September 19th an expert panel and representatives from the Research Council of Norway (RCN) visited the Centre. The site visit lasted from 09:00 till 15:00, and during these six hours, the panel got to meet both the management team, industry partners, PhDs and postdocs and other collaborators.
The panel who is evaluating the Centre consists of five experts within different fields of academia:
- Generalist: Alison McKay (professor in engineering design), University of Leeds
- Geology: Fridtjof Riis, Norwegian Petroleum Directorate
- Reservoir technology: Craig Smalley, Imperial College
- Geophysics: Angus Best, National Oceanography Center
- Environmental risks: Ingela Dahllöf, University of Gothenburg
The purpose of the mid-term evaluation is to make sure that the Centre is producing relevant research and that the collaboration within the Centre including all partners and national/international collaborators is well functioning. This evaluation will form the basis for determining whether funding from the Research Council will be continued for an additional three years following the initial five-year period.
On the agenda this day were two different interview sessions. In the first session the panel asked questions about research, internationalization, researcher training and recruitment, and plans for the final three years and beyond. In the second interview session the topics were organization, partners and funding, relevance and utility for users and relevance to the call and special stipulations.
In between these sessions the panel met ten of the Centre's PhD students and postdocs. They had all prepared for a one minute stand up about their research. Dissemination and presenting skills are one of the priorities at the Centre, thus have the students attended several seminars on this subject.
The panel also got a tour of the facilities at University of Stavanger.
The further process
September 21st the same panel is visiting another centre, Arcex in Tromsø. When the site visits are done, the panel will go through both centres' self evaluations and other relevant documents – in addition to the information they got at the site visits. In December we get the «verdict»; green, yellow or red light. If green, the Centre can continue the work as before. If yellow, the panel want some changes for the last three years. If red, the Centre will not continue its work.
"Even though the decision from the panel is months ahead, the panel seemed pleased with what they saw at the site visit. We are definitely ready for an additional three years period with excellent IOR research," says Merete Vadla Madland, centre director – her fingers crossed.
Text and photo: Kjersti Riiber