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.

RESTORE4Cs will participate in the Wetlands Conference 2024

RESTORE4Cs – the project participated by LifeWatch ERIC on modelling wetland restoration – will be present at the International Conference Conservation and Management of Wetlands to Tackle Climate Change from 14 to 16 February in Valencia, Spain.

The event is organised by Fundación Global Nature together with the University of Valencia, the Generalitat Valenciana and the City Council of Valencia. The aim is to share the latest scientific and technical advances on wetlands and climate change and their crucial role. The discussions will mainly centre around governance frameworks, opportunities for creating green jobs, and the pressing need for conservation efforts.

The conference on conservation and management of wetlands will bring together researchers, policymakers, representatives from international organisations, and other stakeholders. The goal is to facilitate international networking and serve as a platform for sharing scientific and technical advancements. Practitioners and managers will be equipped with the necessary tools for the sustainable management of wetlands. Also, this will enable them to make strategic decisions in the face of global change. This year’s focus is on the Mediterranean, which has depleted over 50% of its natural wetlands since 1970.

LifeWatch ERIC – who oversees the project’s communication and dissemination – will attend the conference in collaboration with MedWet. Other RESTORE4Cs partners, including the University of Aveiro, the University of Barcelona, the European Topic Centre at the University of MalagaWasserCluster Lunz & the University of Vienna, and Tour du Valat, will also attend the conference as members of the scientific committee.

For those unable to attend in person, the conference will be available via streaming. For more information, please visit the official website

World Wetlands Day: How our wellbeing relies on restoring wetlands

world wetlands day

Today, 2 February 2024, is the 27th World Wetlands Day. As The World Health Organization said, our well-being depends on the stability of our climate, biodiversity, and sustainable development. Wetlands play a significant role in connecting all three factors.

For instance, just an acre of wetlands can hold up to 1.5 million gallons of floodwater, protecting coastal areas against natural disasters. Peatlands have the potential to store twice as much carbon as the global forest biomass. Wetlands also provide food for up to 4.5 billion people annually through the fish and rice paddies harvested from them.

On this day, we would like to draw attention to an article created as part of the RESTORE4Cs project, in which LifeWatch ERIC participate. The project aims to model wetland restoration for carbon pathways, climate change mitigation and adaptation, ecosystem services, and biodiversity co-benefits.


“For centuries people have found solace in remote wetlands, but there is now evidence that spending time in places like these actually helps boost mental health. This is particularly essential for the dark winter months in northern latitude”,

Mark Reed, Professor of Rural Entrepreneurship at Scotland’s Rural College

Despite this history, we are now losing these ecosystems alarmingly. The 2018 Global Wetland Outlook from the Ramsar Convention revealed that one third of the wetlands have been lost globally since 1970, mainly to urbanization and agriculture. A key theme of World Wetlands Day 2024 is the need to act now, and Europe’s researchers believe we already have solutions to turn things around.

“I think global treaties and recent EU laws mean we’re in the right decade to restore these ecosystems”

Dania Abdul Malak, Director of European Topic Centre for Spatial Analysis and Synthesis at the University of Malaga

Nowadays there are policies that can really help reestablish their function, and make sure they can also provide ecosystem services. Restoring wetland ecosystems will become critical for a more sustainable climate, biodiversity and human wellbeing by 2030.

Matuesz Grygoruk, Professor at Warsaw University of Life Sciences’ (SGGW) Department of Hydrology, Meteorology and Water Management

Mateusz suggested prioritising wetland restoration as a central focus in determining environmental management actions. He argued that these efforts are crucial in restoring the functions of wetlands, which are irreplaceable through any other management measures.

Restoring wetlands can have significant benefits, such as improving their biodiversity, water storage capacity, and ability to sequester carbon in soil. WET HORIZONS, a sister project of RESTORE4Cs, aims to enhance wetlands restoration and support European wetland policy.

To learn more about RESTORE4Cs and their commitment to World Wetlands Day, visit this project page.

Visiting Iceland for the 2nd Marine SABRES General Assembly

Marine SABRES partners in Hafnarfjörður

On October 2-5, 2023, Marine SABRES partners met in Hafnarfjörður, Iceland, for their second General Assembly, one year after the kick-off meeting in Cork, Ireland. Members from each of our 21 partner organisations met together at Hafrannsóknastofnun, the Marine and Freshwater Research Institute of Iceland (MFRI), for three days of productive discussions on the research activities partners have accomplished so far and tasks yet to come.

