LifeWatch ERIC at the EU – Russian Federation Symposium on Research Infrastructures

Symposium on RIs

On Friday, 17 December, LifeWatch ERIC CTO Juan Miguel González-Aranda gave a presentation at the EU – Russian Federation Symposium on Research Infrastructures (RIs). The virtual symposium brought together delegates from Russian and European RIs, active in various scientific domains, to raise awareness of the broad array of scientific opportunities offered to scientists and for RI cooperation in Europe and in the Russian Federation.

In his presentation, “Fostering EU-Russian Federation e-Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research, Sustainable Services provision and Conservation Mechanisms, Together” which he gave on behalf of the LifeWatch ERIC Executive Board, Dr González-Aranda suggested reinforcing existing communities-of-practice between the blocs, as well as creating an “essential e-Research Collaboration middleware” to enhance their interoperability. He also spoke about the wealth of Russian biodiversity data already available on the GBIF, and how LifeWatch ERIC can support the strategy for Transition of the Russian Federation to the Model of Sustainability Development through the provision of FAIRness mechanisms, such as integration into the EOSC.

You can see the full agenda of the event here.

CREMLINplus (Connecting Russian and European Measures for Large-scale Research Infrastructures – plus) is an EU Horizon 2020 project fostering European-Russian scientific and technical collaboration in the field of research infrastructures (RIs).

RI-VIS project is an EU Horizon 2020 project designed to increase the visibility of European research infrastructures (RIs) to new communities in Europe and beyond.

New ESFRI Roadmap Launched

ESFRI Roadmap

 Αfter a two-year-long process of hard and meticulous work by a great number of scientists and ESFRI delegates, a new ESFRI Roadmap was published on 7 December 2021. ESFRI presented the 2021 ESFRI Roadmap on Large Scale Research Infrastructures during a half-day online conference, which you can watch here. For more information, please visit the Launch Event webpage. The ESFRI Roadmap contains probably the best European science facilities based on a thorough evaluation and selection procedure. It combines ESFRI Projects, which are new research infrastructures in progress towards implementation, and ESFRI Landmarks, successfully implemented Research Infrastructures. The document also describes the broader Landscape of research in Europe which is an important component to ESFRI methodology

The ESFRI Roadmap 2021 includes 11 new Research Infrastructure Projects and reports on the development of research infrastructures under the existing Roadmap. All previous ESFRI Roadmap updates proved to be very influential and provided useful strategic guidance for European Countries’ investments, which goes beyond the research infrastructure domain. The 2021 update also considers the merits of the Open science concept and highlights the quest to address global challenges, as reflected in the UN Sustainable Development Goals. One of the key aspects of ESFRI rests in ensuring that excellent scientists have access to Europe’s best Research Infrastructures, irrespective of borders. This requires truly pan-European collaboration and a global outlook. In this process, ESFRI has acquired immense and valuable experience which it is pleased to share across countries and research infrastructure projects.

Follow and Share Roadmap 2021 news on Twitter: #ESFRIRoadmap2021

Information taken from the ESFRI website.

LifeWatch ERIC in round table: “A Preview of the Role of Science at the EU-Africa Summit 2022”

EU-Africa Summit 2022

On 8–9 December 2021, AERAP Science (the Africa-Europe Science and Innovation Platform) hosted the round-table session “A preview on the Role of Science at the EU-Africa Summit 2022”, to consider the contribution of science to the priorities for the EU-Africa Summit on 17–18 February 2022 in Brussels. In his contribution, Dr Juan Miguel González-Aranda, LifeWatch ERIC CTO and ERIC Forum Executive Board Member, addressed the necessity of establishing an EU-AFRICA e-Biodiversity network, in order to accomplish the Sustainable Development Goals regarding the sustainable provision of ecosystem services.

For more information on this event, please see the AERAP article.

Full participant list:

Orla Feely – Vice President for Research, Innovation & Impact (VPRII), University College Dublin, Ireland

Erik Hansalek – Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), Germany

Racey Muchilwa – Head of Novartis, Sub Saharan Africa (SSA), Novartis, Kenya

Daan du Toit – Deputy Director-General: ICR, Department of Science and Innovation, South Africa

Maria Cristina Russo – Director for Global Approach and International Cooperation in R&I at European Commission, European Commission, Belgium

Mahama Ouedraogo – Director, Science and Technology Department, African Union Commission, Ethiopia

Shamila Nair-Bedouelle – Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences, UNESCO, France

Jean-Pierre Bourguignon – Institut des hautes études scientifiques (IHES), France

Juan Miguel González-Aranda – LifeWatch ERIC Chief Technology Officer & ERIC FORUM Executive Board Member

Michael Makanga – Director, European Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP), Netherlands

Raham Rachdi – USPA, Paris

Rahel Belete – Kilimanjaro Innovation Hub, Ethiopia

Djime Adoum – Director General, Sahel Coalition, Chad

Bernd Halling – Head of Corporate Strategy, Bayer AG

Intisar Soghayroun – Minister, Ministry of Higher education and Scientific Research, Sudan

Space4Climate Action: LifeWatch ERIC at the World Space Forum

Space4Climate Action

Yesterday, during the second day of the 2021 World Space Forum “Space4Climate Action” organised by UNOOSA (the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs), LifeWatch ERIC CTO, Dr Juan Miguel González-Aranda, presented “Towards the establishment of a global e-Biodiversity network for Sustainable Development Goal accomplishment and Ecosystem Services provision”. Dr González-Aranda highlighted that humanity is bringing our life support system, the biosphere, to the point of collapse, proposing that to solve this situation we must deepen our current level of knowledge, move beyond the present fragmentation of science, and foster greater complementarity and synergy between disciplines. One of the ways to do this being the development of new trans-disciplinary paradigms and the building of synthetic knowledge, with the aim of boosting innovation and a great involvement of young scientists and civil society.

