LifeWatch Flanders ready for the next level
The Flemish LifeWatch Consortium kicked off a new project phase on 1 January 2021, secure that additional funding had been approved to provide continuing support to biodiversity data systems and observation infrastructure. Confirmation of success in its bid for the 2020 International Research Infrastructure funding, organised by the Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO) and financed by the Flemish Department of Economy, Science and Innovation (EWI) was announced on 16 December 2020. A virtual meeting on 5 January 2021 of the Flemish LifeWatch partners, the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ) and the Research Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO), was attended by 35 enthusiastic team members in a clear demonstration that the infrastructure is ready to move to the next level. The two-hour conference included presentations from Working Groups on:
- The LifeWatch Species Information Backbone
- Marine terrestrial and freshwater observatories
- ICT Infrastructure and system integration
- Virtual labs and Open Science, and
- Outreach, valorisation and user support
Built up in the period 2012-2020, these facilities generate open data through automated and innovative pipelines, serving users from science, industry, policy and civil society. The next phase of the project will optimise and enhance the research infrastructure, delivering significant outcomes for Flanders, Europe and beyond. The project will apply a novel approach based on the quadruple helix framework, closely engaging with citizens, industrial players, policy makers and scientists in the data collection, analysis and decision making of the project, to promote the use of the Flemish LifeWatch infrastructure.