New Synergies in the Cartuja Science and Technology Park

PCT Cartuja

At the LifeWatch ERIC ICT-Core & FEDERTECH headquarters in the Cartuja Science and Technology Park (PCT Cartuja) in Seville, a working meeting took place on Friday 18 November between Juan Miguel González-Aranda, LifeWatch ERIC CTO and Head of LifeWatch Spain, and Francisco Rodríguez Rubio, Director of the Higher Technical School of Engineering of Seville, whose headquarters are also in the PCT Cartuja. The aim of the meeting was to advance agreements between both entities in order to develop research and innovation initiatives in the field of e-biodiversity and the sustainable management of ecosystem services; a synergy that will promote the generation of knowledge and excellence from said science and technology park within the framework of the European Union, with a global vision.

The Higher Technical School of Engineering (ETSi) of the University of Seville is a university centre of international reference in the field of engineering research. Currently, the ETSi university community has more than 5,600 students, and over 500 professors and researchers. It is very well-positioned in international rankings, including the Shanghai ranking, where four of the School’s courses come in as the top positions in Spain, and are among the top 300 worldwide:

  • Instruments Science and Technology, position 50
  • Automation and Control, range 76-100
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering and Mathematics, range 101-150
  • Energy Sciences and Engineering and Mechanical Engineering, range 201-300

EU, Latin American, Caribbean and Ibero-American Community Meeting on Sustainable Ecosystem Management

Seville Meeting

This week, coordinators of national biodiversity information networks linked to GBIF, the Global Biodiversity Information Facility, providing the largest biodiversity data network in the world, will work together to accelerate the development and use of data technology networks and services, with the support of the EU and the UN. The meeting will be held in the Cartuja Science & Technology Park in Seville, home to the LifeWatch ERIC ICT-Core.

Understanding and coordinating biodiversity information is essential to respond to current social and environmental challenges and for the sustainable management of ecosystems. The strategic meeting, organised by LifeWatch ERIC, will bring together 30 experts and coordinators from 15 countries in Latin America, the Caribbean and Ibero-America: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, Spain, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, Portugal, Uruguay and Venezuela, with the following aims:

1. Development of a common roadmap for the development and consolidation of (e-)Infrastructures and services that, from the perspective of e-Science, contribute to:

– the best sustainable management of the territory;

– the conservation of biodiversity and the natural environment;

– the achievement of the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, in synergy with the EU Green Deal, EU Blue Growth, EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030 and EU Farm to Fork programmes, among others.

2. Exchange of experiences and capacities in handling issues and challenges common to national and international infrastructures, data, information and knowledge in (e-)biodiversity. A consensus document of conclusions including a EU-LAC Roadmap to co-develop, build and deploy through the financial support of the relevant calls (CYTED, GBIF, Cooperation Agencies, Horizon Europe, the NDICI, etc.)

3. The development of the above based on the paradigm of biogeographical regions in the CELAC area, through national cross-border collaboration between the states involved, in collaboration with the EU and the UN, e.g., through IKRI, the Indigenous Knowledge initiative Research Initiative, based on the aforementioned financial instruments.

Participating in the inaugural session of this initiative are Christos Arvanitidis, LifeWatch ERIC CEO; Juan Miguel González Aranda, CTO and Head of LifeWatch Spain; Joe Miller, GBIF Executive Secretary; Margarita Paneque Sosa, Institutional Coordinator of CSIC in Andalusia; Francisco Pando de la Hoz, representative of GBIF Spain; Melisa Ojeda, representative of GBIF nodes in CELAC area, and many others. Javier Castroviejo Bolívar, eminent Spanish biologist, UNESCO Consultant and former president of IberoMaB, the Network of National MaB Committees and Biosphere Reserves of Ibero-America and the Caribbean, will give a keynote address.

