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Integrative activities | Working groups

Working Groups

Working Groups provided an additional means (over and above funded projects) for QUEST to promote co-operative research, involving different types of institution, usually with a strong international component, and engaging research users as well as scientists wherever appropriate. Each Working Group deals with a well-focused, cross-cutting topic and has a set end product. Although some deal with highly technical topics, all Working Groups were informed by an awareness of the potential social and policy significance of their topic. Many were co-sponsored by other organisations and funding bodies, e.g. Defra, the Environment Agency, the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme, Volkswagen, etc.

  1. Abrupt climate changes (Maria Fernanda Sanchez-Goñi) Co-sponsored by CNRS
  2. Adaptation in the coastal zone (Sarah Cornell, Wolfgang Knorr) Co-sponsored by ECF, IGBP-LOICZ
  3. Biodiversity and climate change (Jo House, Marko Scholze, Andy Stott - Defra). Co-sponsored by Defra.
  4. Boundary layer processes (Sarah Cornell, Laurens Ganzeveld). Possible co-sponsorship by IGBP-iLEAPS.
  5. Climate change and uplands (Jo House and Harriet Orr). Co-sponsored by the Environment Agency.
  6. Climate prediction for robust policy making (Jo House)
  7. Dust and Climate (Barbara Maher) Co-sponsored by IGBP-PAGES, INQUA (proposed)
  8. Dynamics of grazing systems (Colin Prentice)
  9. Fire/Global Palaeofire (Wolfgang Knorr, Sandy Harrison). "Fast Track Initiative" (FTI) co-sponsored by IGBP
  10. Green Ocean modelling (Corinne Le Quéré). Co-sponsored by EUR-OCEANS
  11. Human dimensions of Earth System modelling (Colin Prentice, Sarah Cornell) Royal Society
  12. Hydrological cycle (Colin Prentice, Julia Slingo, Ed Maltby).
  13. PFC (Plant functional classification) (Colin Prentice). "Fast track initiative" (FTI) co-sponsored by IGBP, Diversitas.
  14. PIMMS - Pinatubo Interdisciplinary Multi-Model Study - (Oliver Wild)
  15. PMIP/PCMIP (Palaeoclimate Modelling Intercomparison Project) - (Paul Valdes, Sandy Harrison)
  16. QUAVIDA (Fire, vegetation and climate change in Australasia) (Sandy Harrison). Co-sponsored by the Australia-New Zealand (ARC-NZ) Research Network on Vegetation Function.
  17. Sustainable biofuels (Marko Scholze, Wolfgang Knorr). Co-sponsored by Volkswagen.
  18. Visualisation (Pru Foster)

Modus Operandi

Modus Operandi Working Groups were initiated and led by core team members and/or QUEST Integration Team (ITeam) members, or other scientists they designated. They were funded from the QUEST core team budget, with organisational and logistical support provided by the Core Team.

Working Groups were designed to be deliberately flexible to facilitate the participation of a wide range of scientists and stakeholders with different time commitments. However, the style and format broadly conform to international best practice as developed e.g. by the ARC-NZ Research Network on Vegetation Function (http://www.vegfunction.net/) in Sydney, Australia, the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, NCEAS (http://www.nceas.ucsb.edu/) in Santa Barbara, California, and the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, NESCENT. QUEST Working Groups specifically aimed to produce one or more well-defined outcome or "product " of high scientific value, such as a key data set, a new prototype model or a high-profile synthesis, that was thought would otherwise be unlikely to emerge in the near future. The groups were expected to engage world-class expertise in the fields needed to generate the product.

Ancillary - but nonetheless important - "community building" outcomes of many Working Groups include the promotion of (a) new collaborations within the UK, and (b) closer engagement of UK Earth System scientists, projects and institutions with the international global change programmes (International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme, IGBP; World Climate Research Programme, WCRP; International Human Dimensions Programme, IHDP; DIVERSITAS; and the Earth System Science Partnership, ESSP, which links these bodies).