Saturday, June 2, 2012


date: Fri, 2 Apr 2004 09:20:31 +0100
from: "John Schellnhuber" <>
subject: Fw: Confidential
to: "Mike Hulme" <>

----- Original Message -----
From: <>
To: <>
Sent: Thursday, April 01, 2004 6:30 PM
Subject: Confidential

> Here is the note I sent to NERC today. Let me know if any of it seems
> particularly problematical.
> BC
> ----- Forwarded by William Clark/FS/KSG on 04/01/2004 12:29 PM -----
> William Clark
> To:
> 04/01/2004 12:29 cc:,
> PM Subject: Re: Review of the
Tyndall Centre(Document link: William Clark)
> April 1, 2004
> To: Bill Barnett
> From: Bill Clark
> Subject: Tyndall review agenda and questions
> Thanks for your helpful response to my questions. With the retrospective
> character of the review more clearly fixed in my mind, and your
> and Mike's responses on the table, let me propose the following:
> a) Sessions with the Executive Director and Research Director: It seems
> me that we need a 3 kinds of engagement with the Directors. (I apologize
> for the confusion I caused with my earlier note by not distinguishing
> between the research and exec directors. I'm not entirely clear how much
> overlap there is between them, so lets assume that where I said
> I meant both.)
> The first is retrospective and should remind us what the goals and
> strategy of the Centre were for the period covered by this review, and of
> the organization the Centre adopted to implement that strategy. [This
> looks like it is part of what was scheduled for the opening presentation
> John Schellnhuber at 1330 on 4/22 and part of what was scheduled for
> presentation by Mike Hulme on 4/23 at 14:45.] This first round of
> information can mostly be covered in the background material, but -- in my
> view -- should be summarized for us before we have the presentations by
> Research Theme staffs. (If we don't do this, we will be trying to make
> sense of the comments on goals and organization that the Theme
> presentations are making without knowing the overall Centre context for
> those comments). It seems to me that the agenda implication of this view
> is to get a brief presentation from MH in the same 4/22 1330 session that
> we already have scheduled with JS.
> The second engagement we need with the Directors is forward looking,
> us a context of where they think the Tyndall Centre might be headed in the
> future -- both substantively and organizationally. This should probably
> also come before we hear the Theme presentations … though I am somewhat
> concerned that too much emphasis on the forward vision before we hear the
> retrospective summaries of the Themes could create an unfair dissonance in
> which the Themes are implicitly faulted for not fulfilling the future
> vision in their past work. On balance, however, a decent chair should be
> able to keep that dissonance under control, so my tentative recommendation
> is to keep this forward-looking part of the briefing early in our visit --
> presumably as part of the 4/22 1330 session.
> The third engagement we need with the Directors is the one we discussed in
> our earlier exchange: an opportunity to talk to them after we have heard
> the Theme, staff, and stakeholder presentations to discuss any gaps or
> contradictions we see, and to raise with them strategic questions that we
> have in the wake of those presentations. I'd like to have this review
> discussion after we have all the other input. In terms of agenda, this
> might suggest the following for 4/23:
> ….
> * 1400-1445: Interaction with stakeholders (as now)
> * 1445-1515: Closed session for review team (Hulme briefing on
> Organization having been moved to 4/22, 1130 session joint with
> Schellnhuber)
> * 1515-1615: Session with Directors
> * 1615-1715: Open for further discussion with Directors or callback.
> ….
> What do you think?
> b) Sessions with the Research Themes:
> Your suggested revisions were most helpful. Taking them one step further,
> and trying to respond to Mike's request for early clarity in what is being
> asked, let me propose the following, drafted here as text that after any
> changes you think appropriate could go directly to the theme members (note
> that I believe that the 20 minute limit should not be relaxed for Theme 4,
> where the chances of sliding into "show and tell" are even more extreme
> than with the others):
> "The Review Team would like each of the 4 Research Themes (not each
> within a theme) to address the following questions in its presentation.
> ask that the presentation be limited to 20 minutes, in order to allow
> sufficient time for questions and discussion by the Team. This means, of
> course, that only a fraction of the work accomplished by the Themes can be
> presented, and that the presentations will focus on only highlights. The
> Team pledges, in return, to have read a good fraction of the material sent
> to it before the meeting.
> 1) Goals: What were your principal goals for the current program? (Please
> distinguish goals for research, capacity building, and knowledge transfer.
> These goals should be specific, eg. What scientific questions did you set
> out to illuminate? What policy questions, and which policy or decision
> makers, did you seek to inform? How did you intend to strengthen the
> community's capacity to address such questions?)
> 2) Results: To what extent have these goals been achieved? (Please
> identify the 2 or 3 most significant successes to date, and 2 or 3 most
> significant shortfalls, in each of the categories noted above -- ie.
> research, capacity building, and knowledge transfer).
> 3) The Tyndall contribution: What is the greatest contributions, beyond
> funding per se, of the Tyndall Centre to the achievement of your goals?
> (In other words, what are the most important ways in which membership /
> participation in the Centre facilitated your work in ways that would not
> have occurred, or would have been significantly more difficult, if you had
> received the same level of funding support but not been part of the
> Centre?)
> 4) Barriers: What have been the greatest inhibitions or barriers to
> attaining your goals? What are the most important things that a
> differently configured Tyndall Centre could do to help you overcome those
> barriers? (Please address all three categories of goals in as specific
> terms as possible).
> 5) Opportunities: What do you see as the greatest contributions that your
> evolving line of work might make to fulfilling the Centre's mission over
> the next 5(?) years?
> END of request to Themes
