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, now in late 2021, 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]lifewatch.eu.

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.

Objectives

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.