LifeWatch ERIC is Europe’s first line of response to the biodiversity emergency, applying state-of-the-art ICT (Remote Sensing, Big Data, HPC-Cloud-Edge Computing, Blockchain, AI-Machine Learning, IoT-Sensor Networks, etc.) and services to scientific Communities-of-Practice and research centres all over the world through its distributed e-Infrastructure. It engages with and interconnects Researchers, Technologists, Decision-makers, Environmental Managers, Companies, Entrepreneurs, and Citizen Scientists, helping these stakeholders to develop their activities into Virtual Research Environments (VREs). This demonstrates the added value which ICT brings to battling “The Big Five” significant causes of biodiversity loss (changing use of sea and land, direct exploitation of organisms, climate change, pollution and invasive non-native species), contributing significantly to the introduction of the appropriate measures to combat them. LifeWatch ERIC is particularly involved, for instance, in Aichi Target 9, regarding Non-indigenous and Invasive species.

These activities are being carried out in synergy with the UN SDGs (in particular, 15: Life on Land and 14: Life on Water), the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030, the European Green Deal, and many more. This is in addition to the essential role of the forthcoming Global Europe instrument (as often cited in ongoing EU-CELAC and EU-African Union cooperation) in relation to indigenous knowledge. The recognition of the importance of indigenous knowledge in reversing biodiversity loss is further reflected in the recent creation of IKRI (the Indigenous Knowledge Research Infrastructure) where key outcomes are anticipated in cooperation with prominent stakeholders, including UNOOSA, ITU (The UN International Telecommunications Union) and LifeWatch ERIC.

You can see the full programme here.

LWGreece Research Infrastructure Data Services

Research Infrastructure Data Services

The Hellenic Centre for Marine Research (HCMR) is working on the enhancement of the LifeWatchGreece Research Infrastructure (LWGreece RI) Data Services. The purpose of these activities is to provide end-users with a user-friendly service, enabling them to search and access (meta)data from two sources, Micro-CT vLab and IPT MedOBIS.

The activities are divided into three major categories:

(a) design and implementation of facilities for harvesting data

(b) data modelling and semantic data transformation activities, and

(c) updates and enhancements of the Data Services of the LWGreece RI.

More details of these activities are given below:

A set of supporting services and tools have been designed and implemented, able to harvest resources from two databases: (a) the IPT MedOBIS database and (b) the Micro-CT vLab database. A harvesting mechanism has been implemented that exports information from the above-mentioned sources, which are subsequently transformed and added to LWGreece repositories (see point below). 

After harvesting data from the sources described above, they needed to be homogenised before depositing them in the repositories of the LWGreece infrastructure. To this end, a set of mappings was implemented, using X3ML Specification Language,[1] that describes the transition of the harvested resources from their original schemata, to a common target top-level ontology MarineTLO.[2] The result was a set of ontological-based descriptions regarding MarineTLO that were inserted into the LWGreece semantic repositories.

Several endpoints of the Data Services were updated, so that they can properly retrieve information from LWGreece semantic repositories. In addition, we have enhanced the services based on the findings and the updated modelling that emerged from the two new sources that were used (i.e., IPT MedOBIS, micro-CT vLab). 

It is worth mentioning that the Data Services (along with all the other available vLabs) is now available through the Metadata Catalogue of LifeWatch ERIC. Allowing this central catalogue to be machine-interoperable is necessary for the population of the catalogue, and implements the FAIR principles and EOSC-interoperability, promoted through ENVRI-FAIR WP9 and WP11.

[1] Marketakis, Y., Minadakis, N., Kondylakis, H., Konsolaki, K., Samaritakis, G., Theodoridou, M., Flouris, G. and Doerr, M., 2017. X3ML mapping framework for information integration in cultural heritage and beyond. International Journal on Digital Libraries, 18(4), pp. 301-319.

[2] Tzitzikas, Y., Allocca, C., Bekiari, C., Marketakis, Y., Fafalios, P., Doerr, M., Minadakis, N., Patkos, T. and Candela, L., 2016. Unifying heterogeneous and distributed information about marine species through the top level ontology MarineTLO. Program, 50(1), pp. 16-40.

Explainers: the Micro-CT vLab

Micro-CT vLab

The Micro-CT vLab is a virtual laboratory which is hosted in the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research (HCMR) and was initially established during the ESFRI LifeWatchGreece Research Infrastructure. This virtual lab offers users access to virtual galleries of various samples which can be displayed and downloaded through a web application. This tool has been updated over the Elixir-GR, BIOIMAGING-GR and Synthesys+ projects with the addition of several new features. Firstly, the Micro-CT vLab has now been upgraded to Drupal version 9. A series of micro-CT datasets from medical to biological studies can be uploaded in order to be stored and disseminated.

Furthermore, the Micro-CT vLab has now a REST API for creating new content. Through the API, the user has the ability to access micro-CT API endpoints, which can retrieve information about various micro-CT scans, species and metadata information related with the micro-CT datasets. A metadata catalogue has been also created in order to dynamically display the complete metadata available for each dataset which are published in the micro-CT. Finally, following registration, the user now has the ability to upload the original micro-CT datasets and the related metadata through a user-friendly form.

You can watch a short demonstration video of the Micro-CT vLab below.