LifeWatch ERIC supports the Regional Government of Murcia in observation and monitoring of Mar Menor ecosystems

Mar Menor

A general protocol of declaration of intent was signed by the Minister for Environment, Mar Menor, Universities and Research, Juan María Vázquez Rojas, and LifeWatch ERIC CTO, Juan Miguel González Aranda in the framework of the JRU LW.ES-Node LW.ES. This protocol is the starting point for the development of joint projects between the two institutions on the Mar Menor, Region of Murcia and Mediterranean Ecosystems.

LifeWatch ERIC will put its infrastructure for the observation and monitoring of Mar Menor ecosystems at the service of the the Regional Government of Murcia, thanks to the signature of a general protocol of declaration of intent between the Minister for the Environment, Mar Menor, Universities and Research, Juan María Vázquez Rojas, and LifeWatch ERIC CTO, Juan Miguel González-Aranda, in the framework of the JRU LW.ES-Node, LifeWatch Spain.
The specific activities foreseen by this protocol will be framed within the constitution of the LifeWatch ERIC Node in Spain, and will focus on the Mar Menor, Region of Murcia and Mediterranean Ecosystems. A Mixed Monitoring Commission will be established to define all pertaining details.

“The objective of this protocol is to integrate research on the observation and monitoring of the Mar Menor ecosystems and its surroundings, into the European virtual infrastructure for science and technology, and to facilitate, through LifeWatch ERIC, the public knowledge of its state. Monitoring data will be disseminated following transparency criteria, synergies and collaborations will be actively identified and promoted, in particular with other research groups from centres and universities specialised in the observation and development of research on marine ecosystems in a broad sense”, explained Vázquez Rojas.

It is within the objectives of this protocol to promote shared access to scientific infrastructures, multidisciplinary collaboration, integration into national and international research networks, and training, focusing on research, observation and monitoring actions of the marine ecosystem in question. Scientific and outreach events may also be organised to bring together experts in different fields of relevance.

In this context, Juan Miguel González-Aranda presented in the conference held in Murcia ‘Infrastructures for the Observation of Biodiversity and Marine Ecosystems of the Mar Menor’, organised by the Government of Region of Murcia, together with the Minister, Juan María Vazquez Rojas; the General Director of the Mar Menor, Víctor Serrano Conesa, and Manuel Erena Arrabal, Coordinator of the Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing Team of the Murcian Institute for Agrarian and Environmental Research and Development (IMIDA).

Fostering synergies between LifeWatch ERIC and the Huelva Province


On 8 July, a LifeWatch ERIC delegation composed of the Chief Technology Officer, Juan Miguel González-Aranda, and LifeWatch ERIC QARM – FiTSM Technical Assistant for ICT-Core, María Luz Vázquez-Santana, together with the Coordinator of the main initiative of the Smart Food AgroEcology Andalusia ERDF, Rocío Moreno, met with the President of Diputación of the Huelva province, María Eugenía Limón.
The question at the heart of the meeting was how to foster ongoing collaborations and create new synergies between the e-Science Research Infrastructure, LifeWatch ERIC, and the Province of Huelva: a strategical area playing a pivotal trans-boundary role in the Euroregion Algarve-Alentejo-Andalucía and the Doñana Natural Area.
In the framework of the Europe of the Regions vision, LifeWatch ERIC has been involved since 2014 and working to enact the “Thinking globally, acting locally” motto, in particular in the domains of Citizen Science and Gender and Inclusiveness, the latter carried out within the framework of the GenderWatch initiative.

EU-SOLARIS at LifeWatch ERIC ICT-Core Office

EU-SOLARIS at LifeWatch ERIC ICT-Core Office

On 2 June, Eng. Antonio López-Martínez, Project Manager and Coordinator of EU-SOLARIS, visited the LifeWatch ERIC ICT-Core premises in Seville. EU-SOLARIS is the European SOLAR Research Infrastructure for Concentrated Solar Power based in Almeria (Spain), which entered the ESFRI roadmap in 2010, becoming a landmark in 2018, and which will be established as an ERIC (European Research Infrastructure Consortium) in October 2022.

EU-SOLARIS ERIC will be hosted by CIEMAT, the Centre for Energy, Environmental and Technological Research (Centro de Investigaciones Energéticas, Medioambientales y Tecnológicas) at the PSA, the Almeria Solar Platform (Plataforma Solar de Almería) premises.

The EU-SOLARIS vision is to further assist Concentrating Solar Thermal (CST) and Solar Chemistry technology deployment by enhancing the research infrastructure’s development and Research and Technology Development (R&D) coordination. EU-SOLARIS is expected to be the first of its kind, where industrial needs and private funding will play a significant role.

“LifeWatch ERIC is looking forward to the imminent establishment of EU-SOLARIS as a European Research Infrastructure Consortium”, says Dr Juan Miguel Gonzaléz-Aranda, LifeWatch ERIC Chief Technology Officer, “We are glad to welcome today Eng Lopéz-Martínez at the ICT-Core office here in Seville. We are already working together, as energy and environment are two domains which are critical for a more sustainable future”.

