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Common Operations of Environmental Research Infrastructures

Final Report Summary - ENVRI (Common Operations of Environmental Research Infrastructures)

Executive Summary:
The ENVRI project (Common operations of Environmental Research Infrastructures) is supporting the European research infrastructures for environmental research on a number of common policies and technical solutions. The project targeted the large ESFRI projects of European importance which together are constructing a major part of the European landscape of research infrastructures for the upcoming 20 to 30 years. Realising this potential will ensure that the scientific community derives full value from investments in these large-scale environmental projects, and will keep scientists at the forefront of global research as they tackle the scientific challenges ahead.

The challenge for environmental scientists is in understanding the multitude of interrelations between the deep Earth, the marine, the atmospheric systems and the biosphere on a wide range of temporal and spatial scales. Understanding these systems is not possible by simply extrapolating their behaviour from the single units of which they are composed. A different approach is needed, in which modelling and simulation techniques are used to detect patterns of correlation between the various types of observation, in a way that enables to uncover the underlying processes. Such analysis techniques assume the availability of sufficient instruments and sensors and the existence of large-scale databases containing validated observations and measurements of the various components of the environmental system. These requirements together define the support from an integrated e-infrastructure environment integrating the observatories, sensors, data, software, models and computation facilities at an appropriately large scale.
The ENVRI objectives targeted the following priorities of common interest for the ESFRI Environmental Research Infrastructures projects:
• create common solutions for a range of shared problems, and
• increase the interoperability of the research infrastructures to serve interdisciplinary users.
Important is that interdisciplinary users increasingly want to benefit from the services of different research infrastructures. The ENVRI project did not create a separate new facility, but addressed the capabilities that can be taken up by each ESFRI infrastructure or a combination of infrastructures aiming at the delivery of common priority services to users. The key results of the ENVRI project are:

1. A common policy for the ESFRI Environmental Research Infrastructures;
2. Design guidelines for a Common Reference Model to promote infrastructure interoperability;
3. Provide common solutions for data discovery, data integration and harmonisation for the infrastructure projects.
Involved ESFRI Environmental Research Infrastructures
The ESFRI Environmental research infrastructures involved in ENVRI, and represented by the organisations of their project coordinators are:
EISCAT-3D Upgrade of incoherent SCATter facility
EMSO Multidisciplinary seafloor observatory
EPOS Plate observing system
EURO-ARGO Global ocean observing infrastructure
ICOS Integrated carbon observation system
LifeWatch e-Infrastructure for biodiversity and ecosystem research
ENVRI also maintained close contact with the other not-directly involved ESFRI Environmental research infrastructures by inviting them for joint meetings. These projects are:
IAGOS Aircraft for global observing system
SIOS Svalbard arctic Earth observing system
Project Context and Objectives:
The ENVRI project is supporting the ESFRI environmental research infrastructures by addressing common solutions for a range of shared problems, and by increasing the interoperability of the research infrastructures to serve interdisciplinary users. These ESFRI environmental infrastructures all entered their construction phase during the lifetime of the ENVRI project. This was an advantage since these ESFRI construction projects are the users of the ENVRI project, and direct interaction between these users and ENVRI supported the delivery of project results that are of actual relevance and could be implemented together.
The rationale for the ESFRI infrastructures to work together in the ENVRI project is the fact that the laboratory for research on our environment is the whole planet. The Earth’s systems are characterized by a multitude of interrelations on a wide range of temporal and spatial scales. Many natural processes are self-organising, giving rise to a high degree of variety and complexity. The systems are diverse: Earth deformation processes and plate tectonics; physical and chemical dynamics of the atmosphere; the marine systems covering two/thirds of our planet, and the living world ranging from the diversity of DNA and proteins up to ecological communities. Understanding these systems is not possible by simply extrapolating their behaviour from the single units of which they are composed. A different approach is needed, in which modelling and simulation techniques are used to detect patterns of correlation between the various types of observation, in a way that enables the underlying processes and collective organisations to be uncovered. Such analysis techniques assume the availability of sufficient instruments and sensors and the existence of large-scale databases containing well-validated observations and measurements of the various components of the environmental system. Advanced analytical and modelling software is needed, in addition to sufficient computational capacity to run demanding workflows on huge data sets. These requirements together define an integrated e-infrastructure environment integrating the observatories, sensors, data, software, models and computation facilities at an appropriately large scale.
The ESFRI environmental research infrastructures are contributing to a major part of the European research landscape in environmental science for the upcoming 20 to 30 years. Realising this potential will ensure that the scientific community derives full value from investments in these large-scale environmental projects, and will keep scientists at the forefront of global research as they tackle the scientific challenges ahead. For the ENVRI project the main users are the individual ESFRI environmental infrastructure projects (ESFRI-ENV projects). Other stakeholders are the European and global initiatives that may contribute to the interests of ENVRI, or where ENVRI can contribute with the developed technical solutions.