> c) Directors present at Theme briefings: I see the dilemma raised in your
> note. It seems important to me if our final session with the Directors
> (ie. 4/23, 1415ff) is to be maximally useful, it will be important that
> they have heard the same answers to the 5 questions posed above as has the
> Review Team. I also believe -- based on other Centers I have known --
> this could be a great opportunity for the Theme leaders to put their own
> highest level thinking in front of the Centre Directors. On the other
> hand, I respect the experience you refer to regarding the desire to remove
> inhibitions. Here is a compromise proposal that I would be comfortable
> with:
> For each Theme session, Directors are present for the formal
> presentation by the Theme (20 mins), and for the first round of
> clarification questions (say another 20 mins). They are then asked to
> leave the room for the last period of the Review Team's discussions with
> the Theme group. We can structure that last 35 mins or so to explicitly
> give the Theme members opportunities to comment on the effectiveness and
> limitations of the Directing staff's vision, organization, etc… Even to
> the extent of telling them in advance that there is a 6th question they
> should be prepared to discuss, namely something like "What changes in the
> direction/directors of the Centre would most facilitate realization of the
> goals they have set forth?"
> Can you live with this?
> d) Interacting with stakeholders: Successful interactions with
> stakeholders ("knowledge transfer") seems to me a crucial part of the
> Centre's mission. Given that we seem unlikely to get too much from the
> survey results, it becomes especially important that the session devoted
> this on our agenda (4/23, 1400) be productive at a strategic level. Can
> you give me a bit more of a feel for what is envisioned for this session?
> In particular, are we going to have access to a cross section of the most
> important stakeholders who are supposed to have been served by the Centre?
> It seems to me that we need to get their input in one way or another if
> Review is to truly address all of the evaluation criteria listed in the
> ToR. Just talking with the staff in charge of external relations isn't
> going to do it.
> Thoughts?
> e) Finally (for now), I have a question about item 3 in the terms of
> reference. If this is answered somewhere in the briefing materials, my
> apologies. Just point me.
> The ToR read, in part:
> " To evaluate the achievements and productivity of the Tyndall Centre's
> programme for scientific research (including monitoring, survey and data
> management activities) and to grade the overall quality of the programme
> informed by previous evaluations and international benchmarks."
> What are the "previous evaluations and international benchmarks" that you
> have in mind here? The research evaluation is going to be especially
> given the youth of the Centre, its action-focus, and its interdisciplinary
> character. Somehow, I would like to establish a "compared to what"
> standard that the Review Team can use. The most simplistic is a
> of publications with a "comparable group" in the UK or elsewhere. I
> suspect that it's a little early for citation counts to tell us much. So
> we need to ask something about how much is being published, where it is
> being published, and whether its record in these two categories is good
> relative to non-Centre investigators working on similar topics. I would
> welcome your thoughts on how we might have some objective data on the
> for this. For example (and again, I apologize if this is already in part
> of the briefing packet that I haven't read yet), do we have
> * a consolidated list of publications emerging from the Centre;
> * a sort of that list by journals (ie. to show how many of the
> publications are in Nature, JGR, Climatic Change, etc.)
> * some notion of a comparison group?
> This may need a phone conversation. Let me know your thoughts.
> Sorry to be such a nuisance. I look forward to hearing from you.
> BC
> Attachment (copy of this memo as rtf file): (See attached file: Tyndall
> rev2.rtf)
> William C. Clark
> Harvey Brooks Professor of
> International Science, Public Policy and Human Development
> John F. Kennedy School of Government
> Harvard University
> 79 Kennedy St.
> Cambridge MA 02138 USA
> (1)-617-495-3981
> To:
> 04/01/2004 07:40 cc:,
> AM Subject: Review of the
Tyndall Centre
> Bill,
> I've been back to Mike Hulme with the thoughts raised in your email of
> 25 March. I am pleased to report back as follows:
> a) Revise timetable to allow for session with Director following
> science theme presentations - Mike has agreed that this can be
> accomodated, but suggests that the team may also find a session with the
> Research Director useful.
> b) Science theme briefing formats - Again, Mike is happy with the
> proposed format, but requests that the questions be confirmed asap, as
> the teams have already started working on their presentations.
> c) Low PI response rate - Mike has indicated that he is content for the
> PIs to be contacted again - We will do this from Swindon.
> Mike has raised one other issue, that being whether the Directors
> (Research & Executive) can attend the science presentations. Mike has
> indicated a preference that they do, however the Evaluation Team
> position, based on past experience from other reviews, is that this is
> not appropriate. This is because we do not want to introduce any
> barriers that might inhibit either the line of questioning of the review
> team, or the candidness of the presenters in responding to questions. A
> structure that might go some way towards addressing Mike's concerns
> would be to allow him/John to introduce each presentation before
> leaving. They will have an opportunity to address the issues that
> emerge during the Friday afternoon session that we have now introduced.
> I look forward to your thoughts/comments.
> On an unrelated matter, Pauline has advised me that Professor
> Schneider's papers were bundled with your own, due to an error in our
> mailroom. I understand that your secretary has kindly agreed to mail
> them on to Professor Schneider - please could you pass on our thanks and
> apologies for any inconvenience. We will of course, be happy to
> re-imburse any postage costs.
> Kind regards,
> Bill
> Bill Barnett
> OPM Manager
> NERC Evaluation Team
> Polaris House
> Swindon SN2 1EU
> Tel 01793 411738

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