ALL-Ready Regional Workshop Hosted by LifeWatch ERIC: Accelerating the Agroecology Transition

ALL-Ready Workshop

LifeWatch ERIC is hosting a hybrid regional workshop on 2 November for the ALL-Ready Project, at its ICT-Core office in Seville, located in the Cartuja Science and Technology Park. It will be attended by the project partners and more than 50 experts from Spain, Portugal, Greece, Bulgaria and Italy, of which 50% of the attendees are members of the Andalusian agricultural and agri-food sectors. Presenting will be Consolación Vera, General Secretary of Agriculture, Livestock and Food of the Junta de Andalucía, and José Carlos Álvarez, Managing Director of AGAPA, the Andalusian Agricultural and Fisheries Management Agency, alongside representatives of workshop organisers LifeWatch ERIC (Juan Miguel González-Aranda, CTO) and INRAE (Heather McKhann, Muriel Mambrini-Doudet). The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development of the Junta de Andalucía and its organic farming working group are also collaborating in the organisation of the event, to involve the Andalusian community of farmers (through the SmartFood project). They will present as a success story their experience promoting and stimulating the creation of Living Labs in Agroecology to enhance the presence of Andalusian farmers in the European Association. More information on the workshop and attendees here.

The important news from this Horizon2020 project is that the European Commission, through Horizon Europe, is designing the European Association to Accelerate the Transition of Agricultural Systems through Living Labs (collaborative workspaces) and Research Infrastructures in Agroecology, formed of the ALL-Ready project consortium and the experts in attendance at the workshop. The aim is over the next seven years to mobilise more than 500 million euros in order to bring the green and digital revolution to fruition in the agricultural sector, in line with the European Green Deal, the Farm to Fork Strategy, the European Biodiversity Strategy 2030, the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and the UN SDGs. At the workshop, the participants will work together to propose the focus, maturity and financing of their initiatives, taking into account the practices and values ​​of ALL-Ready, to define their respective roles in the network. Another goal is to boost the participation of local agents from Southern Europe in the initiatives that will be organised by the Association.

For its part, LifeWatch ERIC has been designated by the European Commission as the Reference Research Infrastructure for the management of knowledge, data and infrastructure of Information Technology Association, and to help contribute to a green and digital revolution across Europe. To this end, the infrastructure is developing an innovative Virtual Research Environment based on its Tesseract and LifeBlock (which uses Blockchain) platforms, which will support the tokenisation of ecosystem services to enable ecosystem monitoring and tracking and CAP schemes based on agroecological practices and low-carbon agriculture. These developments carried out from Andalusia through its AstarteWatch network will be duly federated at a pan-European level through the LifeWatch ERIC e-Infrastructure.

In the two days following the regional workshop on 2 November, the ALL-Ready Annual Meeting morning will take place between the 13 entities of the project consortium, hosted by LifeWatch ERIC. Together, they will analyse the achievements made in the first phases of the project, define and plan the next steps, organise the growing involvement of all sectors linked to agroecology and model the training courses that contribute to systematising the legacy of this project and its continuity.

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

A Focus on Gender-Responsive Policy at the Women for the Mediterranean Conference

Women for the Mediterranean

LifeWatch ERIC International Gender Officer, Africa Zanella, took part this week in the Women for the Mediterranean Conference in Madrid, where Union for the Mediterranean member states committed on Wednesday to strengthening the role of women in society in response to regional crises. Ms Zanella, who is also CEO of CGSE, as well as Observer and Gender Focal Point for the CIF, moderated the panel “Gender Equality and Climate Change: women as agents for change and stakeholders instead of vulnerable groups”, followed by participation in the panel “Gender-responsive finance at scale for climate and environment action”.

A recurring theme in her speeches throughout the day was calling for attention to language, and she opened by rejecting the ubiquitous term “climate change”, calling for the phenomenon to be referred to as the “climate crisis”. Also in common with her following presentations, she called for more gender analysis into research and policy, explaining her role within LifeWatch ERIC to implement a Gender Equity Plan, which is now a requirement for participation in EU research funding programmes, and use of tools such as IGAR to increase equality and wellbeing in the research infrastructure, which provides science research facilities and services to scientists investigating biodiversity and ecosystem functions towards addressing key societal challenges linked to climate change.

For the first panel, she introduced panellists: Saira Ahmed, Programme Management Officer at UNDRR, Blanca Moreno-Dodson, Director of the CMIUNOPS, Yasmine Seghirate, Policy and Communication Officer at CIHEAM, and Maggie Refaat, Regional Gender Specialist at FAO. Some of the key points the experts spoke about were the desegregation of data for effective gender analysis of policy, due to the large diversity within genders, and about increased information exchange between universities and research infrastructures in order to develop equality plans and support women who want to become scientists.