Following this context, the main project objectives are summarized below. For each objective the corresponding work package / task is indicated between brackets.
• Interact with users (the ESFRI infrastructure projects) and other stakeholders (such as GEOSS)
- Establishment of a Stakeholders Advisory Board of the ESFRI-ENV projects to organize cooperation, to interact with ENVRI about common and specific requirements, and the uptake of ENVRI results. (WP2.1)
- Organise Liaison Groups to interact with external interest groups (relevant inter/national infrastructures; the other ESFRI cluster projects, GEOSS, etc). (WP2.2)
• Provide guidelines for infrastructure interoperability
- Build upon the ICT state-of-the-art and common requirements of the ESFRI ENV infrastructures. (WP3.1)
- Harmonise and document guidelines towards a technical Reference Model (RM) and Standards basis for the ESFRI ENV infrastructures. (WP3.2 and WP3.3)
• Develop a few common prioritized tools
- Develop tools to discover heterogeneous environmental data stored at different places. In addition RDF and OWL frameworks to describe relations between (virtualized) e-Infrastructure components. (WP4.1 and WP4.2)
- Integration and harmonisation of resources from the cluster’s infrastructures. (WP4.3)
• Assist in bringing solutions into practice
- Interoperation support with GEOSS. (WP4).
- Dissemination of results within the ENVRI consortium. (WP5.1)
- Sustainability of the ENVRI results. (WP5.2)
The collaborative effort ensured that each infrastructure project could fully benefit from the integrated new ICT capabilities, and that these also can be deployed beyond the project duration by adopting the ENVRI solutions as part of their ESFRI implementation plans. Targeted deployment activities and plans for sustaining the project results assisted in securing this strategy. In addition, the result contributed to GEOSS - the Global Earth Observation System of Systems as the requirement to guarantee the interoperability of environmental infrastructures is in line with the holistic vision of GEO-GEOSS. All the nine Social Benefit Areas identified and addressed by GEO-GEOSS will take advantage of this approach.

Project Results:
Although the project results below are presented separately for each work package, the actual work did benefit from the interaction between the work packages and project partners in interaction with the ESFRI-ENV projects.
WP1. Coordination and Management
Securing a targeted focus with timely delivery of results was the main objective of this work package. This involved overseeing the progress of work, organizing various meetings and workshops, and taking care of the balance between efforts in the respective work packages and available budgets. The most important result of the ENVRI project is increased community building and cooperation of the collaborating environmental research infrastructures, also outside the ESFRI domain. While the individual ESFRI infrastructure projects started as separate initiatives, they are now regarding their cooperation as crucial for providing advanced support for frontier research on the Earth’ environmental systems.

