How To Join

Are you thinking about joining LifeWatch ERIC?

Then take a look at our FAQ, where we cover all the key points you need to know about becoming part of our Research Infrastructure. 

A pdf version is also available here.

For any further queries you may have, please don’t hesitate to get in touch:

Research Infrastructures are facilities, resources and services that are used by research communities to conduct research and foster innovation in their fields. They include: major scientific equipment (or sets of instruments), knowledge-based resources such as collections, archives and scientific data, e-Infrastructures, such as data and computing systems and communication networks, and any other tools that are essential to achieve excellence in research and innovation.

The European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) is a specific legal form that facilitates the establishment and operation of Research Infrastructures with European interest. Advantages:

  • A legal capacity recognised in all EU countries;
  • Flexibility to adapt to specific requirements of each infrastructure;
  • A faster process than creating an international organisation;
  • Exemptions from VAT and excise duty.

LifeWatch ERIC is the e-Science and Technology European Infrastructure for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research that:

  • Establishes and operates the infrastructure and information systems necessary to mobilise and integrate data and algorithms for biodiversity and ecosystem research, including enhancing understanding, linkages and synergies with other societal challenges such as climate change adaptation and mitigation, and to provide analytical capabilities;
  • Provides access to data collected by science at a global level and offers ICT services, tools,  storage capacity  and  computational  power,  to  transform  information into new knowledge;
  • Connects and brings together physical observatories,  research  centres  and  scientific  communities  into  a  single  web  space  accessible  to  all;  in doing so
  • Offers researchers and stakeholders wherever they  are,  regardless  of  their  access  to  funding  and  facilities,  the  resources  to  enact  their  own  innovative scientific approach; and
  • Empowers  citizens  to  engage  with  science  and  contribute  to  their  own  well-being  and  survival.

The core structural components are the three Common Facilities, serving the entire ERIC and responsible for the implementation, coordination and management of all activities:

Distributed Centres are facilities that are hosted by Member States, and coordinate national contributions to the consortium.

At present, LifeWatch ERIC consists of eight European Member States:

Belgium, Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain.

  • Member States of the European Union;
  • Associated Countries;
  • Other Third Countries;
  • Intergovernmental Organisations.

Members have the right to:

  • Participate and vote in the General Assembly (contributing to the definition of strategic objectives and implementation plans);
  • Access information and services provided by LifeWatch ERIC;
  • Benefit from any other rights mentioned in the Statutes or included in the Implementing Rules.

Observers have the right to:

  • Attend the General Assembly without any voting
  • Let their research communities participate in LifeWatch ERIC events, such as workshops, conferences, training courses at preferential rates, space permitting;
  • Let their research communities have access to support from LifeWatch ERIC in developing relevant systems, processes and services.
  • Be part of a highly specialised European Research Infrastructure Consortium;
  • Aggregate and organise national scientific communities working on biodiversity and ecosystems, maximising their visibility and impact;
  • Use the LifeWatch ERIC brand to promote national outcomes and initiatives;
  • Be included in European and national roadmaps and Smart Specialisation Strategies;
  • Have access to dedicated European, national and regional programmes and funding schemes;
  • Have access to technology, innovation and knowledge through collaboration on the development and operation of the e-Infrastructure.

LifeWatch ERIC full Members must:

  • Support and facilitate the objectives, tasks and governance of LifeWatch ERIC;
  • Identify a representing entity and maintain a National LifeWatch Support Committee to promote  adoption of relevant standards in national resources and tools creation projects;
  • Promote the uptake of services among scientific communities and  researchers  of  different   biodiversity-related  areas  of  knowledge, including ecosystem science and bioinformatics, and gather providers’ and users’ input and feedback;
  • Commit financially towards a common budget: In Cash Contribution (15%) and In Kind Contribution (85%) (see Annex 2);
  • Support any other activity agreed within the framework of LifeWatch ERIC resulting from the Statutes or Implementing Rules;
  • Maintain their membership until the end of the five-year period in force at the moment of their accession.

Observers do not have any financial commitment.

To  apply   for   membership  a letter must be written to the Chair of the General Assembly. This letter should be supported by an Annex in which the applying Member State, Associated Country, Other Third Country or Intergovernmental Organisation must state clearly what they can offer to LifeWatch ERIC and what they expect from it, based on each of its three essential components (open access data, reproducible analytics and mobilised communities).


The Bulgarian National Distributed Centre is represented by the  Agricultural University-Plovdiv.

To know more about how Bulgaria contributes to LifeWatch ERIC, please visit our dedicated webpage.


The Spanish National Distributed Centre is supported by the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities, the Regional Government of Andalusia and the Guadalquivir River Basin Authority (Ministry for Ecological Transition-MITECO). Moreover, Spain is the hosting Member State of LifeWatch ERIC, the location of its Statutory Seat & ICT e-Infrastructure Technical Office (LifeWatch ERIC Common Facilities). 

To know more about how Spain contributes to LifeWatch ERIC, please visit our dedicated webpage.


The Slovenian National Distributed Centre is led by the Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (ZRC SAZU). It focuses on the development of technological solutions in the field of biodiversity and socio-ecosystem research.

To know more about how Slovenia contributes to LifeWatch ERIC, please visit our dedicated webpage.


The Portuguese National Distributed Centre is managed by PORBIOTA, the Portuguese e-Infrastructure for Information and Research on Biodiversity. Led by BIOPOLIS/CIBIO-InBIO – Research Centre in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources, PORBIOTA connects the principal Portuguese research institutions working in biodiversity.

To know more about how Portugal contributes to LifeWatch ERIC, please visit our dedicated webpage.


The Dutch National Distributed Centre is hosted by the Faculty of Science of the University of Amsterdam. Moreover, The Netherlands hosts one of the LifeWatch ERIC Common Facilities, the Virtual Laboratory and Innovation Centre.

To know more about how The Netherlands contributes to LifeWatch ERIC, please visit our dedicated webpage.


The Italian National Distributed Centre is led and managed by the Italian National Research Council (CNR) and is coordinated by a Joint Research Unit, currently comprising 35 members. Moreover, Italy hosts one of the LifeWatch ERIC Common Facilities, the Service Centre.

To know more about how Italy contributes to LifeWatch ERIC, please visit our dedicated webpage.


The Greek National Distributed Centre is funded by the Greek General Secretariat of Research and Technology and is coordinated by the Institute of Marine Biology, Biotechnology and Aquaculture of the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, in conjunction with 47 associated partner institutions.

To know more about how Greece contributes to LifeWatch ERIC, please visit our dedicated webpage.


The Belgian National Distributed Centre makes varied and complementary in-kind contributions to LifeWatch ERIC. These are implemented in the form of long-lasting projects by various research centres and universities distributed throughout the country and supported by each respective political authority.

To know more about how Belgium contributes to LifeWatch ERIC, please visit our dedicated webpage.