LifeWatch ERIC joined the meeting with the participation of Cristina Huertas-Olivares (International Initiatives & Projects Manager at LifeWatch ERIC SSO, Seville, Spain), and its LifeWatching WebTV

LifeWatching WebTV joined the Marine SABRES 2nd General Assembly to record audio-visual material for Marine SABRES’ Video Documentary and some WebTV videos, while conducting a first series of interviews with WP leaders, DAs leaders, project partners and some local stakeholders of the fishery sector based in the Arctic Demonstration Area. The local partners and stakeholders made a general presentation of pelagic fisheries in Iceland, illustrating its history and importance, how it has changed over time, what are the most important fish stocks etc, while exploring its economic and environmental challenges. The video shootings took place during the three-day meeting at MFRI, and at the Icelandic Maritime Museum and Ocean Cluster, in Reykjavik. Moreover, some video shootings of the naturalistic surroundings near Reykjavik will be realised.

The driving force of this first year has been stakeholder engagement in the three ‘demonstration areas’ of the project: Macaronesia, the Arctic-Northeast Atlantic, and the Tuscan Archipelago. As a project, Marine SABRES is explicitly designed with the input from the community at its core, rather than using a top-down approach. By inviting stakeholders into the decision-making process, the project ensures that their opinions and perspectives are central to the work being conducted and inform project outputs.

Within each demonstration area, Marine SABRES research focuses specifically on a local issue. In Macaronesia, for example, the research is centred around biodiversity restoration and the benefits of ecotourism, while in the Tuscan Archipelago, the work examines the impacts of tourism on seagrass meadows. 

At Hafrannsóknastofnun, insights from project partners in the Arctic-Northeast Atlantic area on shared management challenges for the fishing industry in Iceland, Greenland, and the Faroe Islands, where overfishing is dangerously high and the ranges of important fish stocks such as herring, mackerel, and blue whiting are shifting due to climate change, were presented and discussed. Some local stakeholders of the Arctic demonstration area, Lísa Anne Libungan of Fisheries Iceland, and Thor Sigfusson from Iceland Ocean Cluster attended the meeting. Partners had also the opportunity to receive a tour from Thor of the Ocean Cluster House, a unique space in Reykjavik for entrepreneurs and businesses in marine industries. 

Marine SABRES look forward to updating you on the progress of the project, as partners identify opportunities to better implement ecosystem-based management and develop pathways to transformation for a biodiverse & sustainable future!

LifeWatch-ERIC, LALINET and ACTRIS-ERIC bridging meeting: towards a new future in Earth-atmosphere interactions research 

LifeWatch ERIC meeting in Granada

In the context of the SmartEcoMountains project, which aims to create a Thematic Centre to expand the knowledge on the functioning of Sierra Nevada ecosystems in global change scenarios, LifeWatch ERIC held a meeting with LALINET (Latin American Lidar NETwork) and ACTRIS (Aerosols, Clouds, and Trace gases Research Infrastructure Network) to foster collaboration in the future. The meeting took place in Granada from October 17 to 20, to exchange and transfer knowledge to identify future collaborative opportunities among these three entities.

Researchers from various Latin American countries, including Colombia, Chile, Bolivia, Argentina, and Brazil, attended the meeting to collaborate and design joint actions to understand better Earth-Atmosphere interactions using lidar techniques.

On the first day of the meeting, each network showcased its infrastructures, capabilities, needs, and interests for future collaborations. A major topic of discussion was vertical signal data processing. ACTRIS-ERIC presented their Centre for Aerosol Remote Sensing (CARS) and other tools that sparked interest in exploring future implementations for lidar data processing. Two distinct processing tools for atmospheric profiling were introduced, such as the Lidar Processing Pipeline (LPP), an open-source lidar signal analysis software developed in Latin America. 

The participants also engaged in a lively discussion on including Artificial Intelligence within the vertical profiling data processing framework, recognising its potential to enhance these processes. LifeWatch-ERIC offered valuable resources to enrich the collaboration, including blockchain for data traceability to ensure transparency and security and to develop cutting-edge virtual research environments (VREs) to support research and management of the infrastructures. 

The meeting explored possibilities for applying to joint proposals on European calls, such as Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions: Research and Innovation Staff Exchange (RISE) and other possible international cooperation programmes.

DTO-BioFlow: Building the biodiversity component of the Digital Twin of the Ocean

Funded through the EC Horizon Europe Programme and coordinated by the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ), DTO-BioFlow aims at incorporating previously unavailable or difficult-to-access marine-biodiversity data into the biodiversity component of the EU Digital Twin Ocean, ensuring sustainable data flows for marine biodiversity research.

When it comes to observing, mapping, and monitoring biodiversity in maritime ecosystems, marine habitats present specific and one-of-a-kind issues. In spite of the fact that significant advancement has been made in Europe to collect, harmonise, and make available data on marine biodiversity, particularly as a result of the efforts of European research infrastructure (such as EMODnet, Copernicus Marine, and other related European and international initiatives (MBON, OBIS, GOOS)), a large portion of the data that is currently being collected is unavailable and inaccessible; this type of data is referred to as “sleeping data.”