This was also reflected in the final ENVRI project event that brought together developers and operators of the involved ESFRI-ENV infrastructures. This event was organized following the interest of the infrastructure communities to hear reports about the ENVRI results, and to discuss recommendations relevant for shaping the further cooperation of the ENVRI infrastructures. The following summary of recommendations adds value to the other WP results described below.
- Cooperation of environmental infrastructures is imperative. While interdisciplinary interpretation has methodological, technical and organizational challenges, the ENVRI community platform has avoid fragmentation.
- Shaping the environmental research infrastructure landscape benefits from common policy and strategic visions, on the common ENVRI reference model, and on accessible catalogues and services at the operational level as developed in ENVRI. Service-level-agreements are a mechanism to fix dependent relations.
- Supportive users are the best ambassadors of research infrastructures, since they are the ‘raison d’être’ of their existence. Mechanisms for stronger engagement of users are the organization of joint training, hackathons and summer schools for students and early career scientists. Social media can help to channel user opinions to the research infrastructure, and even to structure their views on what the scientific community expects as priority areas.
- A common policy on career roles and credits contributes to a capacity experienced and devoted staff, and may contribute to joint advertising of vacancies and opportunities for job rotation.

WP2: Internal and external liaisons

Task 2.1 Stakeholders Advisory Board of (ESFRI) Environmental Research Infrastructures
The target stakeholders of ENVRI are the users of the project results: the ESFRI Environmental Research Infrastructures. As clients they set their common priorities and have to review the usability of ENVRI results. This has been implemented by establishing the Stakeholders Advisory Board (SAB), bringing together the coordinators of the infrastructure projects, both those who are partner in the ENVRI projects and other ESFRI environmental projects. The SAB is a strategic high-level discussion and decision body of ENVRI acting on behalf of the future owners of the results of the ENVRI project and gives also ESFRI environmental research infrastructures a forum to discuss and plan future joint cooperation e.g. on international RI collaboration and other forthcoming joint issues.
The SAB proved to be an important body for discussing the common operations of environmental research infrastructures and the joint internal and external policies. As such, the SAB is addressing more common policy topics as only the ones as described in the Description of Work of ENVRI. As an example, the SAB organised a joint workshop with ESFRI Strategy Working group for Environmental Science (ESFRI ENV SWG) on “Landscape of the European Research Infrastructures for Environmental Science” in Paris, 22 May 2014. With this action the collaborating ESFRI infrastructures in ENVRI contributed strongly to the defining the RI landscape for the upcoming ESFRI roadmap update process. A significant result is the generally positive feedback of all SAB members towards the existence of such a platform. It plays a significant role in strategic discussions and joint planning of the ESFRI Environmental Research Infrastructure projects, and an important platform for information flow and exchange.
The SAB was also recognised as a node of environmental research infrastructures by other initiatives, projects and stakeholders. The members of the ENVRI SAB were often asked to represent environmental RI cluster in many occasions and events. As a result of ENVRI SAB discussions and project outcomes (Strategy Plan, Sustainability Plan, and Reference Model), a new proposal for the cooperation in the environmental cluster was initiated from the community with wide participation of the RIs and RI networks in the field of environment.

Task 2.2 Liaisons
The ENVRI project interacts with various other external stakeholders outside the (ESFRI) environmental RIs. Such stakeholders are for example national participants to the various ESFRIs, relevant Integrated Infrastructure Initiatives (I3 projects), (e-infrastructure) service providers, the Copernicus (GMES) programme, relevant international and global initiatives, such as GEO-GEOSS, global research programmes (WRCP, IGBP). Some of these are important for securing a sustainable collaboration; others are relevant for the delivery to wider user groups outside the specific scientific communities. This task aimed at coordinating the connections, ensuring proactivity in the communication with selected target groups, and ensuring the participation of ENVRI partners to key meetings.
To this end, meetings and activities were organized in the framework of, or with the following bodies and events.
• Open meeting in EGU 2014 to get the geoscience communities together and to present the concept of Research Infrastructures in geoscience. The meeting initiated the process of involving the scientific users in the collaboration process of ESFRI-ENV infrastructures, with the participation of interested scientists registered at the EGU conference.
• Collaboration between RDA and ENVRI: (a) to explore the application ENVRI reference model for RDA as developed in WP3, and (b) involve,emnt in working groups, e.g. about Data Foundation and Terminology (DFT).
• EUDAT is a key strategic partner of ENVRI. Co-development with EUDAT will assist in benefitting from a Collaborative Data Infrastructure.
• EUDAT started working and testing groups on two data services that are crucial for the ENVRI infrastructure partners, but could not be covered (financially) in the funded ENVRI project:
- Data infrastructure services for (near) real-time data, for example processing parallel data streams in real time analysis. EPOS colleagues are starting to bring the other interested communities together.
- Generic services for Data Annotation starting with a use case as proof of concept. Workshops for discussing the requirements and usage of PIDs (persistent identifiers) are planned for the near future.

