The ENVRI-Hub NEXT project has kicked off

The ENVRI-Hub NEXT project, of which LifeWatch ERIC is a consortium member, kicked off on February 1. The project builds upon the solid conceptual and technical foundation established by the ENVRI-Hub. The consortium comprises 21 partners and is attending a face-to-face meeting at the EGI Foundation in Amsterdam Science Park from February 6 to 8.

ENVRI-Hub NEXT aims to expand multidisciplinary environmental sciences by fostering operational synergies between environmental research infrastructures. The project leverages complementarities in data and service provision, enhancing the integration of cutting-edge information technology. It contributes to a more integrated, productive, and globally competitive ENVRI Science Cluster. The project is set to run until January 2027, contributing to the European Open Science Cloud. ENVRI-Hub NEXT also promotes collaboration across environmental research infrastructures.

LifeWatch ERIC is actively contributing to addressing the growing demand for environmental scientific knowledge. Our involvement aligns with the project’s goal of further integrating ENVRIs across subdomains (Atmosphere, Marine, Solid Earth, and Biodiversity/Ecosystems) and horizontally, with the e-infrastructures to leverage the full potential of the ENVRI cluster for integrated environmental research.

ENVRI-Hub NEXT aligns with the World Meteorological Organisation’s set of Essential Climate Variables (ECV) and global climate indicators to transform integrated Earth observation into a concept for a global climate observation system. These variables provide empirical evidence crucial for understanding and predicting climate evolution, guiding mitigation and adaptation.

Stay tuned for the launch of the ENVRI-Hub NEXT website.

LifeWatch ERIC at EGU 2024: Fostering Collaboration and Knowledge Sharing in Environmental Research

EGU 2024

LifeWatch ERIC, in collaboration with EGI and other ENVRI Research Infrastructures, has organised two sessions in the upcoming European Geosciences Union 2024 (EGU) conference in Vienna from April 14-19, 2024.

Call for abstract: tell us how Research Infrastructures helped with your research

The first session will bring together researchers in environment and climate to foster collaboration and knowledge sharing. Researchers come from the atmosphere, marine, biodiversity, ecosystems, and solid earth domains. Besides, it involves data product developers, data scientists, and -engineers.

The session aims to share insights and real-world examples of Research Infrastructure that helped research or scientific development projects. If you:

  • used data analytics and visualisation to make data-driven discoveries;
  • demonstrated data collection and quality control expertise;
  • utilised infrastructures and cloud services to expedite your research;

Or overcome data access challenges, we want to hear about your experience. Contribute to the discussion on how Research Infrastructures contribute to doing science! You can participate in the session by submitting abstracts for oral or poster presentations. For more information, please visit this page. Please submit your contribution by 10 January 2024 at 13.00 CET.

A deep dive into data integration, Virtual Research Environments and more.

In the second session, we will conduct a training course that brings together environmental researchers, data developers, scientists, and engineers. This course provides practical and hands-on opportunities to enhance your understanding of data integration, Virtual Research Environments (VREs), web services, and their significance in environmental science. The course will also address the challenges faced while customising and running data workflows on the cloud using Jupyter Notebooks, which are time-consuming and complex processes. Participants will learn about the key technologies for notebook containerisation, workflow composition, and cloud automation in a Jupyter notebook-based VRE. We will also guide attendees to explore science cases in ecology and biodiversity virtual labs, making it a comprehensive and practical learning experience.

The Semantic Academy: five days in Lecce dive deep into semantic artefacts

The participants of the Semantic academy Intensive School in Lecce

Over twenty researchers from multiple countries, including Algeria, Zimbabwe, Iran, Türkiye, and several European countries, gathered in Lecce this week to participate in the first edition of the “Semantic Academy – Intensive School: Boost your research with semantic artefacts“. In addition to the school, there were two workshops for experts in ontologies, providing a platform for the community to share their software knowledge and best practices.

The Semantic Academy Intensive School builds on the successful experience of six summer and winter schools. Since 2018, LifeWatch ERIC has co-organised them with ENVRI FAIR and the ENVRI Community on data and service FAIRness (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable).

