The UK – China programme met in Nanjing on the 25th and 26th April 2017 to discuss the future path of the UK- China Critical Zone Observatory Research Programme. The meeting was hosted by Chinese Academy of Science, Institute of Soil Science, China and organised by both NSF China and NERC, UK. 13 scientists attended the meeting from the UK and 59 from across China. We were also fortunate to have Prof. Lui from NSFC, Amy Vitale and Jodie Mitchell from NERC and Grace Lang from RCUK attend.
The workshop aimed to bring together the principle scientists in the current NERC-NSFC Programme on Critical Zone Observatories to develop the forward five-year agenda for CZ science and the programmes position. The meeting had two main tasks.
Firstly to agree on the future key science questions.
A session questioned if the five main challenge questions agreed on in the May 2015 meeting in Bejing are still relevant today. After discussing in three break groups the consensus was that these challenges are still relevant though could potentially be reordered and simplified. The five challenges reordered are listed below:
- The Response, Resilience, and Recovery of the CZ to Perturbations of Environmental Change
- Mechanistic linkages in flows and transformations of energy, material and genetic information across the vertical and geospatial extent of catchments and aquifers as ecological-geophysical units
- Model Hindcasting of CZ Evolution, Interpreting the Present, Forecasting Future Change and Global Impacts
- Quantitative 3D characterisation of the critical zone including fluxes and reservoirs.
- Common Observations, International Governance and Data Coordination of International CZO Networks
Challenge 2 and 3 support the main challenge (1) with the understanding needed while 4 and 5 provide the unpinned support to the other 3 challenges.
The second workshop session had 2 questions:
- What should we focus on – to understand the past in order to interpret the present and forecast trajectories?
- What societal challenges and human interactions with critical zone can be addressed by an international programme which tackles the 3R’s.
NERC Phase 2 Call
The second task of the meeting was to start thinking and working together on a submission to the Phase 2 NERC call. NERC had recently announced a call for proposals for Phase 2 of the UK- China CZO programme. The call is focused on innovation and impacts of the science knowledge gained during Phase 1 of the programme.
Amy Vitale and Jodie Mitchell from NERC introduce a session to help make us think around the focus of the Phase 2 call. The recent NERC funding call for the Phase 2 of CZO focus’ heavily on adding value and increasing impact. The proposal deadline was 8 weeks after the meeting thus a good time to think about the stakeholders and what the research programme could provide them.
This was followed by open discussions about possible proposal ideas.
The report for this meeting can be downloaded in the data centre on this website or from here: NANJING_FINAL_REPORT