Peter Hacker
ÖFPZ Arsenal
N. Peter Hacker

Arsenal Research is one of the three non-university research centres in Austria. Founded in 1950 the former Federal Research and Testing Centre Arsenal (Bundesversuchs-und Forschungsanstalt Arsenal) was converted at the beginning of 1997 into the ÖFPZ Arsenal Ges.m.b.H. Arsenal Research. On the 17th of March 1999 Arsenal Research became a 100% subsidiary of the Austrian Research Centres Seibersdorf.

For fifty years, the name "Arsenal" has been well-known for technological competence, quality, flexibility and strict impartiality. Over this time, Arsenal has become a technologically competent interface between science, industry and government as well as a market oriented service provider. Its range of services extends from applied research and development to top class testing and measurement technology. With more than 200 employees in the fields of traffic, energ y, buildings and environment, Arsenal Research supports customers right from the idea up to the market satisfying realisation.

When Arsenal became private, a new organisation was introduced and the solution of additional tasks, like prompt recognition of new technological challenges, market orientation, professional project realisation, cost transparency and result controls as well as involvement of international networks were emphasized.

Within the Arsenal, the environment division covers the key topics "Water", "Resources and Georiscs" and "Environmental Isotopes": Twenty nine academically-trained specialists and about 20 technicians and laboratory assistants are organised in a flat hierarchy with networking for improved co-operation.

Right from the beginning, "Water" was one of the major subjects at Arsenal. Initially, only low-level scientific measurements were carried out. Over the years, increasingly extensive projects involving more and more complex questions were taken on.

Today, the "Water" business domain carries out comprehensive investigations in the frame of groundwater management. Applied research is done from conservative hydrogeology and geophysics for groundwater exploration and exploitation to highly specialised tracer techniques using hydrochemical elements as well as environmental and industrial isotopes. Modelling and visualising of complex results are the speciality of a team within this business domain applying different GIS systems.

In Austria, Arsenal Research has a monopoly-position in the field of single-borehole techniques. Using probes of our own production, groundwater parameters like velocity or flow direction can be determined even in deeper boreholes. Retaining our strong position as specialists in groundwater dynamics is a major objective for the future.

Within the project "Europe and India: Past, Present and Future", the Arsenal is developing a joint research programme in hydrogeology, collaborating with the other network partners. The joint research will go on for one year starting from May 2000. During the year 1999, the compilation and exchange of information took place in Hyderabad and a preliminary study was elaborated. Recently, our Indian partner, Dr. Sidharth, came to Vienna to evaluate the information already collected in India, as well as to prepare the idea and schedule for the round table meeting that will be held this afternoon here at the B.M. Birla Science Centre. At that meeting the area selected for the project, the role of the experts in the working team, the database programme and the preliminary workplan will be discussed.