactly that next month in Brazil. I was invited to give a keynote talk in the National Symposium of Coastal Vulnerability. As the hosts are taking me to Brazil, I will extend my stay and visit two universities using SMN funds. The plan is to start building a joint research proposal to submit to the Science without borders programme (funding source from Brazil) with the Universidade Federal de Pernambuco and discuss exchange of postgraduate students and other opportunities with the Universidade do Vale do Itai.

Please watch this space for upcoming news!

Luciana Slomp Esteves (Lecturer in Physical Geography, ApSci)

A clue as to what Environment funding will be in Horizon 2020

The EC have published their proposal for the Environment Action Programme ‘Living well, within the limits of our planet’ which is likely to be the base of calls issued under Horizon 2020. It features budget info as well as the outcome of the various consultations to shape this document.  Most importantly, this paper outlines a programme of action for 2020… reading this will give you the key clues as to what will be funded under Horizon 2020.

NERC call – Flooding from intense rainfall

The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) is inviting research proposals to its Flooding from Intense Rainfall research programme. This is a five-year £5·2m research programme in collaboration with the Met Office and the Environment Agency.

The programme will address both the strategic challenge of the NERC natural hazards theme to “enable better forecasting and mitigation of hydro-meteorological hazards,” and key research priorities identified in the UK Flood & Coastal Erosion Risk Management Research Strategy.

This call is for projects to address the programmes first two scientific goals, namely:

  1. improve the length and accuracy of forecasts of the occurrence and intensity of rainfall associated with convective storms; and
  2. identify the susceptibility to high-intensity rainfall of different catchment types.

The goals will be addressed through undertaking the research requirements described in work package 1 and 2 in the AO below.

Up to £0·9m is available for WP1.

Up to £2·7m is available for WP2.

Applications are invited from UK researchers eligible for NERC funding.

Applicants should refer to the Announcement of Opportunity document for full details of the requirements of this call.

Announcement of Opportunity (242KB)

All applicants are required to submit an outline bid for their project using the provided application form.

Application form (77KB)

Outline bids must be submitted by email to ffir@nerc.ac.uk by the deadline of 23 July 2012.

Following assessment of the outline bids, applicants may then be invited to submit a full proposal.

Closing date for full proposals: October 2012 (exact date to be confirmed).

Contacts

NERC: Dominique Butt

Met Office: Dale Barker

Environment Agency: Doug Whitfield

The RKE Operations team can help you with your application.

Info day reminders!

Info days are key opportunities to find out more on calls, ask questions and most importantly… to network! Take a look at some forthcoming ones and see if there are any you could make to help boost your list of potential collaborators.

ICT FP7 Info Days: There are 2 info days coming up. The first is at the University of Wolverhampton on 13.06.12. This event is aimed at  the research and business communities who are interested in submitting project proposals to FP7 ICT Call 2013. The aim is to provide information to UK organisations on the FP7 ICT theme calls, i.e. to help participants better understand the work programme and criteria for the evaluation of proposals, to facilitate sharing of ideas and experiences, and to meet potential partners for project consortia. You will need to register on the FP7 ICT Information Event booking site to attend. The second day is organised by the EC  in collaboration with the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education and the Polish National Contact Point, is organising the ICT Proposers’ Day 2012, to be held in Warsaw on 26 and 27 September 2012. This two day event will provide networking opportunities for researchers interested in submitting proposals to the 2013 Work Programme calls. The event will also offer the chance to present your project ideas, provide first-hand information from European Commission officials, guidance on how to present a successful proposal and much more. The event will be free of charge, but attendees must register in advance. Online networking and registration will open at the end of June.

Health FP7 Info day: The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) will host the UK Open Info Day for the 2013 Health Call on the 16th of May. The event, organised jointly between the NPL, the Healthtech and Medicines KTN and FP7UK, is open to academic researchers, SMEs, Industry, NHS, charities and public bodies, and anyone interested in finding out about the opportunities in this year’s call.Places are free but on a first come first served basis so register quickly if you want to attend!

Environment FP7 Info Day:  booking isn’t yet open but the info day is likely to be 11.06.12 and not 12.06.12 as originally planned.

Social Sciences and Humanities FP7 Infoday: This is a training and information day by the UK’s expert advisors (National Contact Points) on FP7- Social Sciences and Humanities, FP7 – Science in Society and HERA (Humanities in the European Research Area).  Each session will include a presentation, case study and Q&A. If you wish to attend the event complete the form below before and return it to Depcoord@soton.ac.uk before 25th May 2012:

Your Name  
Email Address  
University  
Will you be staying for lunch?  
Do you want to arrange a 1:1 with a speaker? If yes please advise details  
Do you have any special dietary requirements?  