Next, Africa Zanella invited the panellists to choose the point of action from the Gender Declaration which they believe would make the best change for women. Points mentioned included training and research, due to the important of having data which reveals how climate change is affecting women; monitoring changes to legislation, which largely needs to be reviewed in order to incorporate gender component; the importance of having reliable data on climate financing, to encourage the private sector to collaborate with public sector; gender transformative approaches, such as increased reporting on women’s access to land ownership and access to knowledge; and increased investment in a gender-sensitiiveresponse to disasters, which would involve more resources made directly available to grassroots women’s organisations.

When as a panellist the Gender Officer was asked how the Union for the Mediterranean roadmap could be improved, she stated the stark fact that only 0.04% of climate funding is dedicated into gender, citing the problem as a bureaucratic resistance to change globally. Moreover, in line with her previous statements, Africa Zanella called for an end to tokenism, explaining that women are not are homogenous group, and further factors must be taken into account, such as sector, region, etc.: requiring a more thorough and detailed analytic approach to developing gender-responsive policy. Finally, Ms Zanella mentioned ongoing research being undertaken by CIF World Bank, for which she is part of the reference group, which shows that what women in developing countries want is a voice, so they can give their perspective and decide their own fate.

About Union for the Mediterranean

The Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) is an intergovernmental Euro-Mediterranean organisation which brings together all countries of the European Union and 15 countries of the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean. UfM’s mission is to enhance regional cooperation, dialogue and the implementation of projects and initiatives with tangible impact on our citizens, with an emphasis on young people and women, in order to address the three strategic objectives of the region: stability, human development and integration.

Women for the Mediterranean

LifeWatch ERIC in Meeting on Disruptive Technologies

Disruptive technologies

Tomorrow morning, on Wednesday 19 October, LifeWatch ERIC will have the opportunity to meet and establish relationships with other creators and promoters of disruptive technologies, at the online B2B meeting organised by PTE Disruptive of the Association of Science and Technology Parks of Spain (APTE) focused on opportunities in the biotech sector (in Spanish).

LifeWatch ERIC CTO, Juan Miguel González-Aranda, will present in a slot from 10:40 – 11:00 CEST. In his presentation, he will talk about the range of disruptive technologies used by LifeWatch ERIC – the virtual infrastructure available to anyone who wishes to support research on biodiversity and the valorisation of ecosystem services with reliable data. 

Other participants include: Felipe Romera, president of Malaga TechPark and APTE, who will present the Spanish Platform of Disruptive Technologies; María Angeles Ferré, responsible for scientific-technical thematic programmes at the State Research Agency, who will talk about the aid programmes; Gabriel Anzaldi Varas, director of technological scientific development at EURECAT, who will speak about digital-bio technological convergence and its applications; and Raquel Álvarez Fernández, head of statistics and intelligence at the Spanish Association of Biocompanies (AseBio), who will discuss business opportunities in the biotech sector. 

The meeting will also see presentations from three company representatives with practical examples on the use of disruptive technologies: Exheus CEO, Teresa Tarragó; Zymvol Biomodeling SL CTO Maria Fátima Lucas; and Honey.Ai COO Iratxe Perales. APTE is funded by Ministry of Science and Innovation of Spain through the AIE.

Interested persons are invited to register for the event using the form (in Spanish).

Bilateral meetings will be held after the presentations and will not be streamed.

Fortifying Spanish-Portuguese Cooperation on Technology for Research at IBERGRID 2022

IBERGRID 2022

IBERGRID 2022, the 11th Iberian Grid Conference, took place 10–13 October at the University of Algarve in Faro, Portugal. IBERGRID stands for the Iberian Grid Structure, federating computing and data resources across the Iberian area to support research and innovation. The theme of the conference was “Delivering Innovative Computing and Data Services for Research”, and LifeWatch ERIC had a strong presence at the event, with a presentation “EOSC Activities in the Environmental Sciences”  from ICT-Core e-Infrastructure Operations Coordinator Antonio José Sáenz on behalf of CEO Christos Arvanitidis and CTO Juan Miguel González-Aranda, as part of the EOSC tripartite event which took place on day 1, and a two-part workshop on “IBERLifeWatch” – focusing on a good practices approach for scientific, technology and innovation communities and on funding opportunities for Spanish-Portuguese cooperation on day 2 and day 4.