With the Semantic Academy, LifeWatch ERIC wants to enhance its training offer in the field, exploring the significant challenge of collecting, organising and making sense of vast amounts of data from various sources and disciplines, with a focus on data FAIRness and semantic research.

For five days, students had the opportunity to build their skills. They navigated the complex landscape of environmental data and advancing scientific understanding. The Semantic Academy’s primary objective was to provide students with comprehensive knowledge about developing and managing semantic artefacts such as ontologies, vocabularies, and thesauri. The approach alternated between theoretical lectures and practical group activities, ensuring the students gained hands-on experience.

Lecturers from some of the most active universities in this field made possible an intensive programme. Naouel Karam (Leipzig University) held a session on Semantic Web, Ontology Engineering. Clement Jonquet (INRAE – MISTEA – University of Montpellier) and Mark Musen (Standford University – BMIR) focused on the ontologies repository. Yifang Shi and Zhiming Zhao (both from LifeWatch ERIC – University of Amsterdam) and Gabriel Pelouze (LifeWatch ERIC) explored AI, Jupyter Notebooks, and other tools to support the research. Armando Stellato and Manuel Fiorelli (University of Roma Tor Vergata) gave the students insights into managing ontologies with different tools.

Over the years, various standards, approaches, and tools have been developed to facilitate the data lifecycle, from data collection to curation, publication, processing, and utilisation. In particular, contemporary semantic technologies offer a promising approach to describe and connect various data sources precisely. This method reduces obstacles to data discovery, integration, and exchange among biodiversity and ecosystem resources and researchers.

The Semantic Academy ushered in participants on Monday, 25th September, in the afternoon, with the presentation of the programme, introduction of LifeWatch ERIC and some ice-breaking activities. The curricular program ran from Tuesday to Friday and concluded with the awarding of participation certificates on the last day.

ENVRI Community Summer School ‘Road to a FAIR ENVRI-Hub’ a Success Again!

Group Photo News

From 10–15 July 2022, 20 students of 13 different nationalities – European, American, Iranian and Pakistani – participated in the ENVRI Community International Summer School organised by LifeWatch ERIC in the framework of the Horizon2020 ENVRI-FAIR project, with the support of the University of Salento.

Now at its fourth edition, this year’s Summer School happily returned to an in-person format, after the last couple of editions were forced to migrate online, and was hosted in the heart of Lecce by the University of Salento, which is the site of the LifeWatch ERIC Service Centre. The Summer School welcomed the participants on the evening of Sunday 10 July with a relaxed opening event, while the curricular programme took place from Monday to Friday, with a chance for the participants to present what they had learnt and a take part in certificate award ceremony on the last day. The surrounding area of Salento also featured in the “extracurricular” programme, with an organised group trip to Gallipoli on the Thursday to offer the participants not only some down time but also a taste of the local cuisine.

The School was aimed at IT architects, Research Infrastructure (RI) service developers and user support staff, as well as RI staff working on user interaction and community/network building and covered topics such as user interfaces, packaging of services and the reusability and validation of services. It featured an ambitious programme in which Data FAIRness and the principles of Findability, Accessibility, Interoperability and Reusability were the common denominator, essential for rendering the huge collection of data available to researchers and data mangers accessible to the wider scientific and interested community. This is a focus in which the European Union has been investing for a long time, to support the growth of the joint research area, and is compulsory for all activities financed by Horizon programmes.

This becomes all the more relevant considering the subjects in discussion –  environmental science and ecology – for which the integration and sharing of biodiversity and ecosystem data is necessary to improve our understanding of ecological issues and propose innovative approaches and science-based solutions to the widespread changes affecting our Earth, such as rising temperatures, drought and the increased frequency of natural disasters such as hurricanes and flooding.

So, was it a success? The preliminary comments received gave an overwhelmingly positive impression of the School, with participants reporting that they appreciated not only the training but also the overall organisation. Recurring comments included an appreciation of the benefits of working with an interdisciplinary group of people, with takeaway keywords being content, communication and collaboration!