KBBE (Food, Agriculture, Fisheries & Biotechnology) FP7 Info Day: An open information day and brokerage event will take place on 16 July 2012 in Brussels, Belgium.  The programme will consist of plenary sessions and several parallel workshops on participating in FP7 KBBE. Participants will also be able to exchange information and network at a special session where various service providers will be present.  The conference will bring together research stakeholders, from both the public and private sectors from the EU and Third Countries, together with the Commission, to provide information and to find partners for projects to be funded under the upcoming FP7-KBBE-2013-7 call.

Space FP7 Info Day: COSMOS, the EU Space National Contact Point (NCP) network, will deliver the International Information event on the 2013 FP7 Space Call. This event will take place on 20 and 21 June at the University of Surrey.Participants will be provided with: 

  • first-hand information on the Call content and on future EU Space funding under Horizon 2020;
  • pre-organised as well as spontaneous matchmaking opportunities via face-to-face meetings;
  • short presentations on project ideas and the competencies of potential partners;
  • profile poster session; and
  • spontaneous networking opportunities in a relaxed environment.

It is expected that potential applicants from all over Europe will attend this event. People interested in attending this event are required to register and submit their ‘co-operation profile’ before 10 June.

European Maritime Day 2012: The 2012 edition will be held in Gothenburg, Västra Götaland, Sweden – for the first time in Scandinavia and in the North Sea area. The theme of this year’s conference is “Sustainable growth from the oceans, seas and the coasts: Blue growth”. The purpose is to highlight the importance of the seas and oceans and the challenges facing maritime regions and sectors.

TurKey Enabling Technologies 2012 International Brokerage Event (Istanbul, 25.05.12): This high-level event – which is organised under the scope of TUBITAK’s Turkey in FP7 project – will bring together 300 researchers and organisations involved in: Biotechnology; Advanced Materials; Advanced Manufacturing & Processing; and Space Technologies; with the desire and capability to help overcome a wide range of challenges.

Public Private Partnerships Info Day on 2013 Calls for Efficient Energy Buildings, Green Cars and Factories of the Future: The European Commission will be holding an information and brokerage event on the next (and final) calls under FP7. The event on these 2013 calls, which are funded through various themes within the FP7 Co-operation Programme, will take place on the 9-10 July 2012 in Brussels. The agenda includes roundtable discussions on future outlook of these three PPPs under the EU’s next research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020. You can register on the Event website.

LIFE+ 2012 Call now open!

The sixth LIFE+ call opened recently and closes on the 26th September 2012. LIFE+ funds projects that implement, update and develop Community environmental policy and legislation. There are three strands:

There is a significant change to the application process this year as this must be done using a new eProposal online tool. There are user guides available on the LIFE+ website. In addition applicants submitting a Nature & Biodiversity project or an Information & Communication project related to Forest Fire Prevention will also need to submit an A8 form, signed by the relevant competent authority.

Beta Technology can review your project idea before you start taking time to fill in the application form, simply complete the project concept form and send it to Catherine Holt or Jane Watkins . You can also take a look at the Tips and Advice section of the Beta website for some great hints when completing an application.

There is also an Info Day for this call being held in London on May 29th  -povisional plans for the day include presentations from Stefan Welin, Technical Desk Officer at the EU LIFE Unit, Catherine Holt from BETA Technology and previous project funding recipients. Attendance is free but must be registered in advance, places are limited and will initially be allocated at one per organisation on a first come, first served basis; you can register here.

 

NERC announce first round of the 2012/13 Follow-on Fund

Applications are invited to NERC’s first round of the 2012/13 Follow-on Fund.

The aim of this scheme is to develop outcomes from previous funding to a stage where commercial opportunities are possible.  The fund is open to researchers in UK universities and research council institutes with current or past research council funding.

Funds are typically requested to further develop the scientific or technical aspects of an idea.  This may be to strengthen the intellectual property position, carry out further market research or investigate possible licensees.

Applications must be made through the JeS system (https://je-s.rcuk.ac.uk/).

The closing date for applications is 4pm, 6 June 2012.

NERC also funds a Follow-on Fund ‘Pathfinder’ scheme to support small-scale, specific activities that can help develop a better understanding of future work needs and may be beneficial when submitting a full Follow-on Fund application.