CSIC’s Executive Board Members visit LifeWatch ERIC ICT-Core

CSIC’s Executive Board Members visit the LifeWatch ERIC ICT Core

On Wednesday 1 June, Dr Jesús Marco de Lucas (Vice-President for Science and Technology of the National Spanish Research Council – CSIC), and Dr Margarita Peneque Sosa (Institutional Coordinator for Andalusia – CSIC) did LifeWatch ERIC the honour of visiting its ICT-Core premises. CSIC is in fact one of the main stakeholders of LifeWatch ERIC in Spain, and the two organisation are tightly working together in the framework of the SUMHAL project.
This project implements a strategy for the conservation of biodiversity in sustainable natural systems of the western Mediterranean area. Its main objective is to combine the results of the work in the field with the opportunities made available through Virtual Research Environments in terms of storage capacity, management and analytical tools, as well as the dissemination of relevant information on the conservation status of Andalusian biodiversity and ecosystems.
The SUMHAL project is contributing not only to the upgrade of the LifeWatch ERIC distributed e-Infrastructure at all levels, from hardware and software, to Human Resources and much more, but also to the enlargement of the infrastructure’s offer of Core and Thematic e-services for emerging communities of practice, focusing on Mediterranean Ecosystems.
At a critical time for its deployment at the European level, the synergies between its ICT-Core and the SUMHAL project will enable LifeWatch ERIC to provide the European scientific community with a large volume of organised systematised information made available through the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC), and at the same time ensure its compliance with LifeWatch ERIC standards.
The SUMHAL project, thanks to the pivotal role played by CISC, the most relevant research institution active in Andalusia, is designing a getaway to attract new users and engage new practitioners in Mediterranean Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research fields. This will have a positive impact on direct and indirect networking, training, communication and dissemination activities, and stimulate knowledge and technology transfer and exchange, enhancing LifeWatch ERIC’s capacity to reach out to stakeholders and international key players (GBIF, GEOSS-GEOBON, CAFF-AMBI, among others) in a transdisciplinary way.
Therefore, the SUMHAL project marks a milestone in the development of LifeWatch ERIC, opening new collaborations for the development of new green and eco-sustainable RD+I activities, and offering the latest advances in biodiversity studies to design Spanish and international, policies to tackle the global changes that are particularly affecting Mediterranean ecosystems.

LifeWatch ERIC: A Resource for a More Sustainable Society


The 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties will be taking place over the next two weeks, having launched on 31 October. Over the past few days, leaders of states from all around the world have reinforced their promises to reach Net Zero, pledging to slash methane emissions by 2030, and berating nations which have shown less commitment towards such targets. And yet, in the end, the effort of individual states will pale into insignificance. Perhaps David Attenborough, zoologist and documentary presenter, said it best:

As we work to build a better world, we must acknowledge no nation has completed its development because no advanced nation is yet sustainable. All have a journey still to complete so that all nations have a good standard of living and a modest footprint

As an organisation in constant dialogue with the biodiversity and ecosystem research community, LifeWatch ERIC is very aware of the fact that biodiversity does not recognise borders. Impacts generated in one corner of the planet trigger domino effects that are felt all around the world, sooner or later. The concept of a secluded green oasis of states which will emerge unscathed from the climate and biodiversity crisis is delusional –as acknowledged by EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in her speech, highlighting that the EU is the largest provider of climate finance for adaptation and mitigation, which is necessary to achieve global targets. She also spoke specifically of biodiversity funding in vulnerable countries.

Yes, it is crucial that funding is distributed in a way that facilitates biodiversity and ecosystem research worldwide –yet the way in which research is conducted is of equal importance. LifeWatch ERIC is an unwavering proponent and upholder of the FAIR principles – ensuring that the data and services it handles are Free, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable, opening up science to all. Transnational scientific cooperation accelerates the identification of solutions to global problems, benefiting citizens all over. Considering the alarming rate of ecosystem transformation due to climate change, a global and coordinated scientific effort is required to keep up with its monitoring and control. António Guterres, UN Secretary-General, gave a stark warning to world leaders to be vigilant in this respect, declaring the idea that we are on track to turn things around “an illusion.

And while the shock element of the UN Secretary-General’s speech made the desired impact, reverberating through the world press, the mission and purpose of LifeWatch ERIC is more aligned with the overriding message of Mr Attenborough: “Not fear, but hope.

LifeWatch ERIC works tirelessly to produce the ICT tools required by researchers to map and monitor biodiversity and ecosystems, enabling them to identify solutions to the issues exacerbated by climate change. Collaborating with other research infrastructures based in Europe and further afield, LifeWatch ERIC ensures the reliability and multiplicity of data used in scientific research projects, as well as providing the means to best interpret this data. The infrastructure acts as a mediator between the research community and policymakers, helping researchers piece together scientific findings to identify patterns at local, continental and global scales, extracting the meaning from this data and translating it into comprehensible information for policymakers, who can be assured that the actions they take are rooted in scientific excellence.

LifeWatch ERIC is an available resource for those wishing to invest in biodiversity and ecosystem research to reach the goals reinforced by the critical discourse taking place at COP26. The increased coordination, collaboration and cooperation of scientists, citizens and civil servants alike is the best way to rapidly identify and pursue the adaptation, mitigation and restorative measures necessary for the survival of our planet.

You can learn more about LifeWatch ERIC and the European research infrastructure community at the following links: