European Facility For Airborne Research

European Facility For Airborne Research April 24, 2017, 03:36

Guidelines for tutors


1. Introduction

One of the major goals of Transnational Access to research aircraft in EUFAR FP7 is to promote a higher level of scientific impact of the projects to which funding is allocated. A number of mechanisms have been put in place to assist this process before the proposals are eventually presented to the independent reviewers.

The first change implemented is that proposals have a pre-review stage in which they are presented to tutors of the EUFAR Expert Working Groups, who provide feedback to the applicants on improvements to, for example, their choices of instruments and measurements, their selected measurement strategy, and their data analysis and interpretation plans. In addition, the proposals are circulated to all of the TA aircraft operators. The purpose of this is to allow the operators to suggest to the applicants opportunities for clustering their projects with existing field campaigns that may be funded through the operator’s national funding schemes. The potential benefits of clustering in this way are threefold: i) to put the TA applicants in contact with a larger community of scientists, ii) to allow them to benefit from transit flight hours to get the selected aircraft to the desired location that are already funded, and iii) to allow them to remain in the field for a longer period and hence have the best opportunity to exploit optimum conditions for their TA flying.

Following these pre-review stages, the applicants have an opportunity to modify their proposals in the light of the advice received, and these will generally be presented to the independent reviewers in this modified form.

It is anticipated that in most circumstances TA applications will be allocated between 10 and 15 hours of flight time. This is not, however, a firm restriction. Where a project shows the ability to achieve a very high scientific impact, and especially where can benefit a large user group (including projects scientists and any students who will be involved), then it will be possible for flight time to be allocated in excess of the normal. Reviewers are completely free to make their own judgments and recommendations on this point.

It is expected that early on during EUFAR FP7 there will be a special call for proposals that will involve the development and operation of new airborne instruments. Successful proposals will be able to demonstrate the perceived demand for and potential scientific impact of the new instrument or measurement technique. The same review process will be used for these as for standard airborne science proposals.

Finally, it is also expected that TA funding will be available for the conduct of summer schools in aspects of airborne geoscience and measurements. Proposals for such summer schools will be made by the prospective organizer. Such summer school proposals are envisaged to be the primary mechanism by which EUFAR TA funding is used to provide training in airborne geoscience and measurements. The main criteria for the allocation of funding will be quality and relevance of the proposed teaching program together with the number of students who will be accommodated. The independent review process for such
summer school applications will be modified accordingly.


 2. Information for Discussion with Applicants

As noted above, one aspect that tutors should consider is the possibility of clustering the proposed TA project either with others or with projects that are already supported by national or other EC research funding. The other major aspect of tutoring is to help TA applicants, especially those who are new to the use of research aircraft, to develop the scientific quality of their proposals. Hence, tutors will wish to consider and discuss with the applicants any or all of these factors:

  • Are the scientific aims of the project clearly stated?
  • Is an aircraft the most appropriate platform for obtaining the required measurements?
  • Is the instrumentation that is proposed to be operated appropriate to the task and being utilised in the correct way?
  • Are the flight patterns that are proposed the most appropriate to acquire the necessary measurements?
  • Does the data analysis plan pay appropriate attention to any issues that may arise due to instrument operating limitations, calibrations issues etc.?
  • Does the project require any special weather or ground surface conditions and if so, does the field observation plan consider where or how these conditions might be met?
  • Is there a reasonable probability that the project can acquire sufficient data to address its scientific aims within the proposed operating period?

It is emphasised that tutoring is separate from the independent scientific review that will be undertaken on a proposal and so it is not a requirement for Tutors to respond to all of these points. However, they are encouraged to provide as much information as possible. Tutors will not be invited to be reviewers on the same project.

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This project has received funding from the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no. 312609

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