WP3. Infrastructure reference model and system interoperability
To achieve greater levels of seamless interoperability between the heterogeneous resources of the different infrastructures a major effort is required to overcome various large obstacles. The purpose of this Work Package was to create a common Reference Model (RM) and common ontological frameworks for the description and characterisation of computational and storage infrastructures. This RM and the associated frameworks, started to be applied during construction of infrastructures and assist in bringing about greater levels of seamless interoperability between the heterogeneous resources of the different ESFRI ENV infrastructures.
The specific objectives of this work package were to (a) assess and analyse the ICT state-of-the-art and common requirements of the ESFRI ENV infrastructures, (b) to harmonise approaches towards a technical Reference Model (RM) and standards basis for the ICT solutions to be adopted by the ESFRI ENV infrastructures, and (c) the creation of ontological framework(s) of semantic relations between components of virtualised infrastructures that support interoperability of the different infrastructures.
The developments were in close cooperation with the ESFRI-ENV infrastructures, and with other ESFRI initiatives in the cluster project DASISH (Social Sciences and Humanities). The importance of the ENVRI RM and similar reference model approaches has been recognised not only by the community of ESFRI environmental research infrastructures, where there is willingness to work further but also by the sister cluster projects: BioMedBridges, DASISH and CRISP. Future work has been ranked as third in the top 5 priorities and areas of common interest, thus promoting reference models as a topic to be taken up and further developed by other ESFRI cluster projects in the domains of physical sciences, life sciences and arts, humanities and social sciences. The application of the RM is beneficial for all infrastructure developments in order to promote a strong interconnected RI landscape in Europe.
For the purpose of providing training material of the ENVRI Reference Model to potential users two training videos were produced that are available through YouTube. The first one, entitled ‘ENVRI Reference Model, is introducing the model to any person interested, no matter if this is a domain expert or an IT expert. The second video is focused on presenting the main processes of the ENVRI RM by comparing the three different viewpoints.
The ENVRI Reference Model team has been actively supporting RDA activities. The ENVRI Reference Model has been selected by RDA-Europe as a use case in their community data analysis and included in the report to the RDA Europe analysis programme. It provided a discussion platform between members of the ESFRI project initiatives and colleagues active in RDA.
The development of an ontological framework of semantic relations between components of virtualised infrastructures is driven by various research activities both inside and outside the intended environmental domain. It faces several challenges as with respect to how to model the as-yet-unknown facets of future ESFRI projects and keep the ENVRI reference model open and extensible. The data-driven e-Science experiments that the ESFRI infrastructures intend to support is requiring customized processing services for special research purposes. The ENVRI partners have made arrangements and new proposals to continue RM support after the end of the project.

WP4. Technical contribution to ESFRI-ENV projects and GEO-GEOSS
This WP further developed software tools already available in the ESFRI environmental infrastructure community or in the supporting ICT infrastructure projects to deliver the following:
• Software tools enabling the environmental ESFRI communities to easily discover data which are heterogeneous (in format, content, and metadata description) and stored at different places.
• Software tools enabling the environmental ESFRI communities (a) to integrate and harmonize geospatial data resources from existing infrastructures and repositories, (b) to execute data processing tasks on the aggregated data and (c) to publish the aggregated data according to unifying views.
• Interoperations with GEO-GEOSS.

