Danish Society for Atmospheric Research




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Previous conferences:

October 2002

November 2001 

November 2000 

October 1999


DSAR meeting summary and recommendations

The DSAR conference was structured with a series of themes, spanning the basic and applied atmospheric sciences, and research strategy. Climate, meteorological modelling, micrometeorology, wind energy, and air pollution, each were well represented across various themes. Presentations were in general of a high quality. Solid participation by the Danish Meteorological Institute, National Environmental Research Institute, University of Odense, Risø, and the University of Copenhagen - CU were noted among the participation list. In addition, visiting scientists from Russia, Italy, and Germany were among the participants.

In the afternoon of the second day of the conference, a panel discussion convened in order to discuss various aspects of the atmospheric sciences in Denmark, and to provide a synopsis of the status of the research capacity and opportunities. Members of the panel were Gary Geernaert (DMU), Søren Larsen (Risø), Flemming Nicolaiesen (University of Copenhagen), Marianne Glasius (University of Odense), and Jens Rostrup-Nielsen (Haldor Topsøe). The panel discussion was lead by Aksel Walløe Hansen (University of Copenhagen).

The following general conclusions were made
  • There was overwhelming broad support for the DSAR concept, and the community of scientists present advocated a repeat performance in 2000. Thematic sessions hosted by various institutions was strongly encouraged. All ideas were requested to be sent directly to any member of the steering committee, with a copy to the secretary of DSAR.
  • Denmark has a strong research community, covering a wide range of subjects. For example, DMI, DMU, and Risø have strong internationally recognized research programs, and training within the two universities was recognized to be of high quality. Scientific productivity in the form of journal articles is relatively strong.
  • Most researchers have placed a higher priority on international collaborations, not domestic collaborations. This is perhaps a consequence of the funding sources, which require strong international profiling of research activities over domestic collaboration. The DSAR community therefore has a reputation of not collaborating at the national level, and the community is on appearance uncoordinated. This may be illustrated by a Ministry of Research evaluation of the Danish research capacity, two years ago, where the atmospheric sciences were not even noticed. This implied either the lack of interest (or knowledge) within the Ministry of Research in the atmospheric sciences, and/or the lack of expertise in the atmospheric (or related) sciences among the Ministry’s research panels. This poses an identity problem for atmospheric sciences at the ministry level in Denmark.
  • The universities are under stress. The demand for PhD’s is going up, and the number of faculty is going down. There are also limited resources for financing PhD studies, with diminishing resources. With socioeconomics and technology driving Danish science policy, a new mode of defining PhD studies in the atmospheric sciences will be required. In this context, COGCI has been formulated as a prototype academic organization within CU, with a strategy to integrate sector institutes in the training of PhD’s, and integrating disciplines more closely. Ole John Nielsen is the point of contact.
  • The job market generally demands a degree of PhD in atmospheric sciences. Except for DMI (who hires Bachelor and MSc level scientists), there are fewer and fewer opportunities for bachelor and MSc level scientists in Denmark. Hence, the discipline has difficulty attracting university students.
  • The general reduction of basis funding in sector institutes has resulted in increased demands on scientists to sell their ideas to a variety of sponsors. It was agreed that experience should be given to PhD students, both from the universities and from sector institutes, in scientific writing and presenting in both Danish and English.
  • It was highlighted that Denmark is weak in some of the atmospheric subjects which are gaining in scientific importance in both the environmental and climate-related sciences, e.g., cloud physics and cloud chemistry. A strategy was suggested to be developed during the next year, in order to address this deficiency.
  • It was agreed that an optimum for successful scientists would involve roughly 65% level of effort on active research, 25% on maintaining scientific expertise, and 10% on proposal writing. It was agreed research managers should give serious effort to assure that the level of 65% will be maintained, in spite of decreasing basis funding to sector research institutes. As was pointed out by many, the funding to sustain this optimum level of scientific production is in decline, and the efficiency of science has a downward tendency. The distribution of effort within the universities was acknowledged to be different from the 65-25-10 percentages expected of the sector institutes, due to inborn teaching priorities within the universities.
Some suggestions for 2000
  • Consideration of an annual one-day meeting, plus half-day thematic meetings held throughout the year. In the annual one-day meetings, a broad public talk (with journalists) should be given. This could be followed by overview talks of 45 minutes, where the subject matter is directed to the whole audience. Overview talks should summarize the state of the art, deficiency of knowledge, and strategic questions; posters could supplant the major overview papers in a coordinated fashion.
  • Themes could change, in order to emphasize hot scientific topics, based on deficiency of knowledge, new challenges, opportunities, etc. Examples are: toxic air pollutants, particulates, modelling, traffic, wind energy potential, etc.