Steps forward for Research Infrastructure collaboration at EuroGOOS Conference


The 9th EuroGOOS International Conference took place online from 3-5 May 2021, and saw the participation of hundreds of scientists, technologists and policymakers involved in ocean observation technologies. The full name of the conference was “Advances in Operational Oceanography – Expanding Europe’s Ocean Observing and Forecasting Capacity”, in light of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, and as the marine domain is one of its specialised fields, LifeWatch ERIC was delighted to participate in the side event “Cooperation Framework between Marine Research Infrastructures” (RIs).

Eleven marine RIs took part, with each infrastructure giving a short presentation before leaving the floor open to discuss how to bolster RI cooperation moving forward, also with a view to better supporting the roll-out of the European Green Deal. LifeWatch ERIC CEO Christos Arvanitidis presented several ideas and projects designed to foster collaboration between RIs and the research sector more generally, among which the ERIC FORUM, EOSC Future and the LifeWatch ERIC Internal Joint Initiative, along with its technical integration layer provided by the innovative developments of Tesseract and LifeBlock. Critically, he identified the principal challenge facing RIs as cultural: the difficult task of reshaping the overriding scientific praxis from individualistic to collaborative. The desired result would be a dynamic networking synthesis, and here Christos quoted E. O. Wilson of Harvard University: “jumping together of knowledge by the linking of facts and fact-evidenced theory across disciplines to create common ground of explanation“. He finally focused on the essential step that needs to be taken regarding the identification and investments in areas of common RI interest, in other words, joint investments in their “trading zones“, the most promising areas for scientific research and technological innovation.

Participants recognised benefits of enhanced RI cooperation as being strength in numbers – having a louder voice, more opportunities and larger visibility – as well as the all-important reduction in workload overlap and cost. Increased cohesion would also give rise to opportunities such as the possibility to provide joint education and training programmes for scientists. Due to the vast range of services provided and the complexity of wide-scale collaboration, the RIs were quick in identifying data and service compatibility and integration as the main potential issue, noting however that the cutting-edge work being carried out by LifeWatch ERIC – particularly on the Tesseract platform for building Virtual Research Environments  – could be key to boosting interoperability and integration.

After a fruitful discussion, the members concluded that the best course of action was increased training and exchange between RIs, in terms of communication, personnel and projects, in order to fill network and knowledge gaps. Christos reiterated that RIs require the support of the research community and the community of practice at large in order to succeed, as well as the importance of promoting cross-domain research and co-developing common platforms. All in all, participants were enthusiastic about the idea of drafting a joint White Paper in order to define key shared objectives and consolidate a common strategy for marine RIs. Stay tuned!


The Bulgarian National Distributed Centre is represented by the  Agricultural University-Plovdiv.

To know more about how Bulgaria contributes to LifeWatch ERIC, please visit our dedicated webpage.


The Spanish National Distributed Centre is supported by the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities, the Regional Government of Andalusia and the Guadalquivir River Basin Authority (Ministry for Ecological Transition-MITECO). Moreover, Spain is the hosting Member State of LifeWatch ERIC, the location of its Statutory Seat & ICT e-Infrastructure Technical Office (LifeWatch ERIC Common Facilities). 

To know more about how Spain contributes to LifeWatch ERIC, please visit our dedicated webpage.


The Slovenian National Distributed Centre is led by the Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (ZRC SAZU). It focuses on the development of technological solutions in the field of biodiversity and socio-ecosystem research.

To know more about how Slovenia contributes to LifeWatch ERIC, please visit our dedicated webpage.


The Portuguese National Distributed Centre is managed by PORBIOTA, the Portuguese e-Infrastructure for Information and Research on Biodiversity. Led by BIOPOLIS/CIBIO-InBIO – Research Centre in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources, PORBIOTA connects the principal Portuguese research institutions working in biodiversity.

To know more about how Portugal contributes to LifeWatch ERIC, please visit our dedicated webpage.


The Dutch National Distributed Centre is hosted by the Faculty of Science of the University of Amsterdam. Moreover, The Netherlands hosts one of the LifeWatch ERIC Common Facilities, the Virtual Laboratory and Innovation Centre.

To know more about how The Netherlands contributes to LifeWatch ERIC, please visit our dedicated webpage.


The Italian National Distributed Centre is led and managed by the Italian National Research Council (CNR) and is coordinated by a Joint Research Unit, currently comprising 35 members. Moreover, Italy hosts one of the LifeWatch ERIC Common Facilities, the Service Centre.

To know more about how Italy contributes to LifeWatch ERIC, please visit our dedicated webpage.


The Greek National Distributed Centre is funded by the Greek General Secretariat of Research and Technology and is coordinated by the Institute of Marine Biology, Biotechnology and Aquaculture of the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, in conjunction with 47 associated partner institutions.

To know more about how Greece contributes to LifeWatch ERIC, please visit our dedicated webpage.


The Belgian National Distributed Centre makes varied and complementary in-kind contributions to LifeWatch ERIC. These are implemented in the form of long-lasting projects by various research centres and universities distributed throughout the country and supported by each respective political authority.

To know more about how Belgium contributes to LifeWatch ERIC, please visit our dedicated webpage.