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How to gain free access to ecological research sites in 19 countries

Interested in getting into ecological research sites across Europe for free? An EU-backed project has granted over 60 scientists EUR 400 000 for their research at these sites so far.

Climate Change and Environment icon Climate Change and Environment

Scientists working in the areas of biodiversity, biogeochemistry, hydrology and socio-ecological research now have the chance to freely access ecological research sites. This opportunity is provided through the latest call for transnational access (TA) and remote access (RA) launched with support from the EU-funded eLTER PPP and eLTER PLUS projects. Long-term ecosystem research (LTER) plays an important role in worldwide efforts to better understand ecosystems. The mission of European LTER (eLTER) is to promote high-impact research and improve our knowledge of the compounded impacts of climate change, biodiversity loss, soil degradation, pollution and unsustainable resource use on a range of European ecosystems and socio-ecological systems. With this goal in mind, eLTER has been making its research infrastructure available to researchers involved in small- to medium-scale ecological and socio-ecological projects, granting EUR 400 000 to more than 60 scientists so far. To conduct their research, successful applicants can visit one or more of 34 long-term research sites in 19 European countries (TA) and/or specify activities to be performed on their behalf by local staff (RA). As reported in a news release posted on ‘EurekAlert!’, all sites included in the TA and RA scheme “are equipped with state-of-the-art instrumentation to enable comprehensive ecological measurement and experimental campaigns.” Researchers have access to long-term data on these sites that they can use for comparison or reference. IT facilities are also provided for scientists to upload, store and process data. The sites were selected to represent all European biogeographic zones, including forests, farmlands, deserts, grasslands, rivers, lakes, taigas, tundras, coastal regions and alpine zones. Multi-site research projects are preferred, though supported projects may also focus on a single site.

Who can apply?

The scheme is open to any user, with no formal prerequisites regarding education or qualifications. Although most users to date have been scientific researchers at an early stage in their careers, the scheme is also open to users from business, industry, civil society and the general public. However, to be able to apply, the organisation you are affiliated with cannot be in the country where the site you wish to access is located. In the case of a group of applicants, most of its members must also work in a country other than the country where the site the group wants to access is located. Before applying, users are encouraged to read through the scheme’s details that are described in the ‘eLTER PLUS TA-RA Scheme’ document available for download at this link. To apply for access, users must fill in the proposal template, describing their scientific idea and indicating the site or sites they are interested in. Applications must be submitted in Word format to The deadline for submissions is 31 January 2023. After the call’s closure, submissions will undergo a thorough review process, including an eligibility check, a plausibility check and a scientific evaluation. Applicants will be informed of the outcome on 31 March 2023. The eLTER PPP (eLTER Preparatory Phase Project) and eLTER PLUS (European long-term ecosystem, critical zone and socio-ecological systems research infrastructure PLUS) projects end in January 2025. For more information, please see: eLTER PPP project website eLTER PLUS project website


eLTER PPP, eLTER PLUS, research, ecological research, remote access, transnational access, ecosystem, socio-ecological system

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