Enhancing Biodiversity Access through Collaboration

We are delighted to announce the collaboration between LifeWatch ERIC and OpenAIRE, aimed at advancing Open Science. By joining forces, we will enhance the accessibility of Open Science, improve the FAIRness of LifeWatch ERIC research and enrich the OpenAIRE Graph.

Open Science is gradually becoming the modus operandi in research practices, shaping the way researchers collaborate and publish, discover, and access scientific knowledge. Scientists are increasingly publishing research results beyond the article, to share all scientific products generated during an experiment, such as metadata, data, analytical services, etc.

LifeWatch ERIC and OpenAIRE proudly signed a Memorandum of Understanding to sustain and accelerate Open Science. They commit to enhance their Open Science activities by improving the FAIRness of the LifeWatch ERIC research and enriching the OpenAIRE Graph. Both organisations have joined forces to work on EOSC projects, with the OpenAIRE Graph playing a crucial role in aggregating data sources and connecting metadata such as funding information, data, publications, software, and other unique identifiers (PIDs). Through this collaboration, the combined efforts of Lifewatch ERIC and OpenAIRE will enhance the overall data quality presented on the EOSC Portal.

As a result of this collaboration, all publications, datasets, research projects, software and other outputs of LifeWatch ERIC will now be made accessible through an OpenAIRE CONNECT gateway. Moreover, a MONITOR service with a set of configurable indicators and tools will be made available to simplify research monitoring and evaluation, while measuring and increasing the uptake of Open Science practices.

Sustaining flagship project outputs that provide the infrastructural backbone of FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable) and open data discovery is a priority to both organisations. These efforts will also play key role in realising a meaningful European Open Science Cloud for research communities, building upon the work that is already undertaken in other projects, such as EOSC-FUTURE, FAIR-IMPACT, BioDT and OpenAIRE Nexus project. 

“Providing access to the world’s biodiversity content, services and communities in one click is LifeWatch ERIC’s vision. The signature of this Memorandum of Understanding is yet another milestone to this direction, by fostering synergies and complementing each other, both OpenAIRE and LifeWatch ERIC will have a more significant impact and valuable contribution to the acceleration and integration of Open Science and FAIRness within the European Research Area and beyond, providing even more innovative and interoperable tools for our research communities”, Christos Arvanitidis, LifeWatch ERIC Chief Executive Officer.

“This partnership aims to bring together the biodiversity communities closer to Open Science in practical ways, through shared infrastructure, bringing economies of scale, and building trusted relationships. OpenAIRE can only learn from LifeWatch ERIC so as to calibrate our services to respond to the real needs of this vibrant community”, Natalia Manola, OpenAIRE CEO.


LifeWatch ERIC: LifeWatch ERIC is a European Research Infrastructure Consortium providing e-Science research facilities and services to scientists investigating biodiversity and ecosystem functions in order to support society in addressing key societal challenges linked to climate change and resource efficiency, food security and agriculture, sustainable development, energy and health. LifeWatch ERIC’s vision is to become the Research Infrastructure providing access to the world’s biodiversity content, services and communities in one click.

OpenAIRE: OpenAIRE is a Non-Profit Partnership, established in 2018 as a legal entity, OpenAIRE AMKE, to ensure a permanent open scholarly communication infrastructure and support research in Europe and beyond. OpenAIRE is making Open Science happen. Collectively and in practical ways. Its fields of expertise and activities include services, policies and training. Operating since 2009, OpenAIRE is an integral part and a leading force behind the European Open Science Cloud developments.

OpenAIRE Nexus: The Horizon 2020 OpenAIRE-Nexus project, a consortium of 11 partners, brings in Europe, EOSC and the world a set of services to implement and accelerate Open Science and tools to embed in researchers’ workflows, making it easier for them to accept and uptake Open Science practices of openness and FAIRness.

Join Intercoonecta, the EU-LAC RESINFRA event on international collaboration in Research Infrastructures

Our Maite Irazábal Plá and Joaquin López Lerida will participate in the Intercoonecta event on July 25th. This event, organized by the Agencia Española De Cooperacion Internacional Para El Desarrollo, will launch the EU-LAC RESINFRA PLUS project under the Horizon Europe programme, which builds on the success of EU-LAC RESINFRA. The event will provide an opportunity to reflect on the project’s outcomes, share best practices, lessons learned, and hear from the consortium of 18 partners from 14 countries about bi-regional collaboration of research infrastructures examples.

At the event, speakers will present the project’s results in scientific areas of food and environmental safety. Plenary sessions will facilitate information exchange, creating a space for fruitful discussions and collaboration. Speakers will also present the sustainability plan for bi-regional cooperation in research infrastructures.

