LifeWatch ERIC at the conference that shape the future of Research Infrastructures

The conference “Research Infrastructures in a Changing Global, Environmental and Socio-economic Context,” organised as part of the Belgian Presidency of the European Council, is taking place today at the Royal Library of Belgium. This conference, running on 4 and 5 June, aims to highlight the crucial role of research infrastructures in addressing societal, global, and economic challenges. The Belgian presidency programme prioritises research and innovation to foster open strategic autonomy, enhance the valorisation of research outcomes, and reinforce the role of research in overcoming industrial and societal challenges. This conference aims to address global challenges through collaborative and innovative research infrastructures.

Inmaculada Figueroa, Vice Director General for International Consortia, Organisations and Research Infrastructures (Spanish Research Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities), is moderating the “Research Infrastructures as Actors of Open Strategic Autonomy” session. Figueroa is also a member of the EOSC Steering Board and a delegate to the LifeWatch ERIC General Assembly.

The event features keynotes and sessions over two days, focusing on the future vision for research infrastructures, their socio-economic and environmental impact, and the broader research infrastructure ecosystem. The sessions, moderated by personnel from the European Commission and national research bodies, focus on the impact of global contexts, challenges in supply chains, digitalisation, AI, and the role of European Research Infrastructure Consortia (ERIC).

These sessions offer significant advantages by providing shared resources and expertise across Europe. They enhance collaborative research efforts, reduce duplication of efforts, and foster innovation by enabling access to state-of-the-art facilities and data. Being part of the dialogue and shaping the European research landscape at different levels is crucial for the ERICs to achieve their missions. Our CEO, Christos Arvanitidis, also participated in the conference, as we aim to advance biodiversity and ecosystem research and contribute significantly to addressing environmental challenges such as climate change.

LifeWatch ERIC and eLTER RI: together to advance biodiversity research 

During the final stakeholder meeting of the Europa Biodiversity Observation Network on 27-28 May, LifeWatch ERIC CEO Christos Arvanitidis and the Chair of LTER-Europe and Coordinator of eLTER ESFRI process, Michael Mirtl, signed a Memorandum of Cooperation between LifeWatch ERIC and eLTER RI. This Memorandum aims to take the collaboration between the two organisations to the next level by combining the resources and expertise to advance ecosystem research and biodiversity conservation across Europe. LifeWatch ERIC and eLTER RI have collaborated on several flagship projects, such as ALTER-Net, ENVRI, ENVRIplus, and ENVRI FAIR.

A common mission

LifeWatch ERIC and eLTER RI are committed to addressing environmental challenges by conducting long-term, multidisciplinary research to understand and mitigate the impacts of climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss on ecosystems. The common mission is to enable a better future through integrated research efforts and shared data resources, leading to a deeper understanding of our planet’s ecosystems and contributing to the conservation and sustainability of life on Earth.

Memorandum of Cooperation’s goals

The collaboration will combine the potential of both Research Infrastructures, drawing on their respective areas of expertise. While LifeWatch ERIC aims to use advanced digital technologies to support biodiversity and ecosystems by facilitating data creation, access, quality control, management and dissemination, eLTER’s support of extensive documentation and integrated access to multidisciplinary data will provide access to a seamless and robust data services ecosystem.

The collaboration will also focus on aligning catalogues of resources, standardising data infrastructure and ensuring interoperable data and metadata standards to create a unified ‘data lake’ for researchers to access. In addition, creating virtual laboratories will facilitate the analysis of biodiversity data using LifeWatch ERIC’s advanced ICT technology and eLTER’s in-situ environmental data.

To achieve these goals, the Memorandum of Cooperation outlines several joint activities, spanning from the development and implementation of common tools and service-oriented architectures to enhance data interoperability, such as the Tesseract and NaaVRE technical composability layer and LifeBlock blockchain technology, to the organisation of joint dissemination, engagement and training activities addressed to their stakeholders, including EU and national decision-makers, funders, and the broader scientific community.

Inmaculada Figueroa opens the 1st RICH Europe Symposium on Research Infrastructures

The Institute of Health Carlos III hosted the first RICH Europe Symposium on Research Infrastructures in Madrid, Spain, on May 7th. The symposium focused on integrating and developing open science within European research infrastructures (RIs) through a series of presentations and discussions held in three sessions. It also showcased relevant funded projects and promoted a global dialogue on research infrastructures.

Inmaculada Figueroa, Vice Director General for Internationalization of Science and Innovation, General Secretariat for Research, member of the EOSC Steering Board, and Spanish Ministry delegate to the LifeWatch ERIC ERIC General Assembly, opened the first session. Participants discussed how research infrastructures can benefit from EOSC to implement Open Science. The governance and strategic development of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) also was discussed, as well as specific Horizon Europe projects that have contributed to this development, such as AI4EOSC and Skills4EOSC.

The second session of the RICH Europe Symposium shifted the discussion towards practical applications of open science practices within research infrastructure frameworks, including challenges in creating a digitally skilled workforce and fostering a web of FAIR data. The third and final session explored the role of research infrastructures in supporting Europe’s green and digital transition, detailing specific EU projects and their contributions to sustainability, broader access, and advanced research capabilities. Each session included a time for questions, answers, and debates, encouraging interactive participation from attendees.

To learn more about the Symposium, please visit this page:

LifeWatch ERIC at the British Ecological Society Annual Meeting 2023

The British Ecological Society Annual Meeting from 12-15 2023 December in Belfast offered LifeWatch ERIC the perfect opportunity to raise awareness of the infrastructure’s cloud-based and free data management facilities and many chances to network and understand what tools and services biodiversity and ecosystem researchers most want. The British Ecological Society is the oldest association for ecologists and the largest in Europe, boasting more than 7,500 members worldwide. 

