LifeWatch ERIC attended the OSCARS kick-off meeting in Thessaloniki

The OSCARS kick-off meeting took place in Thessaloniki from 13 to 15 March. The event brought together the scientific communities of the five Science Clusters and all project partners to define the work plan for the first 12 months of the project. Our CEO, Christos Arvanitidis, attended the meeting.

The OSCARS project stands for Open Science Clusters’ Action for Research and Society. It brings together ESFRI and other world-class research infrastructures organised in five “Science Clusters”:

  • ENVRI-FAIR (environmental science)
  • EOSC-Life (life science)
  • ESCAPE (astronomy and particle physics)
  • PaNOSC (neutron and light source science)
  • SSHOC (social science and humanities)

These clusters have collaborated over the last four years to enhance the efficiency and productivity of researchers by providing open data services and infrastructures for discovering, accessing, and reusing data.

The event began with a joint meeting of the consortia of two EU Science Cluster-led projects, OSCARS and EVERSE. Members discussed areas of cooperation and planned common activities.

The Science Cluster coordinators described the status of their work and plans for their cluster’s competence centres and virtual Research Environments (VREs) and the benefits of EOSC for their cluster. In the afternoon, mixed groups worked on detailed work plans for Competence Centres and VREs and potential cooperation areas with other projects and initiatives. 

The last day was dedicated to the launch of the Open Call for Open Science projects. The Call aims to support researchers involved in open data research projects that promote sharing research data and results based on FAIR principles. Proposals developing services or tools enabling open research and encouraging open science practice are eligible. For more information on the Call, please visit this page:

About the project

The OSCARS project aims to consolidate the accomplishments of the five EOSC projects into long-lasting interdisciplinary services and working practices. In addition, it also seeks to lead in engaging and encouraging the participation of diverse research communities in the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) by developing innovative open science projects. This goal is to promote the adoption of FAIR-data-intensive research practices across the European Research Area (ERA).

WoRMS released the 2023 top ten new marine species

On March 19, The World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS), an initiative hosted by VLIZ, LifeWatch Belgium‘s focal point, released the top ten marine species described by researchers in 2023, coinciding with World Taxonomist Appreciation Day. The list highlights about 2,000 new marine species discovered each year. In 2023, WoRMS added almost 2,000 marine species, including some 330 fossils.

In December 2023, World Register of Marine Species sent an invitation for nominations to editors of WoRMS and major taxonomy journals. The invitation was also posted on the WoRMS website and social media, allowing anyone to nominate their favourite marine species described in 2023. These nominations could also include marine fossils.

The 2024 Top Ten list
A committee of volunteers, including taxonomists and data managers, reviewed nominations and selected final candidates. The list of selected species is not hierarchical:

  • Falkor’s Carnivorous Sponge, Abyssocladia falkor
  • The Bifrost Nemertean, Tetranemertes bifrost
  • Solwarawarriors vestimentiferan, Alaysia solwarawarriors
  • Hannan’s Pygmy Squid, Kodama jujutsu
  • The Samoan Nautilus, Nautilus samoaensis
  • Prince Albert’s Sea Daisy, Xyloplax princealberti
  • Bouchet’s Dorymenia, Dorymenia boucheti
  • Fine Line Nudibranch, Halgerda scripta
  • Fordyce’s Giant Penguin, Kumimanu fordycei
  • St. George’s Cross Medusa, Santjordia pagesi

The final selections showcase a variety of taxonomic groups found in the marine environment, such as crustaceans, corals, sponges, jellyfish, and worms. They also shed light on the challenges faced by the marine environment today. The chosen candidates feature astonishing and scientifically significant marine creatures that appeal to the public. Each of these marine species has a unique story, and this year’s chosen species include some of the weirdest and most astonishing creatures found in the ocean, such as a beautifully coloured nemertean, a carnivorous sponge, and a giant extinct penguin. Taxonomists collect, identify, and name new species every day. Over 300 taxonomists also maintain the World Register of Marine Species.