The EU-LAC RESINFRA project aimed to foster scientific cooperation between research infrastructures in Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean. It promotes internationalization, reinforces EU-LAC cooperation, and performs human capital development and capacity building. EU-LAC RESINFRA kicked off in December 2019. The project has already progressed towards the expected results, like the report on the criteria, scientific areas and methodology. It includes information from previous projects and recommends how to improve the mapping of the LAC Research Infrastructures. EU-LAC RESINFRA has also launched four pilots, led by E-RIHS, LifeWatch-ERICINSTRUCT-ERIC and the RICAP Network. These activities include a pilot technical framework for exchanging heritage science data, preparing and launching Calls, and organising study visits and summer schools.

Both projects facilitate the collaboration of research infrastructures among researchers, infrastructure managers, innovation agency representatives, policymakers, and qualified professionals. 

To attend the event, please subscribe to this page.

SUBMERSE to Leverage Existing Subsea Infrastructure for Exciting New Fields of Research

Started in May 2023, SUBMERSE (SUBMarine cablEs for ReSearch and Exploration) project aims to utilise existing submarine cables already used by the research and education networking community, to monitor the Earth and its systems. By utilising existing equipment and infrastructure in a new way, SUBMERSE not only avoids the need for extra hardware under the sea, but also improves the return on investment by enhancing and widening its use.

The 36-month project, in which LifeWatch ERIC is a partner, will work closely with the diverse research communities who intend on using the data, to design and build the data generation service together, thereby creating a highly collaborative environment where data is generated by and for all parties. In this way, SUBMERSE goes beyond the traditional model of supporting and facilitating global research and education with infrastructure, to an environment where project partners and research communities together generate and share research from that infrastructure for multiple purposes.

Over the past five years, national seismic and oceanographic infrastructures, together with NRENs, and partners from universities, research institutes, and industry in parts of Europe have pioneered techniques to use submarine optical fibres to monitor the Earth and its systems. The methods and technologies used vary. However, two techniques show promise in the detail and scalability of their deployment: Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS) and State of Polarisation (SoP). The geographic locations where experiments have taken place, the length of experiments, the types of technologies used, and technological readiness levels of those technologies used also vary substantially from country to country.

SUBMERSE seeks to create and deliver a pilot activity which would serve as a blueprint for continuous monitoring upon many more cables in the future, which would lead to the opening of new market opportunities and the demonstration of methods to maximise the investments in research infrastructures, by using the by-products of their operations for the purposes of new scientific research. This would lead to the integration of established regional and national research infrastructures, thereby enabling world-class European research not possible before.

The Biodiversity Knowledge Hub is Online!


The Horizon 2020 BiCIKL Project, of which LifeWatch ERIC is partner, announces that the Biodiversity Knowledge Hub (BKH) is now online.

The BKH is a one-stop portal that allows users to access FAIR and interlinked biodiversity data and services in a few clicks. BKH has been designed to support a new emerging community of users over time and across the entire biodiversity research cycle providing its services to anybody, anywhere and anytime.

“We have invested our best energies and resources in the development of BKH and the Fair Data Place (FDP), which is the beating heart of the portal” – says Christos Arvanitidis, CEO of LifeWatch ERIC – “BKH has been designed to support a new emerging community of users across the entire biodiversity research cycle. Its purpose goes beyond the BiCIKL project itself: we are thrilled to say that BKH is meant to stay, aiming to reshape the way biodiversity knowledge is accessed and used.”

The BKH is designed to serve a new emerging community of users over time and across the entire biodiversity research cycle.

“The Knowledge Hub is the main product from our BiCIKL consortium, and we are delighted with the result! BKH can easily be seen as the beginning of the major shift in the way we search interlinked biodiversity information,” says Prof. Lyubomir Penev, BiCIKL’s Project coordinator and Founder of Pensoft Publishers

“Biodiversity researchers, research infrastructures and publishers interested in fields ranging from taxonomy to ecology and bioinformatics can now freely use BKH as a compass to navigate the oceans of biodiversity data. BKH will do the linkages,” he adds.

“The BKH outlines how users can navigate and access the linked data, tools and services of the infrastructures cooperating in BiCIKL,” said Joe Miller, Executive Secretary of GBIF—the Global Biodiversity Information Facility. “By revealing how they harvest, liberate and reuse data, these increasingly integrated sources enable researchers in the natural sciences to move more seamlessly between specimens and material samples, genomic and metagenomic data, scientific literature, and taxonomic names and units.”

A training programme on how to best utilise the platform is currently being developed by the Consortium of European Taxonomic Facilities (CETAF), Pensoft Publishers, Plazi, Meise Botanic Garden, EMBL’s European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), ELIXIR Hub, GBIF – the Global Biodiversity Information Facility, and LifeWatch ERIC and will be finalised in the coming months.

A detailed description of the BKH tools and services provided by its contributing organisations is available here.


The MARCO-BOLO (MBO) project launched a survey to assess biodiversity data and monitoring needs of stakeholders in and beyond the EU.

