The Work Plan

Natural progress should go from theoretical models and laboratory experiments to appropriate, detailed field study. The link to be established between the individual subgroups would be by means of mathematical modelling in an engineering style. Then laboratory results can be integrated into a model and tested on field experiments. The consequence of field observations and technological applications for individual processes can be investigated, yielding the necessary feedback for the next orientation of theoretical and experimental studies.

The most powerful tool of the project is the model workshop, which becomes the meeting place of all the generated data and know-how. Its flow chart is outlined below:


A. Theoretical Models Subproject

Coordinated effort in the first two years should help collect correct and adequate thermodynamic data, to find the most appropriate ways for modeling natural systems and to find their limitations and validity constraints. Because of very disseminated knowledge of linear and non-linear dynamics of natural systems, this time will be devoted in the first place to cooperation at formulating the basic properties of linear and especially non-linear models applicable to weathering processes. In the second year, the first Model Workshop (see above) will be summoned.

In the third and fourth year, the Theoretical Working Subgroup will closely cooperate with the Experimental Working Subgroup and Field Research Subgroup, endeavouring to make the models more real and useful in prediction of their evolution. At the same time, collaboration on more complex models and their comparison with equilibrium models on one side and with results of laboratory and field research on the other side will continue.In the third year, the second Model Workshop will be held. The fourth year will be closed by an International Conference..

In the fifth year, a joint report based on the papers presented at this conference will be prepared and results will be submitted for publication as "Thermodynamic and dynamic modelling of natural systems" to be issued by a renowned publiher (Springer, Elsevier or equivalent).

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B. Laboratory Experiments Subproject

In the first year, demands for validation of theoretical models and for experimental support in solution of particular problems of applied and field research and technology will be recognised. An overview of experimental and coupled analytical methods, used by the project participants in the investigation of weathering processes will be elaborated. During the meeting of the Experimental Working Subgroup at the end of this year, a set of the most appropriate methods will be chosen, ensuring the intercomparability of results obtained in the future. Based on this, coordinated laboratory research will conducted in the second to fourth year. To prevent unwanted dispersion of efforts, the activities of this subgroup will concentrate above all on:

Each year, a conference will be held, focused on one of the above topics: - second year - theme 3., third year - theme 2, fourth year - theme 1. The conference in the fourth year will be connected with a summer school (to be organised by Susan Brandley of the Pennsylvania State University, USA). The fifth year will be devoted to the summarisation of results obtained by different reserch teams, and preparation of their publication in the form of a book, comprising the proceedings of the last topical conference and adjoined summer school teaching materials.

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C. Applied Research Subproject

The applied research and technology is by no means less important than theoretical modelling or laboratory experimentation. Its role lies not only in feedback reaction to the results of these disciplines, but also in focusing them on the most urgent problems. The attention will be concentrated on various topics related to anthropogenic weathering of natural and artificial inorganic materials, especially with respect to assessment and prevention of consequent dangers to the environment and human life as well as remediation of damages.

The first two years will be devoted to mapping of the range of problems, comparison of existing solutions, and formulation of themes for Theoretical Modeling and Experimental Subgroup. To avoid excessive scatter of research endeavours, two groups of topics will lead the list:

The hazards involved in this aspect of weathering include:

The gatherings of National Working Groups and subsequent International Conference of the subproject held at the end of the second year will review the results achieved, postulate objectives of next three years’ field investigations and identify unresolved weathering mechanisms needed to be surveyed by the participants of Theoretical and Experimental subgroups.

The third and fourth year will be devoted to continuing cooperation of research groups and individuals in fields of their common interests revealed in communication during the first two years or earlier. Informal groups formed in this way will try to prepare national and international projects, aimed at solution of rather highly specialised problems, specific to the pertinent country or region (see the list in subchapter Outlining the problem). Summer school(s) will be organised for people from state authorities (ministries of environment protection etc) as well as university teachers and other concerned people.

The fifth year will be concentrated on evaluation of achievements (to be summarised in the Final Report), formulation of recommendations for international organisations and national authorities, and probably also on the preparation of a successor project.

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D. General (concerning the project as a whole)

The whole project will be intentionally linked to affiliated global projects of UNESCO and other UN institutions, as well as other international and national programmes. The project will closely take up the achievements of related preceding programmes like Canadian Mine Environment Neutral Drainage (MEND) program or STEP (EU project CT 900101 - cultural heritage protection), ICOMOS, Euromarble as well as the International Co-operative Programme „Materials“ program, Swedish National Environmental Monitoring Programme and other similar, related programmes.

The respect UNESCO enjoys will be used to put weight to research project bids for funding resources on national (recommendations to national grant agencies, governments etc.) as well as international (e.g. EU authorities deciding in COPERNICUS, PHARE, RILEM, TEMPUS and other programs involving environmental research and education) level. Special attention will be paid to the possibly most rapid communication of results to educational institutions. The individual Subproject working groups will try to organise summer schools devoted their achievements (in the fourth year of the project course).

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