The following is an excerpt of an e-mail sent March 30 2005 from IPY's International Programme Office to all National IPY Committees:


All the 870+ EoI's were crudely divided up to allow them to be assessed by at least 2 members of the ICSU-WMO Joint Committee with hopefully relevant expertise. From these assessments a number of topics (or IPY missions) were identified and EoI's clustered around these topics. The topics relate back to the six themes and I will in due course set out the individual EoI's along these theme lines to further clarify the structure and identify gaps.

So that you get an early look at how we have made our first cut of the EoI's I have assembled them all as a set of summary tables. Both these pdf's can be found as of today under the EoI tab on the new IPY website (www.ipy.org). In many cases you know your own EoI lists so you should be able to pull these out from the tables. I will look to replace numbers with short titles once the new IPO administrator starts next week. Note - the searchable database is now loaded on the new website. I am still adding the occasional further EoI to this database.

The letters to all EoI's are being emailed over March 30 - April 1. The community has worked hard to address the IPY criteria and I can report that the vast majority of proposals fell into either Category 1 (broadly meeting IPY criteria) or (more frequently) Category 2 (meeting most criteria but needing to develop or enhance the international component or increase the size of the project). A tiny proportion were not felt to address the IPY in any credible way and will therefore not be encouraged to take their proposal further.

In assigning the EoI's to particular topics some of the proposals were particularly successful in addressing the IPY criteria and have been identified as either potential lead projects around which other EoI's can be clustered or as EoI's that could feasibly stand alone as distinct projects. The Joint Committee has suggested in its letters to lead projects that they should look to interact with other EoI's and, if a valid cluster can be identified, to then form a Project Steering Committee from amongst the various EoI's. Please note that Category 1 assessments are not limited to the proposed lead proposals and that Category 1 EoI's also appear within the clusters.

It is not the intention of the Joint Committee to be prescriptive or take a heavy top-down approach. Rather the Joint Committee wants to offer some possible ways in which those EoI's that currently do not meet all the IPY criteria can become involved with or synchronise activities / protocols / data handling etc with other EoI's resulting in an overall activity that better meets IPY criteria without having to individually scale up every proposal. Clustering will not always be the solution and some projects may want to scale up individually, particularly to bring in the international element.

Clustering in this way does miss some of the more subtle plans for interaction that groups have been developing and it may be that somewhat different clusters form as EoI's look at the listings and communicate with each other. The Joint Committee is particularly aware of the fact that it has not addressed cross-cutting and multi-disciplinarity as well as it might in this first round and that it will need the help of the ad hoc Data and EOC Committees, in conjunction with NC inputs to cluster the Data and Education proposals more effectively.

A large number of international organisations can contribute to IPY and many have already suggested they would be willing to be involved. We are writing to these organisations separately and on the basis of their response will amend the clustering tables appropriately, particularly in relation to lead projects.

Dr J C Ellis-Evans
IPY International Programme Office
British Antarctic Survey,
Madingley Road
Cambridge CB3 0ET
United Kingdom