Welcome, LifeWatch Bulgaria!

LifeWatch Bulgaria

LifeWatch ERIC is delighted to announce that the 1 January 2022 will signal the expansion of the LifeWatch ERIC community, with the establishment of LifeWatch Bulgaria. On 8 July 2021, the General Assembly unanimously approved the application of Bulgaria to become the eighth full member of LifeWatch ERIC.

LifeWatch Bulgaria has already planned several forms of in-kind contribution to the LifeWatch Infrastructure, such as carrying out complex studies into the plant health of cultivated species in the context of sustainable agroecosystems. Such research will be carried out through its nominated partner organisation PlantHealth, the Centre for Diagnostics and Technologies in Plant Health. It is thought that Bulgaria’s membership of LifeWatch ERIC will be mutually beneficial, contributing to the advancement of European research into biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Christos Arvanitidis, LifeWatch ERIC Chief Executive Officer, made the following statement:

“The unanimous admission of Bulgaria to the LifeWatch ERIC Infrastructure by the General Assembly is testament to our enthusiasm about the expansion. Mr Krasimir Valchev, Bulgarian Minister for Education and Science, has expressed his confidence that Bulgaria shares common values and objectives with LifeWatch ERIC, and having read the Bulgarian Official Letter of Interest elaborating goals and plans for collaboration, the General Assembly was only too happy to agree. We have no doubt that Bulgaria will support and facilitate the accomplishment of LifeWatch ERIC mission, along with the activities and governance of the Consortium, and we look forward with anticipation to the activation of its membership in 2022.”

Countries wishing to join LifeWatch ERIC are welcome to consult our FAQ. Further questions and enquiries may be directed to statutoryseat[@]lifewatch.eu.

The admission of members that are EU Member States is governed by the LifeWatch ERIC Statutes Art. 3 (Membership and representing entity), 4 (Membership and representing entity) and 8 (3) (General Assembly) with no special requirement in terms of voting majority.

Hiring: Scientific Community Networking Officer

Scientific Community Networking Officer

LifeWatch ERIC is hiring a Scientific Community Networking Officer! 

Details: JOB TITLE: Scientific Community Networking Officer.

PURPOSE: Responsible for the LifeWatch ERIC Scientific Community of Practice organisation, operation and its engagement in using the LifeWatch ERIC research facilities.

LOCATION: LifeWatch ERIC Service Centre premises in Lecce (Italy).

POSITION: Full-time, max 12 months (with the possibility of developing into a stable position).


The full vacancy is available here.

Click here to apply.

LifeWatch ERIC in RItrainPlus Project


LifeWatch ERIC is pleased to announce its collaboration in the RItrainPlus Horizon2020 project as both a beneficiary and an associated partner.* This project has the potential to bring a great deal of added value to LifeWatch ERIC because of the unique context in which it operates, at the nexus of international scientific and political realities.

But what is RItrainPlus?

RItrainPlus is a project designed to aid Research Infrastructures (RIs) and advanced scientific facilities, ensuring they have the management skills to deal with all aspects of their operation (governance, management, organisational, financial, etc.). The RItrainPlus project will transform the skills-base to drive the professionalisation, efficiency and long-term value creation of European Research Infrastructures and Core Facilities.

What exactly does it do?

In essence, this Project brings together RIs, core facilities, business management schools and European universities, to transform the access and empowerment of human resources for national and international scientific facilities in Europe. Just a handful of its objectives include: providing a coaching programme for managers; connecting RIs to the EOSC and the ERIC Forum; and encouraging staff and knowledge exchange through short-term mobility programmes. In addition, RItrainPlus is looking to establish a European School for Management of Research Infrastructures (ESMRI), a dedicated sustainable training organisation providing specialised training courses and workshops to meet the needs for professional skills in this context.

What role does LifeWatch ERIC play?

The main contribution of LifeWatch ERIC will mainly consist of co-designing a new model of online transdisciplinary RI-related staff CVs, based on Blockchain technologies (using the LifeWatch ERIC “LifeBlock” platform) to facilitate dynamic staff exchange, incentivisation and visibility based on the accounting of distributed activities performed by Research Infrastructures, particularly in the EU-LAC area. The Infrastructure will also contribute to the following tasks, among others: the development of common European policies and learning tracking for curricula enrichment, instructional design methodology, and the production of a trainers’ kit, which will be co-led with UNIMIB. LifeWatch ERIC staff Juan Miguel González-Aranda, CTO & ICT-Core Director (PI), and Elisa Morón-López, ICT-Core Project Manager, attended the kick-off meeting of Work Package 3 “Course development and delivery” on 21 July 2021.