That’s the stage when DTO BioFlow Project steps in: its primary objective is to awaken sleeping biodiversity data, enabling a smooth integration of both existing and new data into the EU Digital Twin Ocean.

The project aligns with the EU’s Biodiversity Strategy and Nature Restoration Law and with the mission “Restore our oceans and waters by 2030”, both of which advocate for the protection and restoration of land and sea regions.

The DTO-BioFlow Kick off meeting

DTO-BioFlow project kicked off on September 27th in Ostend, Belgium. The meeting was hosted at the InnovOcean Campus and organised by the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ), the project’s coordinator, host and technical manager of the European Marine Observation and Data Network (EMODnet) portal.

LifeWatch ERIC is one of the 30 partners from 14 countries that make up DTO-BioFlow Consortium. The other project partners include research, infrastructures (e.g., EMBRC), networks (MBON), organisations (ICES), global aggregators and platforms (OBIS), and others.

The consortium partners bring together biological monitoring infrastructures and experts, data managers, and DTO developers, marine biodiversity-relevant policy development and implementation and enabling the Mission to meet its 2030 targets.

Revolutionizing Access to Ocean Biodiversity Data and Driving Sustainable Integration

Between September 2023 and February 2027, DTO-Bioflow will come up with creative and long-term solutions that will make previously unavailable or difficult-to-access marine-biodiversity data available to the public. The ultimate goal of the project is to increase the flow of relevant biodiversity data by unlocking current barriers to assimilation and ingestion.”, explains Klaas Deneudt, manager of the VLIZ Marine Observation Centre and coordinator of the DTO BioFlow project.

Over the next four years DTO-BioFlow consortium will work on consolidating standards, quality control, communication protocols, harmonisation pipelines, data products, data models, ingestion procedures and incentives for sustainable connection to improve the interoperability and digitisation of biodiversity data. The project will also test out various technologies that are both affordable and adaptable to carry out species monitoring on a massive scale. The end-to-end approach will be demonstrated via a number of science-based use cases and via mechanisms to monitor, measure progress and drive community action towards increasing biodiversity data flows. To learn more about DTO-BioFlow, please visit the project website.

In Brussels to present the All-Ready project: meet the Agroecology Virtual Lab

Agroecology Living Labs & Research Infrastructures

In collaboration with AE4EU, ALL-Ready organised its final event in Brussels on 27 September 2023. The conference was hosted by the Committee of the Regions.

Our Agroecology Project Manager, Iria Soto Embodas, presented the All-Ready project in the panel “Practice Perspective: How to put Agroecology Living Labs and Research Infrastructures in practice? Q&A”. Within the project, one of the deliverables was to produce the Agroecology Virtual Lab, a collaboration platform to standardise collaboration for research and innovation. During the event, the steps to achieve this were presented.

The one-day conference highlighted two projects that have laid the foundation for a European Network of Living Labs and Research Infrastructures. The discussions focused on how these projects can best support the transition to agroecology and translate theoretical concepts into practical applications. The event explored the lessons learned from three years of project work and highlighted regions’ role in driving agroecology transitions.

The Agroecology Virtual Lab

The Agroecology Virtual Lab is a web platform designed to simplify, centralise, digitalise and streamline the creation of interdisciplinary innovation ecosystems and communities via collaboration with complementary partners that match your needs. This Agroecology Virtual Lab includes, among other functionalities, a marketplace, networking tools, a repository of resources for dissemination and knowledge sharing, geographical visualisation of innovation ecosystems available agroecology best practices and other data management functionalities.

The platform caters to individuals and organisations from various sectors, including research, innovation, public, and civil sectors. The main objective of Agroecology Virtual Labs is to assist scientists, academics, small and medium-sized businesses, farmers, authorities, public bodies, consumers, citizens, and anyone interested in agrifood systems. Additionally, it aims to bring together stakeholders from different sectors of society to foster collaboration and exchange of knowledge on real-world applications of agroecology, research questions, technological solutions, and any other innovative ideas.

About the project

Agricultural systems face multiple challenges today, such as climate change, biodiversity loss, dwindling resources, and soil and water quality degradation. To address these challenges, Open Innovation Arrangements, including Living Labs and Research Infrastructures, can pave the way to enhance the sustainability and resilience of farming systems.

There is great potential to promote agroecology in Europe. The main objective of ALL-Ready is to establish AgroEcoLLNet, the framework for a future European network of LLs and RI that will facilitate the transition towards agroecology throughout Europe. To learn more about All-Ready, please visit the project website.

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.

About:

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.