Internal Joint Initiative

The Internal Joint Initiative was instigated by LifeWatch ERIC in 2019 to build the next generation of Virtual Research Environments (VREs). Informaticians at the ICT-Core in Spain and the Service Centre in Italy have worked extensively with scientists from biodiversity and ecosystem communities across Europe to develop new platforms and tools that those researchers require to take their investigations to the next level.

Five separate validation cases on Non-indigenous Invasive Species (NIS) determined the technical specifications they required, and guided the development of workflows that integrate data from myriad sources in multiple formats, allowing full interoperability in accordance with FAIR data principles. These tools will shortly be available to the wider scientific community in the new VRE.  

The resultant Tesseract VRE is in the beta stages of deployment, featuring cutting-edge technologies such as user-friendly composability layers and LifeBlock, a Blockchain system that ensures data integrity and fidelity of attribution, to facilitate research on spatial and temporal scales that have never before been possible. The co-creation of these e-Services is a great example of trans-disciplinarity that will increasingly be required to address the challenges posed by climate change and biodiversity loss.

If you are interested in the IJI and want to join us on the validation cases, just drop us an e-mail service.centre[at]

Rationale for the Internal Joint Initiative

The warnings of 15,000 scientists, of the United Nations Paris Climate Change Conference (COP21) and now of the UN Global Assessment Study clearly demonstrate that humanity is bringing our life support system, the biosphere, to the point of collapse. The effort to counteract this current loss of biodiversity requires concrete actions at all levels. For science, it means improving our current level of knowledge, to move beyond the present fragmentation of science, and to foster greater complementarity and synergy between disciplines, by developing new inter-disciplinary paradigms and starting to build synthetic knowledge, so as to boost innovation and involve more young scientists and civil society.

LifeWatch ERIC is Europe’s first line of response to this emergency, applying and advancing ICT technologies, web networks, interconnecting scientific communities and research centres internationally into its web-based research infrastructure.


The Internal Joint and Collaborative Initiative (IJI) was created in order to:

  1. Boost the integration of tools and services into the LifeWatch ERIC web portal
  2. Focus on a major scientific issue in biodiversity and ecosystem research with relevant socio-economic implications in different fields;
  3. Produce new and synthetic knowledge that is needed by institutions, administrations and managers to give solutions to major environmental problems at different scales;
  4. Involve the LifeWatch ERIC National scientific communities, key international research groups and other European research Infrastructures with related interests and running activities; and,
  5. Make this effort an example of the functioning of the LifeWatch ERIC e-Infrastructure through its dissemination and outreach activities.

The topic of non-indigenous and invasive species (NIS) was chosen as the first demonstration case of the functioning of the LifeWatch ERIC e-Infrastructure. The development of virtual research environments within the e-Infrastructure will help address some of the main issues on NIS in the field of ecosystem and habitat type vulnerability and in the context of climate change as well as help highlight societal needs and potential solutions to be tested.


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.