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Insight } Research: SAMPLE– Research on the Continental Margins

Issue 02/11

} Success-Story: Geotechmarket takes flight

} Media: How to deal with Jounalists

} Interview: Cooperation between Science and Industry

SAMPLE – a prime example of interdisciplinary research A guest post by Prof. Michael Weber (GFZ, Potsdam)

or lowering processes in the land mass also determine the erosion rate. Analysis of sediment cores and seismic data show how this relationship works in detail and what the quantitative proportions of the individual processes are. The deposition of sediment into the South Atlantic also has an impact on the marine circulation patterns in the region. The way in which regional and national trends have changed is examined by

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Ryberg, GFZ, Potsdam

The South Atlantic is the focus of the DFG priority program SAMPLE (SPP 1357: South Atlantic Margin Processes and Links with Onshore Evolution). Here, where 200 million years ago a new ocean opened up, the interactions between tectonics, climate, sedimentation and sea currents are interdisciplinarily investigated. Researchers from the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ), the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR), the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) and the Leibniz Institute for Marine Sciences (IFMGEOMAR) and various universities are involved here. An important aspect of this research is the investigation of dynamic processes in the mantle. Information on the composition and the mechanisms of magma ascent are essential for understanding the breakup of Gondwana and thus the origin of the Atlantic. To date, surfacing crustal material and hot spots in the South Atlantic deliver various questions in this regard. In addition, the structures of the crust and upper mantle are to be investigated. The quantitative determination of lithology, stratigraphy and structure of today's coastal areas in a 3D model will help in reconstructing the geological evolution. The erosion of rocks on land and transport of the resulting sediments gives an insight into the climatic history of the region. The interaction between climate variation and tectonic processes is of particular interest. In addition to the variations in rainfall, elevation

Dear GEOTECHNOLOGIEN programme partners,

the topic »Earth system – life« is to be addressed by the R & D program GEOTECHNOLOGIEN in the near future. Our concept script »Guaranteeing the future for man and the earth« already discussed the most important issues of this topic. But in order to specifically develop ideas on the subject, over 20 scientists from various disciplines and institutes met at MARUM in Bremen for a round table discussion in early May. The main topic was the various and sometimes very extreme habitats. Many processes occur in the border area between the geosphere and biosphere and will now be explored in a detailed manner, as they are essential for understanding the Earth as a system. In this context the anthropogenic influence on the different processes must also be understood and evaluated to plan sustainable, responsible actions for the future. Currently a tender by the BMBF with the scientists involved in the round table is being prepared. We will inform you about the public notice in due time.

Sincerely, Ute Muench

Impressum: Coordination Office GEOTECHNOLOGIEN, Telegrafenberg, 14473 Potsdam, Germany, Tel.: +49 (0)331 288 1071, www.geotechnologien.de, Dr. Ute Münch (VisdP) GEOTECHNOLOGIEN is a geoscientific research and development programme, supported by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) and the German Research Foundation (DFG). You can find our newsletter in both English and German in the download area. Our newsletter is published twice yearly. Should you no longer be interested in receiving this newsletter, simply send us an email at: info@geotechnologien.de Picture Source Header (left to right): SAMPLE-SPP.de, H. J. Boldt, J. Glass, clix Issue: 2/2011

Technology transfer gets a boost – completion funding a valuable instrument

Completion funding for marketing promising new technical developments from GEOTECHNOLOGIEN has been very positive and will be made possible in the programmes major research area »Mineral Surfaces«. This already enabled two projects to successfully apply for additional funding. The additional funding must be applied to develop research results into marketable prototypes for application on an industrial scale. This is the second funding of this type by the BMBF. Previously three projects from the major research area »Early Warning Systems« used this funding to optimise their individual technologies for further development together with industry partners as well as adaptating them for new applications. Amongst other things, the technology platform Geotechmarket supported the projects with market research and scouting for suitable industry partners. For example, information flyers were created and potential customers identified and contacted through industry exhibitions. Swift, early networking helps subsequently to integrate the expectations and requirements formulated by companies into the pre-industrial production processes. Thus sensor systems for landslide monitoring were adapted to oversee a ship lift. Initial tests reveal that the customer’s expectations are being successfully met. The technologies developed in »Mineral Surfaces« now have a chance to demonstrate their market suitability. Should this funding also help to reach its aimed target, it would be highly desirable to establish this promotion opportunity from the BMBF permanently in GEOTECHNOLOGIEN. ¢

... continued report SAMPLE a further focus group. For details and insights into the current research in SPP 1357, visit the website www.sample-spp.de. The understanding of the various geological processes along continental margins is of enormous importance, because key raw-materials are prevalent here. These regions are also prone to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis and erosion damage. Therefore these aspects have been promoted in GEOTECHNOLOGIEN both by the BMBF the DFG as well as the EU. ¢


PD Dr. Cornelius Fischer

Who is Who – Young Scientists In this issue of Insight the coordinators of junior research groups introduce themselves. They head their joint projects with great success.

completed his post-doctoral studies this year at the University of Göttingen and currently leads a junior research group within the GEOTECHNOLOGIEN research programme „Mineral Surfaces“. Previously he investigated the kinetic aspects of rock weathering as a fellow of the A. v. Humboldt Foundation at the Rice University (Houston). He is now proceeding with this research as the assistant professor of this research cooperation. The reactivity of rough, structured minerals and rock surfaces with colloids is the focus of his current investigations. On the one hand, these results show useful application for the retention prognosis of colloid-bound pollutants on rock surfaces. On the other hand, this work delivers impulses for basic research, in particular the investigation of diagenesis processes. ¢

Dr. Simone Cesca studied physics at the University of Milan (Italy) and completed his doctorate in 2005 at the Universidad Complutense Madrid (Spain). After that he worked at the University of Hamburg and the BGR in Hannover. His research dealt mainly with the development and application inverse algorithms for tectonically induced volcanoes and earthquakes. Dr. Cesca has lead the junior research group MINE in the GEOTECHNOLOGIEN programme »Tomography of the Earth’s Crust« since July 2010. The research topic of the MINE project is the development and implementation of methods for continual waveform analysis and inversion for monitoring and characterising mining areas, mines and reservoirs with the aim of tracking small scale weakness areas and pressure changes. ¢

Dr. Kilian Pollok is a mineralogist and head of the GEOTECHNOLOGIEN junior research group MIMOS at the Bavarian Geo-Institute in Bayreuth. After his doctorate at the University of Münster in 2005 he worked at the Institute for Geoscience of the University of Jena. MIMOS investigates the influence of microstructure on changes in sulphides. The aim is to better understand the release and mobility of toxic elements from sulphides. Major topics are the characterisation of crystal structures, boundary areas and nano-particles with the help of transmission electron microscopy and the role of micro-organisms on sulphide decomposition. From mid-2011 Dr. Pollok will continue his work at the chair for Analytical Mineralogy of Micro- and Nanostructure at the University of Jena. ¢

GEOTECHNOLOGIEN on the Social Web Since the 1st of June the research and development programme GEOTECHNOLOGIEN is now available on Facebook. Up to date information and events from the geosciences but also discussions and comments from users will help make research and development in the joint projects of the programme more transparent for the general public. Links to current news from German as well as international partners and organisations will help »friends« to stay informed about the latest news in the geo-community


Museum Karlsruhe, E. Harms

On the Road

INTERGEO Guided tours for school classes, »Die Erde im Visier« (The Earth in focus) in Karlsruhe

Touring Exhibition– an interim report The first ten months of the tour have already shown that the current traveling exhibition »Die Erde im Visier« (The Earth in focus) fits seamlessly into the successful series of exhibition projects of the coordination office GEOTECHNOLOGIEN. The new show, with exhibits from satellite

technology, hands-on objects from research and fascinating photographs and visuals attracted over 80,000 visitors alone at the first location in Munich. The exhibition runs until 28th of August 2011 at the Museum of Natural History in Karlsruhe. Then from the 16th of September 2011 to 15th of April 2012 in Bochum Observatory before the tour continues to Kiel and Chemnitz. www.die-erde-im-visier.de ¢

Scientific public relations Key findings and exciting topics are presented on both project websites as well as through GEOTECHNOLOGIEN. The coordination office is happy to support you in building your website. Mail us at: geotech@geotechnologien. de ¢

