Information & Computational Sciences

ICS Team Meeting – Thinking from Different Perspectives

By on 17/09/2015 in ICS

On 27 August, 31 members of the Information and Computational Sciences (ICS) group made their way to Glensaugh. As the group is split between Aberdeen and Dundee sites, Glensaugh was identified as the ideal half-way meeting point. Although Glensaugh is one of the institute’s most picturesque research platforms, the majority of ICS group members had never visited. The group itself is extremely diverse which is a great asset, but because of this we sometimes struggle to see what we have in common and what we can learn from each other. Therefore the main aims of the day were for members of ICS from our two sites to get to know each other better, discuss our work and ideas and think about our work from different perspectives.

ICS team meeting (6)    ICS team meeting (5)

The day started with tea and cakes, followed shortly by an introduction to the farm by Donald Barrie. Then, after a short matters arising session, we indulged ourselves to a series of science talks. The talks were selected as representative of the diversity of work undertaken by ICS and aimed to get us all thinking across a range of scales from molecular to landscape, including social elements. The first talk was given by Runxuan Zhang who discussed his in-silico research identifying and characterising conserved microRNAs in barley, including the identification of 8 hitherto undiscovered microRNAs. Then, moving from single plant genome right up to ecosystem scale, Jagadeesh Yeluripati described his involvement with the Global Research Alliance Modelling Platform (GRAMP) in particular his work reviewing and beginning to standardise DNDC (de-nitirifcation, de-composition) models – a task that is substantive and on-going. Recent doctoral graduate Paul Shaw provided an overview of his work with CIMMYT Mexico, including his PhD research on plant pedigree visualization and the development of the Germinate platform. Finally Kit MacLeod provided an overview of two recently completed projects investigating how members of society access and use digital technologies and how these may be used for environmental research. This included analyses of supply and demand of environmental information, use of information gathered by networks of sensors, and approaches such as interactive on-line science. Given the range of specialisms in the room, all talks inspired some healthy discussions and interesting viewpoints.

ICS team meeting (7)    ICS team meeting (9)

Lunch was followed by a farm tour led by Donald Barrie. By this time the sun had come out, which was a blessing given that some members of the group were clearly not dressed for a farm environment! Donald showed us around the steadings discussing all aspects of the farm management in the context of sustainability and ‘future-proofing’ of farming more marginal land. We discussed the management of the black-faced sheep, the cattle court, land fertilization; as well as agri-renewables such as the recently installed solar arrays, biomass boilers, and the lessons learnt from the wind turbine development. After some lengthy discussions, the day came to a close.

ICS team meeting (4)    ICS team meeting (2)

It was a really nice relaxed but productive day, and it was really useful for those of us who work almost exclusively at a desk to be able to link what we do back to research platforms such as Glensaugh. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and there was good interaction across the group with a number of folk reporting having spoken to someone they had not spoken with before. All in all, I think the objectives of the day were mostly met – now we just need to plan the next one!

ICS team meeting (1)    ICS team meeting (8)


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