Staff of project partners as involved in WP4 also contributed to WP5 with respect to securing uptake of the above mentioned tools by the individual ESFRI-ENV infrastructures.

Task 4.1 Data discovery and access in distributed data archives
After developing the software tools, WP4 has worked in the second project period to mainly to assist the ESFRI-ENV projects in enabling scientists to discover and access environmental data across disciplinary domains. Since the ESFRI-ENV started their construction work in the same period, the interaction was guiding implementation priorities, but was also since not always the related datasets were yet (fully) available as required for data discovery and data processing.
A final portal for data discovery and access was finalised based on GENESI-DEC approach and allows to:
• discover and access heterogeneous data coming from different Research Infrastructures;
• improve the metadata representation of the data of the ESFRI Environmental Research Infrastructure projects currently registered in the catalogues;
• collect feedbacks from users.

All the Catalogue interfaces are following the OGC OpenSearch standards, documented in D4.8. This will guarantee the sustainability of the approach beyond the end of the project. The final version of the portal is available at The portal have been completely re-designed with a new look and feel harmonising the user experience.
The Harvester tool as implemented in GENESI-DEC, was finalised with the capability to populate both discovery and ENVRI vocabulary knowledge bases. The latest one to represents correctly the data structure and values of heterogeneous elements to be harmonised and integrated by means of google refine tool.

Another activity was the integration with the data preservation tools of the SCIDIP-ES project. This data preservation oriented project was enriched with a data discovery and access tool, creating a bridge between the two projects. A bridge Ontology was created to link ID items of ENVRI with ID items of SCIDIP-ES. A new pop-up item to drive the preservation retrieving information was added in the ENVRI portal. It will provide to a generic user, after a discovery of data, the option to preserve the data (documents, software, processor) with a simple button click.

Task 4.2 Data integration, harmonization and publication facilities
The task addressed issues relarted to (i) dealing with geospatial data, (ii) designed to build on existing geospatial technologies (e.g. GeoServer, GeoNetwork) and standards (OGC W*S), and (iii) designed to be part of the gCube technology (a comprehensive software system supporting the creation and management of an Hybrid Data Infrastructure). In summary the main results are the following.
• A software library was released named “GIS Interface to simplify the interaction with a cluster of GeoNetwork and GeoServer instances”. It offers methods for storing and retrieving data and metadata from the instances of such technologies by abstracting over data distribution and replication details.
• For Geospatial Data Processing, a software library was released enabling Signal Processing. This software library supports a number of facilities including signal reconstruction, spectrogram calculation and display, multi-signal analysis by means of summed spectrogram, delta and double delta features, center frequency calculation, cepstral coefficients calculation, spectrum frequency band cut, filterbanks, and mel-filterbanks.
• These facilities are together part of a richer software library that is named Ecological Engine.
• In addition a software library was released enabling Data mining on geospatial data.
• On top of this, a modelling and processing layer allows algorithms to access and use such representations. Processing has been applied by means of the development of several SM algorithms. Extraction algorithms allow researchers to define spatial, temporal and other selections. The modelling layer allows analysts to develop an algorithm to calculate the similarity between maps at fine as well as global granularity.
• For Geospatial Data Publishing and Visualisation, a software system GIS Publisher Service was released. This is a web service that is conceived to enable the publication of geospatial data by relying on an open set of back-end technologies for the actual storage and retrieval of the data.
• Finally, this ENVRI task contributed to the development of Geo Explorer and GIS Viewer, two components dedicated to support the browsing and visualisation of geospatial data. In particular, the Geo Explorer is a web application that allows users to navigate, organize, search and discovery layers from a GeoNetwork instance

Task 4.3 Resources operation and GEOSS contribution
With regard to the registration of relevant components in GEOSS, ENVRI took advantage of the recent developments in GEOSS itself. The introduction of the GEO Data Access Broker (DAB) in the GEOSS Common Infrastructure and the ability of the DAB to link the GEO Web Portal and GENESI-like resources (as ENVRI OpenSearch catalogues), is enabling GEOSS users to discover and access data available in the federation of ESFRI infrastructures established by ENVRI. The presence of ESA in the GEOWOW EC-funded project, aimed at enhancing the GEOSS infrastructure, will ensure a continuous monitoring of GEOSS requirements and evolution.