Calendar }



4 - 7th September »Fragile Earth« in Munich GEOTECHNOLOGIEN session, lecture on public relations, information stand GEOTECHNOLOGIEN 16th September Opening "Die Erde im Visier" (The Earth in Focus) in the Bochum observatory 20th - 21st September Status seminar »CO2« Phase II, GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Potsdam 27th - 29th September INTERGEO in Nurnberg exhibit on satellite technology



11th Oktober 2011 Status seminar »Space« Phase III, University Stuttgart


11th -13th October aqua alta fair in Hamburg, Presentation of the sensor system alpEWAS


22nd October Night of Science, Erlangen, information booth GEOTECHNOLOGIE


5th -9th December AGU Fall Meeting, e.g. »Earth Science Communication in a Changing Media Landscape«, Deadline for abstracts 4th August 2011

GEOTECHNOLOGIEN will be at the INTERGEO in Nurnberg in the form of a video installation and information boards etc. about the satellite missions CHAMP, GRACE, GOCE and SWARM . ¢

aqua alta Between October 11th and 13th, 2011 Geotechmarket will be presenting the innovative GNSS system, which was developed under the project alpEWAS (TU Munchen) at the international trade fair for climate change, flood protection and water aqua alta in Hamburg. This trade presence is an important step in order to report on the monitoring of river and coastal dikes with the help of sensor systems. ¢

Night of Science Nights of Science (Lange Nacht der Wissenschaft), or similar events are meeting with increasing public interest in. If you would like to present your project, GEOTECHNOLOGIEN can SUPPORT you with the preparation or participate if necessary in your Presentation/Stand. Mail us at: geotech@geotechnologien. de ¢

GEOTECHNOLOGIEN in Conversation ‌ with Dr. Rolf Becker cost sensor for irrigation applications which was assisted by the University of Mannheim with a thesis. Another project with the University of Hohenheim had the aim to develop a humidity sensor that could be pulled through a field like a plow. You can see from these examples the distinctions and differences between R&D at universities and companies are diffuse.

GEOTECH: Who benefits from integrating R & D projects with partners from science and industry? Companies, universities or do both partners draw a positive balance in the end? Dr. Rolf Becker is a former development manager for the environmental department of IMKO Micromodultechnik GmbH and currently professor for Communication and Environment at the University RhineWaal in Kleve and Kamp-Linfort. He is familiar with both sides of research and development projects: not just the industrial requirements but also the scientific expectations.

GEOTECH: Mr. Becker, you have made the leap from industry into university research. What differences have you noticed between research and development departments in industry compared with universities? Becker: There is no clear answer to this question as research and development activities are highly individual, both in industry and in universities. There are for example companies who concentrate solely on application-oriented development and there are those who invest in basic-research departments which are hardly distinguishable from research and development laboratories in universities. Conversely, at universities both academic issues are handled as well as specific research and development contracts from companies. The company, for which I worked was, and is still active in several R&D projects. One case involved the development of a low-

Becker: For SMEs, well selected research and development projects can be very valuable in order to develop new technologies and to implement prototypes, which can be rapidly expanded if necessary to marketable products. Frequently, however, the means of an SME to apply R&D projects is critically viewed, because application and approval often takes too long to fullfil short-term goals. Furthermore, the extensive reporting requirements can also be an obstacle. The success of a joint research project depends largely on the project management and the team that forms from the individual project partners. Amongst the important questions in this context, in my opinion are: Is there a chemistry between the partners? How intensive is the communication? Are the "right" partners on board, i.e. are the necessary competencies for all the objectives of the project available? Is the project plan well thought out? Are the individual goals clearly stated and responsibilities clarified? If the team spirit and the project plan are okay, success is very likely and all parties can draw a positive balance.