Link to minisite:

Towards the ENVRI Community International Summer School: Webinars on Designing and Developing Data Services for End Users

Data Services for End Users Webinars

In the run-up to the ENVRI Community International Summer School in July, LifeWatch ERIC and ENVRI-FAIR will be organising two webinars on “Designing and Developing Data Services for End Users”. Participation in the webinars can be in preparation for the School or as stand-alone sessions, for those who cannot attend the School, or those who are still considering registering. For more information on the ENVRI Community International Summer School “Road to a FAIR ENVRI-Hub: Designing and Developing Data Services for End Users”, please visit the dedicated minisite.

The webinars are particularly aimed at IT architects, Research Infrastructure (RI) service developers and user support staff, and RI staff working on user interaction and community/network building. Links to the sessions will be provided upon registration.

Webinar #1: Service validation & evaluation: making sure your services are up to the task

Friday 17 June, 10:00-11:30 CEST

Zoom (link to be provided upon registration)


  • Validating services & assessing their TRL – Mark van de Sanden (SURF)
  • Service evaluation: why & how – Yin Chen (EGI)
  • Evaluating ENVRI services: experiences from the ENVRIplus – Maggie Hellström (ICOS)
  • Q&A and general discussion – plenary

Webinar #2: Service documentation & tutorials: rolling out the red carpet for end users

Thursday 23 June, 10:00-11:30 CEST

Zoom (link to be provided upon registration)


  • Writing effective service documentation for EUDAT services – Rob Carrillo (EUDAT) & Chris Ariyo (EUDAT/CSC)
  • Service tutorial design: experiences from EOSC Synergy – Helen Clare (Jisc)
  • Using Jupyter Notebooks to introduce services to “new” end users – Maggie Hellström (ICOS)
  • Q&A and general discussion – plenary

You can sign up for one or both webinars using the form linked below:

Click here to access the form.

ENVRI Community International Summer School is back in person!


We are delighted to announce the 2022 edition of the ENVRI Community International Summer School. And this summer, we are back in person! 

The Summer School, now at its fifth edition, is organised by ENVRI-FAIR and LifeWatch ERIC and will take place in Lecce, Italy, from 10–15 July. This edition’s title is “Road to a FAIR ENVRI-Hub: Designing and Developing Data Services for End Users”, and it will cover topics such as user interfaces, packaging of services, reusability and validation of services, and building and supporting networks through the lens of the ENVRI-Hub approach. 

This School is therefore mainly aimed at IT architects, Research Infrastructure (RI) service developers and user support staff, and RI staff working on user interaction and community/network building.

The Summer School will welcome participants on the afternoon of Sunday 10 July with an opening event, while the actual School programme will last from Monday to Friday afternoon, closing with a certificate ceremony. Two online webinars are also planned to take place in the third and fourth week of June on specific use cases, in preparation for the School or to attend as stand-alone sessions.

The outline of the School programme is as follows:

  1. Introducing the ENVRI-Hub (concept and architecture)
  2. Learning to know your end users and their expectations: requirements elicitation
  3. Creating high quality documentation and usage examples to support service end users
  4. Developing services and fostering reusability/interoperability among them
  5. Validating and evaluating your services
  6. Participants’ presentations, school evaluation and certificates

Successful applicants to “Road to a FAIR ENVRI-Hub: Designing and Developing Data Services for End Users” will be offered accommodation and lunch each day in the beautiful baroque city of Lecce in Southern Italy, and will be invited to “extracurricular” activities such as restaurant dinners and excursions in the surrounding area. 

Interested persons are invited to apply by 26 June by filling in the sign-up form here. Follow LifeWatch ERIC and ENVRI Community updates!

You can access the dedicated minisite with more detailed information on the School here.

Recapping the ENVRI Community International School “Services for FAIRness”

Services for FAIRness

The ENVRI Community International School 2021 “Services for FAIRness”, organised by LifeWatch ERIC and ENVRI Community, was held online from 27 September – 8 October. Centred on the FAIR principles (Findability, Accessibility, Interoperability and Reusability), the School covered the design, development and publishing of FAIR webservices: the full programme can be found here. The initiative attracted 19 participants from all around the world, predominantly academics, policymakers and ICT experts, with 13 nations represented –from Italy, to Senegal, to Sweden– making it a truly international School, with a near 50:50 gender balance.

As well as the participants, the team of trainers and experts was also international, listed below in alphabetical order:

• Alessandro Spinuso – Data Technology Researcher at The Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute
• Andreas Petzold – Head of Group Global Observation Forschungszentrum Jülich
• Antoni Huguet-Vives – Front-end architect for the LifeWatch ERIC ICT-Core team
• Antonio José Sáenz-Albanés – ICT Infrastructure Operations Coordinator at LifeWatch ERIC
• Luca Cervone – Executive Technologist at CREA-AA
• Malcom Atkinson – Professor of e-Science at Edinburgh University
• Nicola Fiore – ICT Coordinator of the LifeWatch ERIC Service Centre
• Oleg Mirzov – System Architect at ICOS Carbon Portal
• Rita Gomes – Software Engineer at Forschungszentrum Jülich
• Zhiming Zhao – Assistant Professor at the University of Amsterdam

The School included trainer-led sessions (24 hours), group work and self-study, for a total of 50 learning hours over a two-week period, with lessons taking place on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings. Participants appreciated the day-on–day-off approach, which allowed them time to process and elaborate the contents of the live sessions and read the provided study materials. On the last day, all the participants had the chance to show and share what that they learned during the School through group work presentations, in which they illustrated their respective projects to the rest of the class and the trainers.

So, the big question is: was the School useful? The statistics and the participants’ feedback speak for themselves: even though the participants’ prior knowledge of the topic varied widely, 80% of them self-evaluated strengthened skill levels in all three categories from the start to the end of the course – designing, developing and publishing FAIR data services. LifeWatch ERIC and the ENVRI Community are very pleased with the outcome of the School and look forward to future editions to continue enhancing the knowledge of FAIR principles, hoping in the meantime that the School can go back to in-person delivery!


ENVRI Week 2020

The ENVRI-FAIR project brings together 26 Research Infrastructures to build sustainable, transparent and trustworthy data services compliant with FAIR principles. Once a year, ENVRI Week is dedicated to Environmental Research Infrastructures so that Working Parties can report on progress and seek guidance on future developments. ENVRI Week 2020 was held in Dresden, Germany, from 3-7 February and attracted 40 participants. Morning plenary presentations broke into parallel sessions in the afternoon to address the requirements of the four subdomains: Atmosphere, Marine, Solid Earth and Terrestrial ecosystems and biodiversity.  

For the first time a training event for data centre staff was featured, entitled ‘Terminologies for ENVRIs: Why, What & How’, presented by Clement Jonquet (University of Montpellier) and Markus Stocker (Knowledge Infrastructures research group), and also made available on Zoom.

WP6 of the Ecosystem & Biodiversity subdomain was tasked with providing relevant training materials. Maggie Hellström (ICOS) detailed the training needs analysis, the preparation of materials and the operation of the common platform. Lucia Vaira (LifeWatch ERIC) presented the improved user interface of the ENVRI-FAIR training catalogue populated with training resources and materials related to FAIR Data Principles and Research Data Management, graded by difficulty level, and emphasised the need to create a feedback group to test and expand the catalogue. 

Nicola Fiore (LifeWatch ERIC) guided participants through the ENVRI Community Training Platform resources, from Species Distribution Modelling to serious games, and from the ‘Why, What and How’ programme, to the ENVRI-LifeWatch ERIC International Summer School Data Fairness, a new edition of which will be offered in 2020. 

LifeWatch ERIC Service Centre Director Alberto Basset reported back to the plenary on the progress made in WP11 and Task Force experts from the Research Infrastructures present worked together to set objectives for the coming year. ENVRI Week demonstrated that European Research Institutes share the ideals of groundbreaking research, empowering users, democratised science, and improved data discoverability.