For more information and contact details go to http://www.nerc.ac.uk/using/schemes/followonfund.asp

The RKE Operations team can help you with your application.

Useful documents

To find out more, please download the documents you need from the list below.

Guidance to applicants

Eligibility and assessment criteria

Specific guidance – ‘Full’ Follow-on Fund

Specific guidance – Follow-on Fund Pathfinder

Moderating panel membership

Guidance for writing supporting letters

Lots of Info Days coming up – register now for a fantastic networking opportunity!

ICT FP7 Info Day:  The European Commission, in collaboration with the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education and the Polish National Contact Point, is organising the ICT Proposers’ Day 2012, to be held in Warsaw on 26 and 27 September 2012. This two day event will provide networking opportunities for researchers interested in submitting proposals to the 2013 Work Programme calls. The event will also offer the chance to present your project ideas, provide first-hand information from European Commission officials, guidance on how to present a successful proposal and much more. The event will be free of charge, but attendees must register in advance. Online networking and registration will open at the end of June.

Health FP7 Info day: The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) will host the UK Open Info Day for the 2013 Health Call on the 16th of May. The event, organised jointly between the NPL, the Healthtech and Medicines KTN and FP7UK, is open to academic researchers, SMEs, Industry, NHS, charities and public bodies, and anyone interested in finding out about the opportunities in this year’s call.Places are free but on a first come first served basis so register quickly if you want to attend!

Environment FP7 Info Day:  booking isn’t yet open but the info day is likely to be 11.06.12 and not 12.06.12 as originally planned.

 

Social Sciences and Humanities FP7 Infoday: This is a training and information day by the UK’s expert advisors (National Contact Points) on FP7- Social Sciences and Humanities, FP7 – Science in Society and HERA (Humanities in the European Research Area).  Each session will include a presentation, case study and Q&A. If you wish to attend the event complete the form below before and return it to Depcoord@soton.ac.uk before 25th May 2012:

Your Name  
Email Address  
University  
Will you be staying for lunch?  
Do you want to arrange a 1:1 with a speaker? If yes please advise details  
Do you have any special dietary requirements?  

 

KBBE (Food, Agriculture, Fisheries & Biotechnology) FP7 Info Day: An open information day and brokerage event will take place on 16 July 2012 in Brussels, Belgium.  The programme will consist of plenary sessions and several parallel workshops on participating in FP7 KBBE. Participants will also be able to exchange information and network at a special session where various service providers will be present.  The conference will bring together research stakeholders, from both the public and private sectors from the EU and Third Countries, together with the Commission, to provide information and to find partners for projects to be funded under the upcoming FP7-KBBE-2013-7 call.

Space FP7 Info Day: COSMOS, the EU Space National Contact Point (NCP) network, will deliver the International Information event on the 2013 FP7 Space Call. This event will take place on 20 and 21 June at the University of Surrey.Participants will be provided with: 

  • first-hand information on the Call content and on future EU Space funding under Horizon 2020;
  • pre-organised as well as spontaneous matchmaking opportunities via face-to-face meetings;
  • short presentations on project ideas and the competencies of potential partners;
  • profile poster session; and
  • spontaneous networking opportunities in a relaxed environment.

It is expected that potential applicants from all over Europe will attend this event. People interested in attending this event are required to register and submit their ‘co-operation profile’ before 10 June.

European Maritime Day 2012: The 2012 edition will be held in Gothenburg, Västra Götaland, Sweden – for the first time in Scandinavia and in the North Sea area. The theme of this year’s conference is “Sustainable growth from the oceans, seas and the coasts: Blue growth”. The purpose is to highlight the importance of the seas and oceans and the challenges facing maritime regions and sectors.

TurKey Enabling Technologies 2012 International Brokerage Event (Istanbul, 25.05.12): This high-level event – which is organised under the scope of TUBITAK’s Turkey in FP7 project – will bring together 300 researchers and organisations involved in: Biotechnology; Advanced Materials; Advanced Manufacturing & Processing; and Space Technologies; with the desire and capability to help overcome a wide range of challenges.

 

Can’t make forthcoming EU Environment events? Don’t worry, you can watch them on ESKTN TV!

The Environmental Sustainability Knowledge Transfer Network’s (KTN) live webstreaming service ESKTN TV is bringing 2 events to you in May to help with your EU activity. And the good news is you don’t have to leave your desk!

On the 11th, they will be in London at the 2012 CIP Eco-innovation funding call UK National Information Day where National Contact Point Ewa Bloch and Astrid Geiger, Deputy Head of Eco-innovation at the Executive Agency for Competitiveness & Innovation (EACI) will tell you everything you need to know about this important funding opportunity for collaborative eco-innovation projects.

On the 16th they will be webcasting from Dublin, where the KARIM IWA WCE 2012 Open Forum is taking place at the World Congress on Water, Climate and Energy. This event will showcase knowledge and emerging technologies for environmental solutions in water and agriculture from Lancaster University, University College Dublin and organizations from across North West Europe, including rapid fire pitches from SMEs with business and research project ideas.

Both events will be covered LIVE on ESKTN TV. You can see preview trailers for both events there now, and on our YouTube channel where you can also catch up on past ESKTN TV recordings.

FP7 FAFB and Environment UK Information Day for 2013 Calls open for bookings!

DEFRA, BBSRC, NERC and the Food Standards Agency are co-hosting a UK Info Day the 2013 FP7 Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, and Biotechnologies (FAFB) and Environment (including climate change) calls on Friday 6 July. The venue is the Royal Pharmaceutical Society in London.  Registration for the event is now open, simply complete and return this Registration Form. There is no charge for this event, and places are limited and will be on a first-come first-served basis.

The information day is designed for everyone interested in these two FP7 thematic areas, in particular those considering submitting a proposal for the 2013 work programme calls. These are scheduled to be published on around 10 July, and will be the last such calls under FP7. The information day will feature:

  • Presentations from the European Commission’s DG Research and Innovation on the 2013 work programmes for the FAFB and Environment themes;
  • Information on the opportunities available in other FP7 schemes, including the “Ideas” (the European Research Council) and “People” (the Marie Curie Actions) programmes;
  • Presentations by FP7 project participants in the FAFB and Environment areas, along with lessons learned about participating in the programme; and
  • An update on Horizon 2020.

The UK National Contact Point for the FAFB and Environment themes will be available all day to provide information and advice on participation in FP7. The event will also provide an opportunity to network with others interested in EU collaborative research.

Portugal & Spain EcoSal Research Trip 24th–31st March 2012

The last week in March, Dr Roger Herbert and Prof Richard Stillman led a research team to collect samples of mud and benthic invertebrates from salinas (saltworking sites) along the Atlantic coast of Portugal and Spain. The BU team comprised five Applied Sciences undergraduates – Caitriona Shannon, Jemma Fowler, Karen Saunders, David Hartnell, and Rebecca Brown – plus research assistant Chris Moody and PhD student Kathryn Ross. The team assisted with mud sampling, sieving, data logging and recording.

The trip was organised as part of the EcoSal Atlantis project – a European Interreg IVb project which is gathering information about the heritage and biodiversity of saltworking sites along the Atlantic Coast of Europe, to inform and promote sustainable management of the sites (http://ecosal-atlantis.ua.pt). The project has partners in Portugal, Spain, France, and the United Kingdom. Prof. Mark Brisbane at Bournemouth University is the UK national co-ordinator.
(http://www.bournemouth.ac.uk/applied-sciences/research/ecosal-atlantis/uk-project.html)

The sites we visited varied from small-scale commercial enterprises to those more focused on tourism and biodiversity conservation, but all sites provided some interesting insights into how management can improve the quality of a site for certain bird species.

The purpose of our trip was to collect information on the diversity and abundance of benthic invertebrate fauna in salinas. At each salina, 3 mud cores were taken from 5 sites within the reservoirs and evaporation ponds to examine the invertebrates and a further core was taken to determine the sediment composition. Samples for benthic invertebrates were sieved on-site and preserved, and further processing and species identification will be done at Bournemouth University. At each site the depth, temperature and salinity were recorded to determine the effect of these factors on invertebrate distributions. Results from the analysis combined with data obtained from other sites sampled in north Portugal, France and in the UK, will help to characterise the benthic fauna of lagoons and salinas and contribute to understanding of the ecological value of the sites.

    

Below is a short summary of the trip, including photographs from each of the sites visited and a list of bird species observed.

We arrived at Lisbon at 19.00 on Saturday 24th, and were greeted at the airport by the EcoSal national coordinator for Portugal, Renato Neves, who accompanied us to our first study site, Salinas dos Samaouco (http://www.salinasdosamouco.pt/), on the Tagus estuary, where we stayed the night at the field centre. Within the first few minutes of waking up in the morning we got spectacular views of black-winged stilts, avocets and an osprey. Butterflies such as the swallowtail were abundant at the site. A flock of juvenile flamingos were feeding in one of the reservoirs.

From Sunday 25th – Tuesday 27th we stayed at the Arocha Trust field centre ‘Cruzhina’, (http://www.arocha.org/pt-en/index.html), where we were warmly welcomed by the Felgueiras family and other staff . Arocha is an international environmental charity that does a lot of bird ringing and other field survey work in the Algarve.

While based at Arocha, we sampled the nearby abandoned Salinas at Odiáxere, where we found Kentish plovers displaying at a potential nesting sites. Black-winged stilts and redshank were also present at the site. Crested lark and corn bunting were also observed close by.

The Salinas at Castro Marim, close to the Portuguese/Spanish border were particularly good for bird life. We observed spoonbills, black-winged stilts, avocets, little stints, dunlin, common and spotted redshank and common sandpiper feeding in the Salinas. Birds of prey were very common and we were treated to some great views of marsh harrier, Bonelli’s eagle and short-toed eagle.

For the remainder of the trip, we stayed at the Los Gallos Hotel in Cadiz. Unfortunately the Spanish weather was not quite as obliging as the Portuguese weather had been, and we spent much of the next few days making sure the wind did not blow away our equipment or the smaller members of the team.

Our first Spanish Salina, San Vicente, in Cadiz http://www.salinasanvicente.es/, was probably the most active site we visited, with mountains of salt and machinery dotted around the site. Slender-billed gulls were common at the site. The site was also a good example of how diversification is important for making Salinas commercially successful – the main building housed a function room that is used for wedding receptions, and a restaurant where the various mixtures of flavoured salt are showcased in the recipes. The premium product, ‘Flor de Sal’ is sold internationally, with Harrods in the UK being a major customer. 

 

It was furiously windy when we did our sampling, but the site manager’s father still assisted us in gathering some samples of Artemia, the small saltwater crustacean that forms an important part of many birds, and is responsible for the pink colour of flamingos.

That same windy afternoon, we were offered a tour of a very different type of salina from Dr. Alejandro Pérez Hurtado  from Cadiz University. La Esperanza Grande salina is partly owned and managed by Cadiz University, and is intensely managed for the benefit of the birds and rigourously monitored to determine the effects of various factors such as water levels, vegetation density, and height of the walls of the ponds, on the birds foraging behaviour and breeding success. From this year it will also be involved with various community projects to tackle the issue of high youth unemployment in Cadiz.

The final site we surveyed, Salina de Chiclana http://www.salinasdechiclana.com/, was also predominantly focussed on education and conservation. There was a marvellous visitor’s centre explaining the process of saltmaking with a lot of information on birds. Like the previous site, Chiclana puts much effort into managing the site for birds. We were lucky enough to have some bee-eaters fly past us as we took our final mud samples for the trip – a perfect end to a memorable week.

Bird list for the trip.

While the Salinas provided us with some excellent views of various waders, wildfowl and gulls, we also took advantage of the time between fieldwork to explore some of the other local avifauna. A few of the species observed on the trip, such as the great and little bustards were ‘life ticks’, even for Richard and Roger, so it was an exciting and educational experience for all of us. The entire list of species observed on the trip is detailed below.

Acknowledgements

Renato Neves , Portugal National co-ordinator;

Márcia Pinto and staff at Samouco Salinas Foundation, Lisbon;

Marcial Felgueiras, Arocha Portugal;

Anabela Resende and Filipe Moniz at Castro Marim;

Manuel Ruiz and staff at Salinas de San Vicente, Cadiz;

Dr. Alejandro Pérez Hurtado from Cadiz University;

Inmaculada Saludo at Salinas de Chiclana, Cadiz;

Lola Alcon Mestre, Fundacion Andanatura, Seville.

 

 Table 1. Bird list for Eco Sal Portugal/Spain trip March 24-31st, 2012.

Common name Latin name Group
Bee-eater Merops Apiaster Bee-eater
Black-winged kite Elanus caeruleus Birds of prey
Bonelli’s Eagle Aquila fasciata Birds of prey
Kestrel Falco tinnunculus Birds of prey
Lesser kestrel Falco naumanni Birds of prey
Marsh harrier Circus aeruginosus Birds of prey
Montagu’s harrier Circus pygargus Birds of prey
Osprey Pandion haliaetus Birds of prey
Red kite Milvus milvus Birds of prey
Short-toed eagle Circaetus gallicus Birds of prey
Corn bunting Emberiza calandra Buntings
Great bustard Otis tarda Bustards
Little bustard Tetrax tetrax Bustards
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo Cormorants
Azure-winged magpie Cyanopica cyanus Crows
Carrion crow Corvus corone Crows
Magpie Pica pica Crows
Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis Finches
Greenfinch Chloris chloris Finches
Linnet Carduelis cannabina Finches
Serin Serinus serinus Finches
Black-headed gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus Gulls
Great black-backed gull Larus marinus Gulls
Slender-billed gull Chroicocephalus genei Gulls
Yellow-legged gull Larus michahellis Gulls
Cattle egret Bubulcus ibis Herons, storks, flamingos, spoonbills
Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus Herons, storks, flamingos, spoonbills
Grey heron Ardea cinerea Herons, storks, flamingos, spoonbills
Little egret Egretta garzetta Herons, storks, flamingos, spoonbills
Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia Herons, storks, flamingos, spoonbills
White stork Ciconia ciconia Herons, storks, flamingos, spoonbills
Hoopoe Upupa epops Hoopoe
Common waxbill Estrilda astrild Introduced & escapees
Rose-ringed parakeet Psitticula krameri Introduced & escapees
Crested lark Galerida cristata Larks
Short-toed lark Calandrella brachydactyla Larks
Thekla lark Galerida theklae Larks
Barn owl Tyto alba Owls
Pheasant Phasianus colchicus Partridges & Pheasants
Quail* Cotumix coturnix Partridges & Pheasants
Red-legged partridge Alectoris rufa Partridges & Pheasants
Feral pigeon Columba livia Pigeons & Doves
Stock dove Columba oenas Pigeons & Doves
Wood pigeon Columba polumbus Pigeons & Doves
Coot Fulica atra Rails & Crakes
Moorhen Gallinula chloropus Rails & Crakes
House sparrow Passer domesticus Sparrows
Spotless starling Sturnus unicolor Starlings
Starling Sturnus vulgaris Starlings
Barn swallow Hirundo rustica Swallows and martins
House martin Delichon urbicum Swallows and martins
Swift Apus apus Swifts
Sandwich tern Sterna sandvicensis Terns
Blackbird Turdus merula Thrushes
Stonechat Saxicola torquatus Thrushes
Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe Thrushes
Great tit Parus major Tits
Avocet (pied) Recurvirostra avocetta Waders
Black-tailed godwit Limosa limosa Waders
Black-winged stilt Himantopus himantopus Waders
Common sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos Waders
Dunlin Calidris alpina Waders
Greenshank Tringa nebularia Waders
Grey plover Pluvialis squatorola Waders
Kentish plover Charadrius alexandrinus Waders
Little ringed plover Charadrius dubius Waders
Little stint Calidris minuta Waders
Redshank Tringa totanus Waders
Ringed plover Charadrius hiaticula Waders
Spotted redshank Tringa erythropus Waders
Turnstone Arenaria interpres Waders
White (pied) wagtail Motacilla alba Wagtails
Yellow wagtail Motacilla flava Wagtails
Cetti’s warbler* Cettia cetti Warblers
Fan-tailed warbler Cisticola juncidis Warblers
Sardinian warbler Sylvia melanocephala Warblers
Gadwall Anas strepera Wildfowl
Garganey Anas querquedula Wildfowl
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos Wildfowl
Shoveler Anas clypeata Wildfowl
Wren Troglodytes troglodytes Wren

*heard only

This repoirt was written by BU PhD student Kathryn Ross. All photos are courtesy of Kathryn Ross and Chris Moody.

EU Green Week Conference 2012 – a great opportunity to network for Partners

The 12th annual Green Week (the biggest annual conference on European environment policy) will take place from 22 to 25 May 2012 in Brussels. Last year’s Green Week conference attracted over three thousand participants from government, business and industry, non-governmental organisations, academia and the media.
This year’s theme is ‘Water’. There will be over 40 sessions overall, including a sessionon the afternoon of the 24 May on European Innovation Partnerships (EIPs), which will focus on the proposed EIPs for Water and for Sustainable Agriculture, both of which are currently under development; and two sessions on “Science in support of evidence-based environmental policy making (Part I)”, which are being held in partnership with the Commission’s Directorate General for Research and Innovation (DG RTD).
If you are looking to network, this is a fantastic place to do so!