Eight researchers from LifeWatch ERIC, the Italian National Research Council and the University of Salento presented their work on biodiversity loss, climate change and invasive alien species. Angela Carluccio and Alexandra Nicoleta Muresan gave oral presentations online. Daniel CrespoCristina Di MuriLucia FaniniVanessa MarroccoJustine Pagnier and Jessica Titocci attended the whole conference and actively directed participants to the LifeWatch ERIC stand in the main hall, helping maintain a presence, answering enquiries and distributing branded merchandise. An online survey canvassing researchers’ data requirements was particularly popular.

Plenary presentations by Isabella Tree (author of ‘Wilding’), Stuart Davies (ForestGEO) and Jane Stout (Trinity College Dublin) provided worrying updates on the complex challenges facing planet Earth but also offered glimmers of hope in that Ecology has demonstrated its central role in governance and policy at all levels.

LifeWatch ERIC’s sponsorship of the Poster Sessions captured the attention of many of the 1300 ecologists present, and Chief Executive Officer Christos Arvanitidis and Service Center Director Alberto Basset contributed enthusiastically to answering enquiries about the rapidly evolving tools and services to accelerate and extend the scales of biodiversity and ecosystem research.

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.

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.

Global Dimension and Sustainability of Research Infrastructure

Global Dimension and Sustainability of Research Infrastructure

Under the Spanish presidency of the European Union, the high-level conference “Global Dimension and Sustainability of Research Infrastructure” was held on the island of Tenerife on 25-26 September 2023. LifeWatch ERIC Chief Executive Officer Christos Arvanitidis was among the dignitaries present in person, and the events of the two days were all available in streaming

The event was inaugurated on Monday afternoon by Rafael Rebolo López, Director of the Instituto di Astrofisica de Canarias (which hosted the event); Radka Wildovà, Director General for Higher Education, Science and Research, Czech Republic; Martin Balbackewski, adviser to the vice-president of Wallonia; Ana Arana Antelo, from the European Commission’s Directorate General for Research and Innovation; and Gonzalo Arévalo, from the Spanish Ministry for Science and Innovation.

Collaboration and the creation of synergies between such various players will contribute much to understanding what the sustainability challenges – including resilience and financial factors – are likely to be in the coming years, while discussion of the global dimensions of European Research Infrastructures demonstrated how much the European Commission’s policies have already contributed to Open Science worldwide. 

The international nature of discussions was also reflected in the topics addressed in the opening session of the second day of the Global Dimension and Sustainability of Research Infrastructure conference: ‘The sky needs to be protected’, ‘Energy crisis’, Environmental footprint of Research Infrastructures in the polar regions’, ‘Greening of Research Infrastructures’, and ‘Best practice exchange in remote access’. A statement is expected to be issued at the conclusion of the conference on International cooperation between Research Infrastructures in a changing context. See the website for more details.

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.


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.

Semantic Academy: the registration for the LifeWatch ERIC Intensive School is now open!

In recent years, one of the major challenges in Environmental and Earth Sciences has been managing and searching larger volumes of data, collected across multiple disciplines. Many different standards, approaches, and tools have been developed to support the Data Lifecycle from Data Acquisition to Data Curation, Data Publishing, Data Processing and Data Use. In particular, modern semantic technologies provide a promising way to properly describe and interrelate different data sources in ways that reduce barriers to data discovery, integration, and exchange among biodiversity and ecosystem resources and researchers. Therefore, we are delighted to announce the launch of the 2023 edition of The Semantic Academy – The LifeWatch ERIC Intensive School: Boost your research with semantic artifacts. And this time, we are back in person!

This school is organized by LifeWatch ERIC and will take place in Lecce, from 25 to 29 September 2023.
This edition’s title is “Boost your research with semantic artifacts”. This course is built as a five-day intensive school providing the knowledge on how to create semantic artifacts for a specific domain and use them to annotate and analyse data in a Virtual Research Environment (VRE). It will cover topics such as Data Science, Semantics, Ontology, Vocabularies, Virtual Research Environments (VREs). The School is therefore mainly aimed at IT architects, Research Infrastructure (RI) service developers and user support staff, and RI staff.

The Semantic Academy will welcome participants with a welcome cocktail event and social dinner, while the actual Intensive School programme will last from Monday afternoon to Friday morning, closing with a certificate ceremony.

The outline of the School programme is as follows:

  1. Introducing the LifeWatch ERIC eScience Infrastructure
  2. Ontology Engineering
  3. Designing and Developing vocabularies
  4. Using Semantics for discovering, accessing and analysing data in the Notebook-as-a-VRE (NaaVRE)
  5. Putting everything together: practical activity with participants projects presentations

EXTENDED DEADLINE: Interested persons are invited to apply by 30 July by filling in the sign-up form here
Participation is free, but registration is compulsory. Three grants are made available by LifeWatch ERIC to support applicants younger than 30 years. Successful candidates will be offered accommodation for the whole duration of the intensive school on the basis of their motivation letter and their curricula, while travel must be self-funded. LifeWatch ERIC is an equal opportunity organisation, and encourages all qualified candidates to apply, regardless of race, gender, age, national origin, or sexual orientation. Follow LifeWatch ERIC updates!

You can access the dedicated minisite with more detailed information on the Semantic Academy here.
You can find information about other Summer Schools on Data FAIRness previously organised by LifeWatch ERIC and the ENVRI Community on our Training & Education page.