GEOTECH: In the GEOTECHNOLOGIEN you were involved in the research area ÂťEarly warning systems against natural hazardsÂŤ. How would you evaluate the cooperation between

science and industry in the ILEWS Project (Integrative Landslide Early Warning System) today, at the end of the projekt funding? Becker: Due to the integrated nature of the project the consortium consisted of the specialists from different disciplines: hardware developers, computer scientists, geophysicists, historians, geographers, physical and social geographers, to name just a few. For me, an exciting mix of interesting people from areas with which I partly had so far professionally little to do, and from which I have personally learned a lot. The frequent project meetings contributed significantly to team building. The language and the academic interest of the scientists themselves sometimes differ from those of practical necessity-oriented companies. It is important here to learn to respect your partner, to listen to him, accept his position and understand his language. We managed to do this very well. The cooperation between the project partners in the project was extraordinarily good, even though the key position of project co-ordinator responsible for the project for the guidance had been stricken. This function was then taken on by a member of the scientific staff with appropriate skills, an enormous task alongside his dayto-day scientific duties.

GEOTECH: Who had the initial idea for the ILEWS project? Did the project proposal come from the scienctists or rather from industry? Becker: The main impetus for the initiation of the project came from the universities that could demonstrate the actual need for such an early warning system. The companies involved clearly benefited from this. The industry partners provided, operated and further developed technology, and processed scientific questions sometimes in collaboration with colleagues from the universities. The companies gain valuable insights through the practical application of new technologies in the field, that are then incorporated into the cyclic development process. Scientists and industry partners ... continued on the next page

... continued conversation with Dr. R. Becker

have thus advanced the early-warning-systems together with mutual benefit. The company I worked for a time, has its strategic objectives for which it has joined the research group, was fully achieved. in my eyes, ILEWS is a perfect example of a successful cooperation between universities and companies.

users and customers in the market. To what extent do you incorporate these insights into your teaching and research activities? How do your students benefit from your practical know-how? Are there perhaps tips you can give to your students for spinoffs or technology transfer?

GEOTECH: From your practical experience you know the requirements of

Becker:The University of the Rhine-Waal puts great emphasis on communication, cooperation and intercultural competence in all its courses. Therefore appropriate

communication abilities are also essential for the organisation's internal exchange. An organisation must be able to rely on the cooperative capabilities of its employees in order to be efficient and successful. With respect to spin-offs I can only recommend students, to take advantage of offers where they can develop their entrepreneurial skills and while studying to ask themselves at an early stage whether self-employment is an option. It is one thing having a good idea, marketing it is a completely different challenge. ¢

K. Peterson

Me and the Media – How to deal with the media

Geoscience is »in«. Newsrooms and independent journalists are now clearly recognising that geoscience plays a leading role in the 21st century. Therefore, geoscientists and geologists are now more often in contact with the media. To successfully take advantage of effective public relations some basic principles should be adhered to. We would like to give you some tips on dealing with journalists: When distributing press releases the key to accessibility is including a direct contact with clear contact information (phone extension and email address) in it. It is also important that your contact details can be found on the website of your institution or company – there, where the journalist would expect to find you as an expert of that area. If the journalist doesn’t find your contact details, he often –under extreme time pressure– moves on to the next available expert. Deliver information reliably. Journalists often require more background information than already on offer. Then quickly gather these facts together. Try not to promise journalists anything you cannot deliver in a timely manner. Otherwise, you will quickly lose credibility and disappear from their list of experts. Accept the journalistic approach. Journalists are usually neutral and report independently. If you are invited to an interview (in person or by phone) you assume that the journalist does not want to »blow you away«. The journalist usually wants to maintain a sustained contact with you. A fascinating subject is –after all– gold

for a journalist. If you can provide everyday life applications from your research, then present them, because relevance is often the key. On controversial topics, give journalists the opportunity to learn a different standpoint as opposed to yours. Refer to criticised or controversial elements of your work. This not only increases your reputation – but also gives an additional motive for journalists to present the issue sustainably in the media. If you are not sure you can provide the right answers to a journalist’s questions then state so clearly. Possibly refer to colleagues and other research partners who might be more familiar with the point in question. Make the limits of your expertise clear, the journalist will be grateful. Do not expect that the journalist to present his final article to you for »correction«. But do offer to look over the finished article. Often errors and misunderstandings sneak into the article.

In the download section of the website of the R&D program GEOTECHNOLOGIEN you can find a tip sheet as a pdf file on dealing with journalists. www.geotechnologien.de ¢