During the IBERLifeWatch workshop, LifeWatch ERIC was able to highlight its collaboration several prestigious research entities, with engaging presentations from representatives from FCTCSICMIRRI ERIC, the University of Huelva, the University of Granada, the FCCN UnitLIPGBIF, the Royal Botanical Garden of Madrid, the Spanish government, the Junta de Andalucía, the Interreg Spain-Portugal programme, the LIFE programme, Estacão Biológica de MértolaUniversity of PortoLeuphana Universität LüneburgADRAL, the University of Aveiro, the University of Minho and many more, as well as coordinators of the Spanish and Portuguese nodes of LifeWatch ERIC itself. State-of-the-art LifeWatch ERIC tools were presented, such as LifeBlock and Tesseract, alongside important ERDF projects in the region involving the participation of the infrastructure, such as SmartFood and Smart EcoMountains, as well as wide-reaching agroecology initiatives such as ALL-Ready. To learn about the technology underpinning these projects, please see the presentations below.

LifeWatch ERIC would like to thank event organisers University of AlgarveLIPINCD and CSIC. The Iberian Peninsula is a biodiversity hotspot and it is key that synergistic initiatives and projects such as those mentioned during the meeting are maintained and expanded, and IBERGRID 2022 provided the perfect opportunity to acknowledge and reinforce cross-border collaboration.

To see photos from the event, please see our gallery.

Presentations from the IBERLifeWatch workshop are available below:


José Manuel Ávila | Innovation on Agroecology to support a transition to more sustainable and resilient agrifood systems

Kety Cáceres Falcón & Sofía Vaz | Funding European opportunities for ES-PT collaboration

Estação Biológica de Mértola | Presentation

Juan Miguel González-Aranda | IBERLifeWatch: A scientific, technology and innovation Communities of good practices approach

Pablo Guerrero, Jaime Lobo & Emilio de Leon | Improving the environmental monitoring cycle, remote sensing & space technologies

Rohaifa Khaldi | Application of Artificial Intelligence in the study of Ecosystems

Emilio de Leon | Early detection of invasive species using metabarcoding

Joaquín López | LifeBlock and semantic environment status and roadmap

Carlos Javier Navarro | Remote Sensing in ecology and conservation of mountain systems

Nuria Pistón | Ecosystem Services modelling in mountain systems

José Rodriguez Quintero | University of Huelva cross-border projects

Teresa del Rey | Improving connectivity between populations of the endangered Iberian lynx

Antonio José Sáenz Albanés | Tesseract

Antonio José Sáenz Albanés | Technical Presentations Report

Diego de los Santos | Spanish-Portuguese cooperation for the conservation of Iberian biodiversity

Ester Serrão | Biodiversity and Function of underwater habitats




Centro Internacional de Investigacion e Innovacion en Biodiversidad

Oficina Técnica de apoyo a proyectos FEDER LifeWatch ERIC con Junta de Andalucía

Parque Natural Los Alcornocales

Valorizacion de servicios ecosistemicos mediante plataforma AI

Andalusian Minister of Sustainability, Environment and Blue Economy visits LifeWatch ERIC

andalusia sustainability

The Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Blue Economy of the Junta de Andalucía (Regional Government of Andalusia), Ramón Fernández-Pacheco, visited LifeWatch ERIC’s technological headquarters in Seville this week, in recognition of the Infrastructure as “a scientific and technological reference point” in the field of biodiversity, nature and climate change. He was accompanied by the deputy minister, Sergio Arjona, and the general secretary, María del Mar Plaza.

The purpose of the visit was for the representatives of the Junta de Andalucía to see first-hand the numerous projects LifeWatch ERIC is working on in the region to protect and restore biodiversity and combat the negative effects of climate change. One such example of this is the Indalo project, in collaboration with the Junta de Andalucía, aimed at creating a network of climate change monitoring observatories in the region, which sees the participation of Andalusian public universities, as well as government institutes IFAPA (Andalusian Institute of Agricultural and Fisheries Research and Training) and INTA (National Institute of Aerospace Technology). It encompasses the study of biodiversity in Andalusian ecosystems, analysing emerging patterns from the impact of climate change, and possible consequences.

“The Junta de Andalucía is proud that an outstanding European scientific entity such as LifeWatch ERIC has its headquarters and management bodies, together with more than 20 scientists, many of them Andalusian, in Seville, which demonstrates the enormous potential of our region to face environmental challenges”, commented the Minister Fernández-Pacheco.

LifeWatch ERIC CTO, Juan Miguel González-Aranda, who gave the tour, made the following statement: “We are honoured to have welcomed the Minister to our office. His visit is symbolic of the long-lasting synergy that LifeWatch ERIC has with the Junta de Andalucía, as successful collaborative projects continue to produce positive benefits for the region and further afield. We are extremely grateful for the Junta’s ongoing support.”