WP5. Dissemination and Sustainability
The main objectives of the WP5 were:
• Dissemination and training to the ESFRI-ENV communities as main users of the ENVRI results.
• Sustainability of the ENVRI results and further developments within the ESFRI-ENV communities.
Task 5.1 Dissemination and training

Dissemination was directed at internal and external audiences. For the internal activities the target groups were the partnering ESFRI research infrastructures and the other (non-ESFRI_ technical partners. For external scientific communities, other organisations and initiatives as well as policy bodies, the dissemination activities were focused on involvement in meetings, workshops and conferences. All partners were regularly consulted by WP5 partners to hear their dissemination needs. Communication vehicles included websites, articles, workshops, promotion materials, ENVRI newsletters, publications, participation in international conferences, organisation of conferences and events. Strategically important to ENVRI was to engage further with the scientific communities and promote the use of ENVRI’s strategies and tools among RIs worldwide. The driving motto was to move from an ENVRI project to the ENVRI community.
To facilitate collaborative work among the partners, a reserved area within the project website was set up with the aim to provide a safe environment to share and store draft documents and images, templates for dissemination tools, agendas of past and future teleconferences (together with past minutes and agendas), as well as collaborative tools such as wikis, instant messengers, events calendar, pictures section etc. The “dissemination” page contains all the dissemination materials produced by partners during past dissemination events (slides presentations, lay-press articles etc.) and was further re-used to create new dissemination materials. The reserved area was also used as a repository for training activities, although online training materials and tutorials were made publicly available from the main public website and via YouTube).
Training activities by the ENVRI project promoted common approaches for the use of the developed tools and services in the construction of individual ESFRI-ENV infrastructures. This was part of the outreach strategy aiming at effectively disseminating how these tools and services can support the infrastructure users. This also contributed to the analysis of the uptake by end-users, and their feedback helped to take comments into consideration. The training activities were oriented for several audiences, primarily for manager’s scientists operating within the framework of Environmental RIs and more specifically environmental ESFRI projects addressing several levels of users: managers, developers and scientific users. Training was nevertheless provided as to ensure engagement of the reference model and of the tools and services developed in respectively WP3 and WP4. The training activities included in situ training and online training. Some training activities were targeted at the managers and leaders taking decisions but not necessarily technical experts, while other training activities addressed directly the technical staff of the research infrastructures.
As also stated above in the report on WP3, two training video’s were made about the ENVRI Reference Model. The first 'ENVRI Reference Model, an overview' is introducing the model to any person interested, no matter, if this is a domain expert or an IT expert. The second video is more specific and focused at presenting the main processes of the ENVRI RM by comparing the three different viewpoints.
Another set of training activities was focused on getting infrastructure constructors and operators familiar with the developed WP4 tools for data discovery and data processing. The training followed an approach in two phases: initially, WP5 organized several knowledge transfer sessions, with the objective of sharing information among the partners of the Consortium about the work and solutions carried out by each of them. In this context the contribution with the WP4 tools were demonstrated. After these “awareness” sessions, more ESFRI-ENV specific knowledge transfer sessions were organized. These sessions had a much more restricted audience with each separate ESFRI-ENV project, mainly with the technical staff to instruct them alternative ways to link to or incorporate the technical tools in their infrastructure architecture and services.
As a special international training event, ENVRI proposed the NSF-sponsored “Partnerships for International Research and Education” (PIRE, Amsterdam, June 2014) to exploit Earth Observation data in a multidisciplinary environment using the ENVRI services and tools. The PIRE workshop, also serving as a testbed, brought together graduate students and early career researchers in data science from countries all over the world. Interestingly, some students could continue with their NSF grant to work for a few months together with ENVRI partners.
Task 5.2 Sustainability Plan