About the top-ten list of Marine Species
The WoRMS Top Ten Marine Species 2023 would not have been possible without the collaboration between the WoRMS Data Management Team (DMT), the WoRMS Top Ten Decision Committee, the WoRMS Steering Committee (SC), and the voluntary contributions of many of the WoRMS editors.
The Top Ten Lists initiative started in 2007. Please visit this page to learn about the 2023 Top Ten List and previous years’ lists.

What WoRMS does
WoRMS – the World Register of Marine Species – compiles a comprehensive list of all marine organisms and their synonyms. It provides valid and other names to help interpret taxonomic literature. Over 245,000 marine species have been described and managed by more than 300 scientists worldwide. WoRMS is a service provided by LifeWatch Belgium.

The cover image was taken by Merrick Ekins and shows the holotype and paratype of Abyssocladia falkor, a new carnivorous sponge from the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia, collected by the ROV FALKOR. The original online source can be found at

LifeWatch ERIC organised the Dahlem Workshop of the EOSC Future project

The Dahlem Workshop of the EOSC Future project, ‘Accelerating Open Science in EOSC: Collaborative Interfaces between Scientific Domains and Disciplines,’ took place in Barcelona, Spain, from 5 to 7 March.

Organised by LifeWatch ERIC, the workshop’s main objective was to improve dialogue and ensure that the EOSC platform effectively supports interdisciplinary initiatives. Also, engineering teams shared insights on physical development, while high-level scientists presented their achievements and discussed current challenges. This workshop covered EOSC Future’s goals and methods for developing collaborative interfaces.

A Dahlem Workshop is an international scientific exchange that encourages cooperation and communication and generates new knowledge. It offers a dynamic interdisciplinary process.

The workshop goal

The workshop started with an opening session from LifeWatch ERIC’S CEO, Christos Arvanitidis. The first day’s theme was “Collaborative interfaces between different scientific domains and disciplines promoted by EOSC”. The participants brought some examples from EOSC Future projects and future perspectives. On the second day, the workshop focused on three domains: Molecular Biology and Omics, Eco-economy, and Social Sciences and Humanities. Furthermore, each domain had a breakout group session where Science Projects, Science Clusters, and top scientists collaborated to address challenges, brainstorm data-driven solutions, and explore opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration via EOSC. The final day was dedicated to compiling the results of the writing workshop and planning for their future publication in a scientific journal.

This EOSC Future project’s initiative fosters interdisciplinary collaboration, promotes synthetic knowledge, and drives innovation to address major societal demands. Additionally, this workshop is crucial to building a more interconnected and collaborative scientific landscape. To learn more about EOSC Future, please visit the official website.

LifeWatch ERIC at the kick-off meeting of the European Partnership on Agroecology

On February 28, the European Commission launched the European Partnership on Agroecology and the European Partnership on Animal Health and Welfare. LifeWatch ERIC, represented by Iria Soto and José Manuel Ávila, participated in the first, which introduced the “European Partnership on Accelerating Farming Systems Transition: Agroecology Living Labs and Research Infrastructures.” The two events represent a significant milestone in advancing European resilient agri-food systems.

The partnership is a large-scale European research and innovation initiative that involves the European Commission, 26 Member States, associated countries, and third countries.

The European Partnership on Agroecology aims to support agriculture that meets the challenges of climate change, food security, biodiversity loss, and environmental sustainability. It strives to make farming profitable and attractive for farmers by pooling resources of the European Commission. Also, it involved states to fund high-level research aligned with the Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda.

LifeWatch ERIC leads Working Package n°5 on Data and Monitoring for Agroecology Transition. The goal is to develop a comprehensive conceptual framework, methodologies, indicators, and an efficient data management strategy and tools to monitor and evaluate the transition. The process will be participative, including stakeholder and expert consultations.

A partnership has launched a co-funded call to accelerate the transition of farming systems. The pre-proposal deadline for submission is April 26, while the full proposal deadline is September 19. Eligible countries for the call are Germany, Denmark, Belgium, Netherlands, France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Ireland, Iceland, Slovenia, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, Switzerland, Lithuania, Estonia, Cyprus, and Turkey. For more information, please visit the following website: