Stepping Closer to Biodiversity 2030 with Biodiversa+

Data Interoperability

On 1 September, alongside 37 other participants, LifeWatch ERIC took part in the Data Interoperability and Harmonisation workshop organised by Biodiversa+, with a presentation from LifeWatch ERIC Web Portal Officer, Lucia Vaira. During her presentation, she gave an overview of the EOSC Interoperability Framework in technical, semantic, organisational and legal terms, explaining the (Meta)data structure and workflows within LifeWatch ERIC, along with the status and main challenges of interoperability within the Infrastructure.

Biodiversa+ is the European Biodiversity Partnership supporting excellent research on biodiversity with an impact for society and policy. It was jointly developed by BiodivERsA and the European Commission as part of the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030, and will contribute to the ambition that “by 2030, nature in Europe is back on a path of recovery, and that by 2050 people are living in harmony with Nature”. The Commission recognises that it is vital to make biodiversity data more accessible in order to make faster progress in this research area and achieve the objectives of the EU Biodiversity Strategy.

Lucia Vaira touched on many important topics in her presentation, demonstrating not only key openly-accessible LifeWatch ERIC tools such as the Metadata Catalogue and EcoPortal, but explaining the importance of interoperability to the Infrastructure: In light of the FAIR principles, interoperability essentially means that “research data need to be integrated with other data; and need to interoperate with applications or workflows for analysis, storage, and processing”, principles which are always held in consideration during the development of the Infrastructure’s tools. After all, interoperability is essential to enable the seamless combination of all LifeWatch ERIC’s assets, providing added value for the final users. You can access the full presentation here.

Other speakers at the event included Alberto Basset – Italian Ministry of Universities and Research, Hilde Eggermont – BelSPO, Dani Villero Pi and Nestor Fernandez – EuropaBON, Tim Hirsc – GBIF, and Sujeevan Ratnasingham and Rutger Vos – BIOSCAN/iBOL, with whom a fruitful discussion was held on how Biodiversa+ can help achieve effective data interoperability. LifeWatch ERIC is honoured to participate in opportunities to nurture and maintain multilateral dialogue within the European Research Area to support the EU Biodiversity 2030 Strategy, in line with its mandate to enhance understanding, linkages and synergies between biodiversity loss and other societal challenges. Increased interoperability with other biodiversity databases through the support of Biodiversa+ facilitates the Infrastructure in its mission to mobilise and integrate data and algorithms for biodiversity and ecosystem research.

2nd General Assembly of the ResInfra EU-LAC Project

ResInfra EU-LAC General Assembly

This week, LifeWatch ERIC personnel Juan Miguel González-Aranda (CTO), Maria Luz Vázquez (Direction Secretary & QARM – FiTSM Technical Assistant for ICT-Core), Rocío Moreno (Project Executive Coordinator) and Cristina Huertas Olivares (International Initiatives & Projects Manager) are in Montevideo, Uruguay, for the second General Assembly of ResInfra EU-LAC.

The ResInfra EU-LAC project pursues the construction of bi-regional collaboration between European Union and the LAC countries (Latin America and the Caribbean), and the meeting has gathered representatives from Uruguay and the European Commission as well as partners of the EU-LAC ResInfra Consortium to discuss items such as the project Sustainability Plan, the benefits of Research Infrastructure cooperation, and the next Horizon Europe INFRA work programme. On 20 July, LifeWatch ERIC CTO Juan Miguel González-Aranda gave a presentation on the “LifEuLAC pilot on Biodiversity and Climate Change.”

To learn more about the projects LifeWatch ERIC is involved in, please visit our Related Projects page.

Research Infrastructures Accelerating Global Effort to Achieve Environmental Sustainability

ESOF 2022

Today, 15 July 2022, the ERIC Forum organised an online session as part of the EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF2022), taking place in Leiden from 13 – 16 July 2022.

The session, entitled “Research Infrastructures’ contribution to environmental sustainability puts Research Infrastructures and the added value they bring to the European Research Area in the spotlight, with their major role in creating new opportunities to advance scientific research, enabling access to large-scale facilities and e-Science infrastructures.

LifeWatch ERIC Chief Technology Officer, Juan Miguel González-Aranda, is joining the session with a presentation on the “The key role of Research Infrastructures to advance Environmental Sustainability through Digital Transformation”. Illustrating the role that LifeWatch ERIC tools like Tesseract and LifeBlock can play in the organisation and management of knowledge, the presentation demonstrates how, through the many projects in which the infrastructure is involved, they can support biodiversity conservation, ecosystem services monitoring and assessment, and ultimately human well-being, contributing to the achievement of the United Nations’ Sustainability Development Goals, as well as the targets of the European Biodiversity Strategy and Green Deal.

Today’s panel also witnesses the participation of ESBB President, Dominik Lermen, Deputy Director of CERIC-ERIC, Ornela de Giacomo, Director General of BBMRI-ERIC, Jens Habermann, and was moderated by the ERIC Forum Chair, and Director of JIV-ERIC, Francisco Colomer.

All Hands on Deck to Define the LifeWatch ERIC Roadmap

Roadmap News

Circa eighty members of the LifeWatch ERIC Common Facilities and representatives of the Member States gathered in the LifeWatch ERIC ICT-Core headquarters in Seville on 12 and 13 July for a meeting on the future of the Infrastructure.

Kicking off the two-day proceedings were Executive Board members CEO Christos Arvanitidis, CTO Juan Miguel González-Aranda and CFO Lucas de Moncuit, who presented the LifeWatch ERIC Strategic Work Plan for 2022–2026, and José Carlos Álvarez Martín, Managing Director of the Agricultural and Fisheries Management Agency of Andalusia, who stressed the importance of the collaboration between LifeWatch ERIC and the Andalusian Region, for the sustainable development of the region, particularly in the field of agroecology. 

Overall, the strategic objectives of the meeting were to plan and coordinate the work of the Common Facilities and Member States, through their Distributed Centres, to achieve the strategic objectives at the heart of the new strategic working plan and of the many projects in which the research infrastructure is currently engaged. The expertise available within LifeWatch ERIC is wide-ranging, from ecology to ICT, from agronomy to metagenomics, just to name a few examples – hence the added value of the infrastructure’s capacity to actively contribute in multiple domains, both scientifically and technically.

The work was organised in plenary and parallel sessions, the latter divided along the three working groups corresponding to three main branches of activities: 

  • DemeterWatch, cementing Agroecology as one of the infrastructure’s key activities run through many projects like ALL-Ready, Agroserv, Andalusia ERDF, Smart Food and resulting into the establishment of a core group and a roadmap to coordinate activities in this domain;
  • HermesWatch, advancing in the co-deployment and co-maintenance of the ICT Infrastructure and restructuring current working group organization;
  • Strategic Working Plan implementation, Andalusia ERDF and EU funded projects, translating the Strategic Working Plan into a practical plan which will guide LifeWatch ERIC until 2026, and analysing ERDF and EU-funded projects tasks, activities and deliverables to engage Common Facilities and Distributed Centres in further Research Collaboration within this framework.

Concluding the two days’ activities, the group worked together to define the first version of the LifeWatch ERIC Actionable Roadmap, with the mission of devising, structuring and accelerating the automatic interoperability of data, resources and open digital services for the benefit of researchers, and with the ultimate goal of accurately informing decision-making on climate change and on the protection of biodiversity throughout the planet.

In Athens for the EOSC Future Consortium Meeting

EOSC Future

The EOSC Future General Assembly and Consortium Meeting took place on 5–6 July 2022 at the Royal Olympic Hotel, Athens. The meeting gathered the consortium partners, in person and remotely, and was a crucial moment to assess the first 18 months of work, align technical and non-technical milestones, and coordinate the steps ahead to ensure the success of project activities.

EOSC Future is an EU-funded H2020 project that is implementing the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC), which will give European researchers access to a fully operational web of data and related services founded on FAIR protocols, principles and standards for accessing interoperable datasets.

Several members of LifeWatch ERIC attended the key event in the project calendar, among whom CEO Christos Arvanitidis, CTO Juan Miguel González-Aranda, Training Officer Cosimo Vallo, Project Manager Ana Mellado García, Data Lakehouse and Blockchain Officer Joaquín López Lérida and International Initiatives & Projects Manager Cristina Huertas-Olivares. Being Work Package 6 leader, Christos Arvanitidis presented the progress of WP6 to the consortium during the discussion on Science Projects, following the review of the project after its first year in operation. Cosimo Vallo also updated the consortium on the next steps of the project’s training plan, as part of Work Package 9. 

To learn more about the projects in which LifeWatch ERIC is involved, please visit the Related Projects page.

BiCIKL Project Open Call – send in your expression of interest!

BiCIKL Open Call Projects

The BiCIKL project is welcoming submissions of Expression of Interest (EoI) for the First BiCIKL Open Call for projects. The purpose of this call is to solicit, select and implement four to six biodiversity data-related scientific projects that will make use of the added value services developed by the leading Research Infrastructures that make up the BiCIKL project.  

BiCIKL has established a European starting community of key research infrastructures, researchers, citizen scientists and other biodiversity and life sciences stakeholders based on open science practices through access to data, tools and services.

To learn more about this Open Call for Projects, please visit the dedicated page on the BiCIKL project website.

You can learn more about the projects LifeWatch ERIC is involved in on the Related Projects page.

FAIR-IMPACT: Expanding FAIR solutions across EOSC

LifeWatch ERIC is glad to be actively participating in the FAIR-IMPACT project kick-off meeting, taking place as a hybrid event on 27 and 28 of June in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, following the official launch of the project on 1 June 2022.