For more information on RItrainPlus, please visit its website.

*grant agreement No. 101008503, duration 2021–2025

LifeWatch ERIC in DOORS Project Kick-Off Meeting

DOORS Project

LifeWatch ERIC was proud to represent part of the pan-European contingent of 37 partners in the kick-off meeting for the new EU project ‘DOORS’, led by GeoEcoMar, on 29–30 June 2021. The meeting was launched by Wendy Bonne of the European Commission and Mr Ciprian Teleman, Romanian Minister of Research, Innovation and Digitalisation, who said:

“DOORS represents a clear commitment of the European Union for the Black Sea, which will enable a climate neutral, sustainable and productive blue economy. Education, Research and innovation is the Golden Triangle for the knowledge-based economy to strengthen the links between Romanian and European scientists.”

But what is DOORS?

DOORS is a €9m Horizon 2020 project* that stands for ‘Developing Optimal and Open Research Support’ in the Black Sea, which is infamously the world’s most polluted. It will link science, policy and industry for critical Black Sea regeneration, bringing together expertise and technology from institutions from the Black Sea region and other European countries to address the human and climate change impacts on damaged ecosystems.

What exactly will it do?

DOORS will develop a common framework of scientific methods for gathering data, allowing partners to better understand the complex marine processes that happen across the Black Sea. The project will provide a system that will bring together information from in-situ measurements, research cruises, satellite observation, modelling and data integration capabilities.
Alongside the integration of scientific knowledge sharing, it is a fundamental objective for DOORS to engage with wider society. By providing mechanisms for business to link with research, DOORS will create new job opportunities for emerging Blue Growth economies through new synergies and mentoring schemes; the first of its kind to be setup in the Black Sea. Key initiatives that engage schools, universities and general citizens of the region will promote behaviour change and celebrate best practice, influencing future policy, Blue Growth and the health of Black Sea communities.

What role will LifeWatch ERIC play?

LifeWatch ERIC will be participating in Work Package 2: Harmonisation; 6: Blue Growth; 7: Capacity Building; 8: Stakeholder Engagement; and 9: Dissemination and Communication. Alberto Basset, Service Centre Director and project coordinator for LifeWatch ERIC, noted: 

“LifeWatch ERIC’s strong ties with the biodiversity and ecosystem research communities, along with its specialist knowledge in data integration and providing training activities will ensure the infrastructure’s contribution to all three of the DOORS project’s core pillars: System of Systems, Blue Growth Accelerator and Knowledge Transfer and Training. We look forward to strengthening and establishing connections in the Black Sea research community through DOORS, confident that the results of this project will be advantageous for both citizens and scientists of the Black Sea area, as well as Europe as a whole.”

Click here for the DOORS website. You can also follow its activities on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

*grant agreement No. 101000518

LifeWatch ERIC at the 1st International Congress of Equinology and Equestrian Tourism

e-Horse: International Congress of Equinology and Equestrian Tourism

Dr Juan Miguel González-Aranda, CTO, represented LifeWatch ERIC yesterday at the 1st International Congress of Equinology and Equestrian Tourism. The interdisciplinary event took place at the Polytechnic Institute of Viana do Castelo on the northern Portuguese coast. It was held in the Professor Lima de Carvalho Auditorium and co-organised by Dr Enrique Alonso-García, one of the founders of LifeWatch ERIC, who gave a presentation entitled “The International ‘Wild/feral horses in National Parks’ initiative: the case of the Iberian Peninsula”.

The aim of the Congress was to investigate a range of research themes based on the scientific studies of equines, as research on equine social behaviour and cognition is still scarce, despite horses having traditionally been the most-researched animals in Europe due to their major role in the dynamics of human societies. In fact, the event was split between both social and scientific aspects of equine research, which the project behind the event maintains requires the creation of an independent and holistic scientific discipline.

Dr González-Aranda gave a scientific intervention as part of the panel “Language, Intelligence and Cognition”, with his presentation: “e-Horse: the EU LifeWatch ERIC initiative on digital transformation and the role of equids in biodiversity conservation and sustainable use” (e-Horse: a iniciativa EU LifeWatch ERIC sobre transformação digital e o papel dos equídeos na conservação da biodiversidade e uso sustentável).  