MBO invites the broader biodiversity community to take part in this research and encourages biodiversity data users and non-users to share their experiences. The survey takes 10-12 minutes to complete and includes 25 questions.

Access the survey here and participate by 30 August 2023.

The results of this survey will feed into the creation of better data products usable by different stakeholders engaged in biodiversity conservation and sustainable use. MARCO-BOLO aims at supporting decision-making with the best available knowledge and data!

The survey is part of MARCO-BOLO “MARine Coastal BiOdiversity Long-term Observations: Strengthening biodiversity observation in support of decision making”, coordinated by Nicolas Pade (EMBRC-ERIC) and funded by the European Commission Horizon 2020 Programme (Grant Agreement No. 101082021)

For general questions or comments regarding the study and survey, please contact: mbosurvey.politikwissenschaft@univie.ac.at

For questions regarding the project, please contact: claire.laguionie@embrc.eu  

“A Window on Science” podcast comes of age and gets a new page

LifeWatch ERIC podcasts on science reached 200 plays. The banner says: "Thanks for the 2000 plays! Our podcast series reached 2000 listeners interested in biodiversity and ecosystems"

Are you looking for new podcasts on science? We have you covered! The LifeWatch ERIC podcast ‘A Window on Science’ in 16 months has achieved 2.000 plays. We have published 38 interviews on subjects varying from Open Science to Invasive Alien Species, and now they are easier to find on this dedicated podcast page, all searchable by topic.

‘A Window on Science’ started in March 2022 to raise awareness in the scientific community about the High-Powered Computing facilities available in the cloud for biodiversity and ecosystem research. The innovative analytical and modelling tools in the Virtual Research Environment allow researchers to use each other’s data and expand their work’s geographic and temporal scales. The resultant science-based information is then more relevant to policy-makers and politicians who need to fight against climate change.

LifeWatch ERIC podcasts on science were chosen as the most easily accessible format to make accessible research topics by anyone. They are accessible anytime, anyplace, and are also available on AmazonAppleGoogle and Spotify platforms. The informal conversations can explain to non-specialist audiences the sometimes-opaque language of science, one item at a time. 

That choice seems to be paying off. On 12 July 2023, we passed the 2.000 downloads milestone, but this is just the first step. In the future, we want to include more topics for scientists and anyone concerned about the environment

Feel free to share the link with your friends and family. Help spread the word that LifeWatch ERIC brings together scientists from various disciplines to help save the planet: www.lifewatch.eu/podcasts/.

LifeWatch ERIC presence at Climate Investment Funds deliberation on Gender

Our International Gender Officer at the CIF meeting with delegates from Kenya and Nepal

On 27 June 2023, at the 15th anniversary meeting of Climate Investment Funds (CIF) in Brasilia, ministers from 14 countries released a declaration emphasising that climate change is a global challenge that affects us all but especially developing countries that may have fewer resources to handle these changes. Our International Gender Officer Africa Zanella attended the CIF meeting in Brasilia, pictured here with delegates from Kenya and Nepal. She is CIF Gender Focal Point and represents civil society, helping integrate gender with climate funding programmes.

She is also an official observer of the World Bank, which met with the Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs). They discussed allocating funding for mitigation and adaptation to climate change programmes. During the meeting, Brazil, Fiji, Indonesia and other African Nations made collaboration and investment proposals. The Global committee considered a Nature People Programme and renewable energy funding.

Ms Zanella’s overviewed policy and programmes presentation at Brasilia’s capacity building panel session. Her presentation, ‘Gender Integration for Climate Investment Fund Projects’, shows a lack of progress towards gender parity. This is a catastrophe for the future of our economies, societies and environment, she said

There is an urgent need to promote women’s employment in renewable energy and agricultural technologies through internships, quotas, skill training and human resource policy reforms.

The 14th International Polychaete Conference kicks off in South Africa

International Polychaete Conference

The 14th International Polychaete Conference (IPC) has started and will run until July 7. The conference is hosted by the Stellenbosch University and the Iziko Museums of South Africa, which houses the historic Day Polychaete Collection. IPC14 is dedicated to Prof. John Day, whose contributions to polychaete taxonomy still significantly contribute to current taxonomic research.

Our CEO, Christos Arvanitidis, will present the European Research Infrastructure LifeWatch ERIC and its potential to support the Polychaete Community. The conference brings together taxonomists, systematists, and evolutionary biologists worldwide to exchange ideas and share research. This year, the conference received 159 abstracts from 31 different countries.

The IPC provides an excellent opportunity for polychaetologists to network and share their work. This year marks the first International Polychaete Conference in Africa, and it will also co-host the XVI South African Society for Systematic Biology 2023 Conference (SASSB) from July 5-7, 2023.

For further information, please visit the official IPC website: https://savetcon.co.za/ipc14/