The workshop "Future LIAG" was an essential measure for the further development of the institute in terms of the future line of research. Among the guests were the President of the German Geophysical Society, Prof. Dr. Heidrun Kopp, and Prof. Dr. Hildegard Westphal from the Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research, former Scientific Vice-President of the Leibniz Association. Together with other personalities from the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy, from Lower Saxony's ministries (MW and MWK) as well as from Helmholtz institutes and from universities they discussed the future research direction of LIAG. The workshop discussion was based on future concepts developed by LIAG as well as on concepts from the external guests, on the basis of the evaluation recommendation of the Leibniz Association Senate. The existing methodological expertise, equipment, and the entire infrastructure of LIAG were also taken into account.
"With the involvement of external scientific experts, we are striving for a new positioning of the institute with a unique and permanent distinguishing feature in the research landscape", explains Prof. Dr. Manfred Frechen, Acting Director of LIAG. "The workshop serves the committees as an important basis for future decisions on research strategy. With this collaboration, we are jointly directing our sights forward in a targeted manner".
For Dr. Berend Lindner, State Secretary of the Ministry of Economics, Labor, Transport and Digitalisation of Lower Saxony, the workshop is a decisive step towards the new orientation of the institute: "The state government wants LIAG to be reinstated into the Leibniz Association. This requires reorientation of the Institute in terms of content and strategy, i.e., adjustment of the topics to be worked on, in current and future scientific and socio-political issues. To this end, LIAG's indisputably existing competence in terms of content and methodology must be used and strategically further developed".
Update 04.11.2020: Groundwater geophysics and geohazards as starting themes
The Scientific Advisory Board, which was newly constituted on October 8, 2020 with Dr. Gabriele Uenzelmann-Neben (AWI Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research) as chairwoman and Prof. Dr. Thomas Bohlen (Geophysical Institute of KIT) as deputy chairwoman, assessed the topics "Geohazards" and "Groundwater Geophysics" identified by LIAG and the expert commission as appropriate. They represent a first basis for the development of an Institute for Environmental Geophysics and are to be further specified and expanded with scientific guiding questions - for example, how the influences of climate change or aspects of the upcoming energy system transformation can be investigated within these two topics.
In addition, it was emphasized that the LIAG is perceived in particular for its broad methodological expertise in applied geophysics and is unique in this field in Germany, if not internationally. Therefore the institute should try to maintain and further develop its methodological expertise.
Task for concept concretization
In November 2020, the Board of Trustees, as the highest body of the LIAG, deliberated on the basis of these recommendations and decided on a precise elaboration of the concept by the management level of the LIAG in discussion with the Scientific Advisory Board. The Board of Trustees will then discuss the concept on March 25, 2021. Furthermore, Prof. Dr. Manfred Frechen will provisionally continue as head of the Institute from November 4, 2020. Prof. Dr. Gerald Gabriel will be his deputy.
Since the 1st January 2020, the Leibniz Institute for Applied Geophysics is no longer part of the Leibniz Association. However, the state of Lower Saxony still regards LIAG as an important part of the national research landscape. It considers both the methodological and scientific competence as well as the consulting services of the institute in connection with current social, economic and environmental policy issues concerning the exploration and use of the underground to be indispensable. As the joint federal and state funding will end at the beginning of 2023, the state of Lower Saxony will take over the financing. By implementing the recommendations from the last evaluation, including those from the “Future LIAG” workshop, the institute is aiming to rejoin the Leibniz Association as soon as possible.
- Future of the Leibniz Institute for Applied Geophysics guaranteed
- Leibniz Institute for Applied Geophysics leaves the Leibniz Association (German)
The Leibniz Institute for Applied Geophysics (LIAG), based in Hanover, Germany, is an independent, non-university research institution. Using methods of applied geophysics, future-oriented questions of public relevance are investigated. The main focus of the research work is the exploration of the usable subsurface and the development of measuring and evaluation methods. The institute has over 50 years of experience in geophysical research. LIAG is unique in Germany due to its many years of specialization in the near-surface application of geophysics, the equipment and data infrastructure and the associated possibility of combining a wide range of geophysical methods within one institute to cover a wide range of topics. www.leibniz-liag.de