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pdf SCAR EXCOM 2011 WP10: Strategic Considerations for SCAR Standing Scientific Groups

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SCAR Executive Committee Meeting
18-19 July 2011, Edinburgh, Scotland

SCAR EXCOM 2011 WP10: Strategic Considerations for SCAR Standing Scientific Groups

Working Paper 10
Agenda Item: 2.3.4
Deadline: May 9
Person Responsible: Chuck

Executive Summary

Title: Strategic Considerations for SCAR Standing Scientific Groups

Author: M Kennicutt

Introduction: Standing Scientific Groups (SSGs) are SCAR’s most direct connection to the intellectual capacity and scientific expertise needed to realize SCAR’s mission in Antarctic science and policy advice.  The SSGs only convene once every two years. To this end, it is essential that the SSGs be engaged in all aspects of SCAR and that mechanisms be put in place to capitalize on opportunities to consult with and receive advice from the scientific communities that SCAR serves.   It is vital that the Delegates receive useful and informative advice and recommendations to assist in setting priorities and allocating resources. The SSGs are the “brain trust” that fuels all that SCAR does as an organization.

Important Issues or Factors: Incorporating specific agenda items into the SSG biennial meeting agendas will improve communication between the SSGs and the Delegates and enhance their advisory role. Improving how SSG budgets are developed will allow more timely management of SCAR’s limited assets.

Recommendations/Actions and Justification:  Enhancements in SSGs procedures are proposed for adoption prior to the 2012 biennial meetings:

  1. SSG COs will submit draft meeting reports two months in advance of the biennial business meetings.
  2. SSG COs will submit draft budget requests two months in advance of the biennial business meetings.
  3. SSG biennial meetings will be used to refine and update the meeting report and agree on final budget requests.
  4. SSGs will be asked to set aside time to discuss new frontiers and emerging issues during biennial meetings to provide input to the broader “Horizon Scanning” activities being initiated by SCAR.
  5. SSGs will be asked to take a more active role in monitoring the progress of and identifying new Scientific Research Programs by adding an agenda item on this issue at their biennial meetings. Specific recommendations as to acceptability, performance, and prioritization of proposed SRPs are to be provided to the Delegates meeting.
  6. SSGs are to conduct biennial review s of all subsidiary groups to assess performance and make recommendations about improvements, continuation, or cessation of groups recognizing that limited resources may entail the end of one activity before another can be approved.

Expected Benefits: Enhanced strategic advice and recommendations from the SSGs will improve Delegate decision-making while facilitating optimal allocation of resources. Improved communication of scientific priorities will assure that SCAR anticipates new directions and emerging issues. Under-spending of allocated funds will decrease resulting in more efficient and timely re-allocation of resources.

Budget Implications: No news funds are requested.