Assessing marine biodiversity: MARBEFES project kick-off meeting

Marbefes project

MARBEFES (MARine Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning leading to Ecosystem Services) is the latest of LifeWatch ERIC’s related projects to launch, with the kick-off meeting taking place from 4–6 October in Sopot, Poland. The ambitious Horizon Europe project aims to evaluate and characterise the links between marine biodiversity, ecosystem functioning, ecosystem services and the resulting societal goods and benefits in coastal communities. The results will be captured in easy-to-use tools to help practitioners and policy to maximise the ecological value and optimise a sustainable socio-economic use of the marine system for current and future generations.

Representatives from all the MARBEFES project partners gathered in Sopot for a three-day kick-off meeting, involving general presentations of the project goals and expected results, including an overview of all the project Work Packages (WPs). On the first day of the meeting, as part of the general presentation of the project, LifeWatch ERIC CEO Christos Arvanitidis and International Initiatives & Projects Manager Cristina Huertas-Olivares illustrated LifeWatch ERIC’s leading role in in WP5 “Integration & Scenario”. The KOM also involved working group sessions to detail project partners’ involvement and interrelations between WPs to smooth further activities.

You can follow the MARBEFES project on Facebook and Twitter.

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

LifeWatch ERIC Receives Recognition from Agricultural Minister for its work in the Agroecology sector

Agroecology

LifeWatch ERIC’s participation in the Smart Agrifood Summit, Europe’s largest agrifood innovation and digitisation event, marked this year a cornerstone for the Infrastructure’s involvement in agroecology initiatives.

On Friday 30 September, LifeWatch ERIC CTO, Juan Miguel González-Aranda, alongside José Emilio Guerrero (professor at the University of Cordoba, member of Common Agricultural Policy Ministerial Advisory Committee, and LifeWatch ERIC collaborator) were delighted to welcome the Spanish Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Luis Planas, to the Infrastructure’s booth. A fruitful meeting focusing on the contribution that LifeWatch ERIC makes to the agroecology sector, during which the Minister appreciated how LifeWatch ERIC’s projects are paving the way and leading efforts towards the valorisation of ecosystem services and agriculture ecological sustainability, becoming a reference point for other Mediterranean countries and Europe as a whole.

Dr González-Aranda made the following comment: “I am honoured to have welcomed the Minister to our booth. This is an important acknowledgment of LifeWatch ERIC’s effort in this field, critical for human wellbeing, and it is an incentive to further advance our engagement in agroecology.”

For more information on the Smart Agrifood Summit, click here.

Agroecology Initiatives Gain Traction at the Smart Agrifood Summit

Smart Agrifood Summit

As with every year, LifeWatch ERIC is taking part in the annual Smart Agrifood Summit, Europe’s largest agrifood innovation and digitisation event, which is taking place this year from 29 – 30 September in Malaga, Spain. Attended by 3000 participants, 300 speakers, 200 start-ups and with over 50 countries represented, LifeWatch ERIC is in the perfect place to find and consolidate synergies; dozens of corporations, companies and entities highly involved in agrifood innovation and sustainability, such as Cajamar ADNAgroFood, held productive meetings with the infrastructure at its stand.

Notably at the event, Juan Miguel González-Aranda, LifeWatch ERIC Chief Technology Officer, presented “SmartfoodLifeWatch”, alongside José Manuel Ávila-Castuera, Rocío Moreno Domínguez and Daniel Caro Gómez. It is an initiative which measures the impact of agricultural, forestry and fishing activities on Andalusia’s biodiversity, powered in collaboration with the Andalusian Agrarian and Fisheries Management Agency (AGAPA) and researchers from the University of Cordoba.

The Indalo project was also presented at the Summit, which is coordinated with the Andalusian Institute for Research and Training in Agriculture, Food Fisheries and Ecological Production (IFAPA). This initiative studies Andalusian agricultural and fishing ecosystems through the creation of a network of observatories to monitor the impact of climate change and biodiversity. There are eight key focus ecosystems: olive groves, dried fruits, extensive herbaceous crops, intensive horticulture, red fruits, agriculture in the Lower Guadalquivir, dehesa and fishing reserves in the Guadalquivir. The network of observatories will be equipped with state-of-the-art measurement equipment, allowing real-time access to the information obtained by the sensors.