The e-Horse Initiative

e-Horse is the LifeWatch ERIC initiative on digital transformation to understand the role of equids in biodiversity conservation and sustainability. As a distributed e-Infrastructure, LifeWatch ERIC provides state-of-art ICT in the form of outstanding analysis techniques such as Geodesign to support decision and policy makers in addressing societal challenges. It takes a transdisciplinary scientific evidence-based knowledge approach, applied in key sectors such as Agroecology, Invasive Alien Species impacts, and more. The work LifeWatch ERIC does in integrating micro-, meso- and macro- scales (which presents a challenge in terms of data heterogeneity) contributes towards the accomplishment of the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030 & the Green Deal, as well as the SDG 2030 objectives

The e-Horse initiative involves other world regions besides Europe, among which Latin-America and the Caribbean, the USA, Africa, Japan, etc. It is therefore seen as an international referent in the holistic approach to horse livestock and ecosystem sustainable management. Together with the provision of advance services dealing with topics such as genetics, ethology, cultural heritage, etc., it fosters sustainable socioeconomic development beyond preservation activities. So far, two areas of e-Horse activity are of note: (a) Feasibility study of grassland monitoring for wild and domestic horse habitat mapping, making use of the EU-Copernicus programme for operational monitoring applications based on high resolution and acquisition frequency of Sentinel-1 (radar) and Sentinel-2 (optical) satellites, and (b) Development of equestrian sustainable ecotourism activities in the Portugal-Spain transboundary ecosystems corridor through cultural heritage trails.

Overall, e-Horse supports the provision of proper ecosystem sustainable services by demonstrating the essential role that horses play in recovering ecosystems worldwide. A concrete example of this is the case of mitigating the “drying of the oaks” disease in the “dehesas-montados”, with e-Horse linking cultural and biodiversity policies in instances of private sector involvement, through the development of citizen science activities.

Inmaculada Figueroa, new Chair of LifeWatch ERIC General Assembly

Inmaculada Figueroa: Chair

LifeWatch ERIC is pleased to announce the election of Inmaculada Figueroa as the new Chair of the LifeWatch ERIC General Assembly for the next two years.

“I have been involved with LifeWatch since the early stages of its creation and hosting in Spain and with the General Assembly since its establishment as a European Research Infrastructure Consortium in 2017, and I am delighted to have been elected as Chair of this strategic infrastructure in such a crucial moment, with LifeWatch ERIC closing its first term and setting its sights on upcoming the challenges presented by the next one. After 5 years of groundwork building the tools and web-services required, LifeWatch ERIC is in a position to boost its contribution to civil society, in supporting the European Union in reaching the 2030 Green Deal Biodiversity Targets and the UN SDGs,” says Inmaculada Figueroa; “As much as I am looking forward to getting started, I would first like to extend my thanks and congratulations to my predecessor for the brilliant work he has done for the infrastructure, Gert Verreet. I would also like to take a moment to remember Marc R. De Jonge, who also chaired the LifeWatch ERIC General Assembly until his untimely passing on 27 April 2019.”

Inmaculada is an electrical engineer with more than 17 years’ experience in the Space domain (Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial), being responsible for the Assembly and integration of scientific satellite payloads. Since 2009, she has been working in the Ministry of Science and Innovation of Spain and its predecessors in the field of Research Infrastructures and e-Infrastructures. Currently, she is the Deputy Vice Director General for Internationalization of Science & Innovation in the Spanish Ministry of Science & Innovation and ESFRI Vice Chair.

The LifeWatch ERIC Executive Board and all the staff warmly welcome Inmaculada and wish her the best for her new position.

The LifeWatch ERIC General Assembly

The LifeWatch ERIC General Assembly is the highest governing body of LifeWatch ERIC and is responsible for the overall direction and supervision of the infrastructure. The members of the LifeWatch ERIC General Assembly are:       

Inmaculada Figueroa (Chair, ES); Gert Verreet, Aline Van der Werf, Jerome Degreef (Belgium); Georgios Kotoulas, Eva Chatzinicolaou (GR); Grazia Pavoncello (IT), Joana Pinheiro, Pedro Beja, Rui Figueira (PT); Viorel Vulturescu (RO); Luboš Halada (SK), Albin Kralj (SI), Maria Teresa Serrano, Alejandro Rodríguez, José Juan Sánchez (ES); Edwin van Huis, Marjolein Robijn, as well as the members of the LifeWatch ERIC Executive Board: Christos Arvanitidis (CEO), Juan Miguel González-Aranda (CTO), Alberto Basset (Service Centre Director), Peter Van Tienderen (Interim Director of VLab & Innovation Centre) and Lucas de Moncuit (CFO).