The LifeWatch ERIC Thematic Services workshops have started with a kick-off on Taxonomy

On January 30, at the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts in Brussels, the first LifeWatch ERIC Thematic Services Workshops kicked off, focused on Taxonomy Services. Alberto Basset, LifeWatch ERIC Service Centre Director, opened the meeting by presenting the LifeWatch Thematic Core Services (TCS). These services consist of tools, virtual labs, and other research products designed to facilitate the work of various stakeholders. They aim to support specialised scientific communities, experts involved in environmental policies (such as the UN Decade of Oceans and the European Green Deal), and practitioners dealing with biodiversity observatories.

Alberto Basset underlined that the scientific community is critical for a Research Infrastructure. To best serve this community he introduced the LifeWatch ERIC Thematic Core Services Working Groups. The goal is to transition from a community-tailored structure to a community-guided one.

Leen Vandepitte of LifeWatch Belgium welcomed the participants with a session to define the scope of the Taxonomy Services. Around 20 LifeWatch Distributed Centres participants and externals were at the workshop. The workshop occurredd concurrently with the LifeWatch Belgium Biodiversity Day, titled this year “Taxonomy: The science behind species discovery.”

During the workshop, Stefanie Dekeyzer from LifeWatch Belgium presented the existing taxonomic services available within and outside of LifeWatch. Participants had the opportunity to discuss the current state of the Taxonomy Services and how well they align with the needs and requirements of the scientific community. The workshop concluded with a discussion on organising future interactions within the TCS community.

This workshop was proposed and organised by LifeWatch Belgium in collaboration with all LifeWatch Common Facilities and National Distributed Centers.

LifeWatch ERIC and RedCLARA: boosting science and research in Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean 

Redclara and LifeWatch ERIC

The European Consortium for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research Infrastructures, LifeWatch ERIC, represented by its CEO, Christos Arvanitidis, and the Latin American Cooperation of Advanced Networks, RedCLARA, represented by its Executive Director, Luis Eliécer Cadenas, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), for the coordination and development of cooperation activities to promote science and research in Europe and Latin America and the Caribbean.

Signed on December 2023, the agreement sets out specific lines of collaboration, such as the development of a common agenda for participation in key events, the generation of joint proposals for grants or lines of funding and reciprocal collaboration in virtual research laboratories, including access to MiLab, managed by RedCLARA, and Virtual Research Environments (VREs) developed by LifeWatch ERIC.

Recognising the different technical characteristics of the environments, the entities committed to generate specific agreements to ensure compatibility, especially in data loading, management and processing, so that the platforms and systems of both institutions were interoperable and facilitate the efficient flow of information, within the framework of the FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable) principles in all shared data, services, VREs and other research products.

Regarding the blockchain, the MoU establishes that the entities will share knowledge, experiences and best practices to strengthen their capabilities and jointly advance in the adoption and adaptation of solutions that respond to the current and future needs of the scientific and technological community. The agreement endorses the shared vision of innovating and collaborating for a more secure, transparent and efficient data management.

Specifically, the commitment established is designed to analyse and study blockchain environments that the parties are currently promoting – “LACChain” by RedCLARA and “LifeBlock” by LifeWatch ERIC -, to identify synergies, learning and collaboration points, through mutual development opportunities that allow them to optimise and enhance the use of this technology.

In addition, the MoU establishes the creation and strengthening of a Regional Training Platform for the technological tools and solutions offered by LifeWatch ERIC for Latin America and the Caribbean users. 

One of the main areas of scientific collaboration will be centred on addressing the challenges associated with climate change, given the relevance of this problem in today’s world. The agreement establishes a framework for scientific collaboration through advanced infrastructures focused on this issue, which will strengthen the research capabilities of both institutions and the scientific community in general.

To implement the lines of collaboration, a Monitoring Commission has been established, with two representatives from LifeWatch ERIC and two from RedCLARA.

LifeWatch Bulgaria at the first edition of Plovdiv Science Festival to showcase commitment to Environmental Science 

Plovdiv Science Festival

LifeWatch Bulgaria participated in the first edition of the Plovdiv Science Festival, from November 23 to 26. The festival was held at Plovdiv’s newly inaugurated Research Center for Plant and System Biology and Biotechnology. This venue was ideal for a festival that promotes scientific knowledge and encourages collaboration among researchers and scientists. LifeWatch Bulgaria was there to support environmental research and to showcase the commitment to pursuing scientific excellence.

The festival’s organiser is the Beautiful Science Foundation, with the support of the Agricultural University Plovdiv and Green Balkans. Collaborations and partnerships also included the Bulgarian Ministry of Education and Science, the Municipality of Plovdiv, and the National Bank of Serbia. Also, the support came from several non-governmental organisations, academic institutions, corporate entities, international collaborators, and media partners.

The festival tackled topics like protecting the climate and preserving biodiversity, specifically rare and protected bird species. Participants enjoyed informative discussions and presentations addressing critical environmental sustainability issues.

LifeWatch Bulgaria participated in the Plovdiv Science Festival to showcase its contribution to facilitating the exchange of scientific data and promoting international cooperation in scientific research. The festival provided scientists, researchers, and environmental enthusiasts a platform to network and explore opportunities. The Bulgarian National Node of LifeWatch ERIC highlighted the importance of working together to address global environmental issues and promoting responsible management of the planet’s diverse life.

LifeWatch ERIC launches the 2024 Thematic Service Workshop Series

lifewatch eric thematic workshop

Last update: 1 February 2024

The LifeWatch ERIC Thematic Services, co-developed by the LifeWatch ERIC Common Facilities and National Distributed Centres, are a key component of the 2022-2026 Infrastructure Strategic Working Plan (SWP). They represent the key priority areas of eService construction in LifeWatch ERIC proposed by the National Distributed Centres.

Activities, developments and physical outcomes of the LifeWatch ERIC Thematic Services, as eServices, Virtual Labs (vLabs) and more complex and complete Virtual Research Environments (VREs), are planned to be coordinated by Thematic Service Working Groups participated by scientists from both the National Distributed Centres and the Common Facilities, with an overall coordination of the LifeWatch ERIC Service Centre.

The following main objectives are envisaged for the Working Groups:

  • Enhance collaboration both between and within the Common Facilities and Distributed Centres;
  • Review and update the mapping of the research needs of the National scientific communities regarding the Thematic Services and highlight the construction priorities;
  • Promote and coordinate the participation of Distributed Centre research Institutions to Horizon Europe and other European/international projects, on behalf of and in collaboration with LifeWatch ERIC, in order to co-design and co-construct the priority services with other key actors in the biodiversity and ecosystem research landscape, including the relevant communities.

For the launch of Working Group constitution and the promotion of the activities and developments currently running on each LifeWatch ERIC Thematic Service, a series of LifeWatch ERIC Thematic Service Workshops have been co-organised by the LifeWatch ERIC National Distributed Centres and Common Facilities. Each Workshop is then locally organised by a LifeWatch ERIC National Distributed Centre, engaging the relevant national community, with the support of the Service Centre.

Workshops programme by Thematic Service

Click the Thematic Service for more information. The agenda will be updated with new workshops soon.