With the ambitious goal of realising an European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) of FAIR data and services, the Horizon Europe project will support the implementation of FAIR-enabling practices, tools and services across scientific communities at a European, national, and institutional level, connecting knowledge across scientific domains on persistent identifiers, metadata and ontologies, metrics, certification and interoperability aspects via a community-led approach. The project will build on the successful practices, policies, tools and technical specifications arising from FAIRsFAIR, other H2020 projects and initiatives, and from the FAIR and other relevant Working Groups of the former EOSC Executive Board.

Service Centre ICT Coordinator, Nicola Fiore, carried out a presentation in the Integrated Use Cases session during the meeting on 27 June, on Metadata and Ontologies: the role of EcoPortal.

More information can be found about FAIR-IMPACT on the project website, LinkedIn profile and Twitter page.

You can learn about other projects in which LifeWatch ERIC is involved on the Related Projects page.

LifeWatch ERIC in Bold New Horizon Europe Project 

BioDT Kick-off Meeting

This week, along with 22 other partners, LifeWatch ERIC took part in the kick-off meeting of a new Horizon Europe project which will help protect and restore biodiversity through the development of a digital twin prototype, in Espoo, Finland. Biodiversity Digital Twin (BioDT) BioDT will provide a crucial infrastructure to drive long-term biodiversity research and facilitate science-driven policy and rapid-response actions to enforce current commitments to protecting biodiversity in the long term.

In the context of recent efforts supported by the European Commission for the development of digital twins to address multidisciplinary environmental and societal challenges, the consortium, led by the Finnish CSC – IT Center for Science, home of the EuroHPC LUMI supercomputer, is taking on the task of designing and developing a digital twin dedicated to biological diversity in the BioDT project.

CSC is pleased to support this flagship project, with BioDT being one of the first European-wide research initiatives to benefit from access to the LUMI supercomputer”, said Jesse Harrison, BioDT Project Manager. “BioDT will directly improve our ability to address global challenges associated with biodiversity loss and the climate crisis, including the provision of ecosystem services and food security, predicting disease outbreaks, and understanding the dynamics of key species of policy concern.”  

Redefining the ability to predict biodiversity dynamics

Understanding the forces shaping biodiversity is needed for rational management of natural resources and also to meet the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 to restore biodiversity in Europe. In particular, researchers need to be able to better predict global biodiversity dynamics and how species interact with their environment and with each other. This can be an extremely difficult task because the processes underlying biodiversity dynamics are complex. Innovative ways to combine data, models and interaction processes are required to predict these dynamics and offer solutions that promote a sustainable management of Earth’s biodiversity and its ecosystems.

The consortium aims to push the current boundaries of predictive understanding of biodiversity dynamics by developing a Biodiversity Digital Twin (BioDT) providing advanced modelling, simulation and prediction capabilities. By exploiting existing technologies and data from relevant research infrastructures in new ways, BioDT will be able to accurately and quantitatively model interactions between species and their environment. 

Scientists at involved Research Infrastructures (RIs) will use the BioDT to:

  • better observe changes in biodiversity in response to forces resulting from climate change or human activity,
  • mechanistically understand how these changes occur,
  • predict the effects of these changes.

Practical examples and societal impact

The project features eight use cases related to land ecosystems, clustered in four groups grounded in the scientific and technical expertise of the consortium. These use cases focus on the species and ecosystems of highest conservation and policy concern, such as threatened species, pollinators, and grasslands, and are vital to mankind’s well-being and biodiversity conservation efforts.

  • Group 1 – Species response to environmental change
  • Group 2 – Genetically detected biodiversity
  • Group 3 – Dynamics and threats from and for species of policy concern
  • Group 4 – Species interactions with each other and with humans

They address global issues of critical societal interest including climate change impacts on species and ecosystems, food security, implementation of EU and international policies and health, and will specifically contribute to addressing the UN Sustainable Development Goals 2 – Zero hunger, 3 – Good health and well-being, 13 – Climate action, and 15 – Life on land.

Multidisciplinary data for interconnected challenges

BioDT brings together a dynamic team of experts in biodiversity, high-performance computing, artificial intelligence, digital twinning and FAIR data to develop the first BioDT prototype. The scientific expertise and existing datasets from four major biodiversity research infrastructures (GBIF, eLTER, DiSSCo, and LifeWatch ERIC) will bring life to BioDT, allowing for coverage of several application domains such as environmental and earth science, climate science, ecology, biology, genomics, natural history, biodiversity informatics, computer sciences, and mathematics / statistics.

Biodiversity Digital Twin and its infrastructure will become an integral component of the Destination Earth initiative and actively participate in its ambition to realise a full Digital Twin of the Earth. The long-term objectives of BioDT are also tightly interconnected with the EC vision for a robust, federated European computing and data infrastructure, and initiatives such as the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) and EuroHPC.

Follow BioDT on the project’s website, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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.

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

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

Where
Zoom (link to be provided upon registration)

Programme

  • 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

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

Where
Zoom (link to be provided upon registration)

Programme

  • 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.