LifeWatch is an e-infrastructure, and in this respect there are three tentative contributions that have been developed with the objective to encouraging collaborative work and cutting down research time: EGI-InSpire; Ibergrid and ViBrant. As for the support for providing e-services and virtual research environments there were some interesting projects: ViBrant, BioVEL, EU-Brazil OpenBio and RediamE.
Deal with a huge amount of databases and information from sensors spanning from weather to marine, and earth sciences, make them available for the scientist community, create ways to mix them on an appropriate and useful way for researchers different needs providing analytical and modelling capabilities and create an environment that facilitates collaboration through virtual laboratories, overcoming the fragmentation and blowing up any physical barriers, are current challenges for LifeWatch.
The 2nd Construction Operational Meeting concluded after two days of intense analysis an debate with a clear framework and the path to take in the next months up to LifeWatch's legal constitution as a research infrastructure for Europe (ESFRI). The conclusions where presented to the European Commission in a virtual conference which was attended by the officers Anna-Maria Johansson and Paul Tuinderfrom, from the Directorate General for Research and Innovation (RTD) and Luis Carlos Busquets and Carlos Morais-Pires from the Directorate General for Communications Networks, Content & Technology (Connect).
The Carme de la Victoria was fully occupied by LifeWatch working groups the second day of the meeting. After the first day of sessions, where a general vision of the situation and the different posibilities of action was obtained, participants debated their views in four parallel sessions related with the four identified components associated to LifeWatch's core: Resources, e-infrastructure, Composition and e-Services & Virtual Research environments.
LifeWatch will lean in some existing organizations, they are going to be pillars of this distributed infrastructure, which objective is to connect biology and environmental researchers, and bring useful services to decision makers and citizens. EUDAT, GBIF and LTER will supply essential data flow and usefulness tools to manage the enormous amount of existing information.
Sergui Girona introduced EUDAT, an European initiative to establish a collaborative data infrastructure (CDI) oriented to all kind of scientist through the continent. LifeWatch is one of the eight research communities involved in this project, which comprises a total of 25 partners, including data centres, technology providers and funding agencies from 13 countries.
LifeWatch members contributes with resources to build this electronic infrastructure for biodiversity research and policy in Europe, not only with financial input but in kind too. On the one hand, for the last few years, with 7th Framework programme support and other funds, many technological appliances and instruments that have been developed can be included in this european network, once tailored to certain standards.
On the other hand, countries are joining efforts to design LifeWatch and are working on their regional grids. Furthermore, each representative has explained in Granada's meeting what their country can bring to the table to be analyzed and adapted if it's needed. They also pointed out and addressed the challenges in the project.
iMarine is a virtual lab focused on the world underwater, which aim is to improve the management of fisheries and the conservation of marine living resources using science. This is a technological platform which offers a set of basic enabling facilities for researchers "as-a-service", meaning they that can be accessed from any place via the Internet.
LifeWatch means "moving from 'satellite' projects to distributed and federated e-Infrastructure concept", says Juan Miguel González Aranda, deputy directorate-general of International Relations and European Affairs on the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness.
This implies access to observatories and sensor network all over Europe, as well as databases, and all the information from this sources should be interoperable. In this scenary, computational power, tools for analysis and modeling data and software for visualization are a must.
LifeWatch has clear technological requirements to create its infraestructure backbone in five essential areas: security, data, support and storage, semantics enhancement and integration activities, as Peter van Tienderen explained to the audience of the 2º Operational Meeting.
Van Tienderen noted that there is a need of a unique registration mechanism to allow users to use services, upload data, documents or work together, as well as publish results.
Virtual labs and virtual research environment are fundamental elements of LifeWatch, and each one will have an special agreement to become part of the new european research infrastructure, on tasks, adherence to standards, protocols and service levels.