The LifeWatch ERIC Statutes foresee the creation of National Nodes, which in Spain has been translated into the creation of the Joint Research Unit LifeWatch Spain (JRU – LW.ES) in 2014. This entity brings together several organizations and institutions carrying out research, development, and innovation (R&D&I) activities in the biodiversity and ecology fields. Among others, to date, the JRU – LW.ES counts on the participation of Public Research Organizations, The Spanish National Research Council, International Excellence Campuses and Universities, the Ministries of Agriculture, Fishing and Food and Ecological Transition, Environment Technology and Innovation Parks and Institutions, Regional and Local Authorities, and Port Authorities. These organizations have expressed their interest in integrating into a network of excellence to promote biodiversity research, addressing major environmental challenges, and supporting knowledge-based strategic solutions for environmental preservation. Thus, the Spanish community supporting LifeWatch is structured by its Joint Research Unit, which is composed of more than 30 institutions of diverse nature.
At present, the Spanish community provides LifeWatch with three virtual research environments: 1) LIFE+RESPIRA. The main objective of this Project is to demonstrate that it is possible to improve the quality of life in European cities through the use of new technologies, combined with specific urban planning and management measures (http://www.liferespira.eu); 2) Deep Learning & Citizen Science LifeWatch, which provides computing resources to Citizen Science initiatives aimed at bringing Biodiversity research and IT closer to the people. Natusfera allows users to take georeferenced pictures of animals and plants that can be identified by experts, thereby creating a collaborative biodiversity map (http://deep.ifca.es); 3) SWIRL (Scenario-based Water Innovation and Research Laboratory), an e-infrastructure that was developed to respond to water resource management challenges, offering accessibility and traceability of data as well as a platform for cooperation (https://swirlvre.eu/). Finally, in 2018, thanks to funding from the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities, the Spanish Network of Excellence was launched. The main objectives of this network are to support and boost the activities within the JRU LW.ES, and thus, ultimately contribute to LifeWatch ERIC’s objectives.