The ENVRI project developed various initiatives and services, and it was important to secure the sustained continuity of these results after the funded project’s lifetime. A sustainability plan had to address the future operation, harmonization, interoperability, services and finance of the results. In the preparation of this plan all WPs and projects partners were engaged, as well other communities, as for example in an EGI User Forum conference. The most viable alternatives for keeping the ENVRI project outputs operational beyond the project lifetime were analysed, leading up to a number of concrete recommendations for the way forward.
• Collaboration of the ENV-ESFRI infrastructures in the Environmental cluster should be extended in long-term beyond the current ENVRI project in order to continue policy level discussion between the partners and to form a joint interface towards major European and international initiatives.
• The ENVRI project is an excellent basis for the cooperation of environmental research infrastructures in support of advanced interdisciplinary research addressing the grand challenges of our changing environment. Next steps are required to benefit from the added value as developed in ENVRI.
• To facilitate this and to allow further development of technical results and reference model, as well as their transfer to production use, an EC funded follow-up project to ENVRI from 2014 onwards is needed.
• The follow-up project to ENVRI should include tasks to transfer project results to a stakeholder, with alternative options as (a) one of the environmental research infrastructures, or (b) a service provider selected by the cooperating research infrastructures.

The continued Environmental cluster activity is also extremely important to sustain the fruitful policy level coordination that has been implemented through the ENVRI Stakeholder Advisory Board. One of the key outcomes of this strategic cooperation was the development of the Environmental Research Infrastructure Strategy (ERIS) which describes the vision of the infrastructures to support the Earth System sciences. This already served as a crucial guiding document for the continued strategic collaboration. Finally, each ENV-ESFRI infrastructure was invited to consider three alternatives to secure the deployment of the developed services and supporting software of the ENVRI project.
1. ‘As a service’ model: The research infrastructure acquires its preferred functionality from an external service provider
2. Open source model: The research infrastructure takes up the technology itself and deploys it within its operations
3. Collaborative model: The research infrastructure and ICT providers further develop and setup services in a collaborative effort
The approach for each RI will be a combination of two or three models, with a strong role of the third alternative. The sustainability plan and the underlying strategy plan were endorsed by the collaborating ENV-ESFRI infrastructures. The value of the plans proved to be essential for the development and start of a number of new initiatives following the funded ENVRI project.

Potential Impact:
Environmental science is placing an increasing emphasis on the understanding of the Earth as a single, highly complex, coupled system. It is well accepted, for example, that the feedbacks involving oceanic and atmospheric processes can have major consequences for the long-term development of the climate system, which in turn affects biodiversity and can control the development of the cryosphere and lithosphere. Frontier researchers must be empowered to address scientific questions that until recently could not, or not sufficiently be addressed. The overarching impact of ENVRI is that the collaborating environmental infrastructures worked together for effective solutions to enhance their operational performance and put the technical framework in place to promote future infrastructure interoperability serving interdisciplinary research.
The most important achieved impacts with a further potential significance are the following ones.
• The ENVRI project evolved to a community of collaborating environmental research infrastructures and active interdisciplinary scientists. ENVRI was much more than a time limited project. The infrastructures together agreed on a common strategy for the future and this paved the way for further cooperative plans and proposals. In addition, the view of ENVRI on interdisciplinary opportunities also inspired the other ESFRI infrastructure cluster projects to agree on common priorities and these were presented in various forums such as at conferences of EFI, EUDAT, CoPoRi, and RDA.
• Improved access and service for users is expected from the developed ENVRI tools, and as such strengthening the European Research Area and international cooperation. Despite the diversity of environmental science, many of the ENV-ESFRI projects share the same significant challenges, and the ENVRI project delivered the common tools to overcome barriers for access when researchers want to benefit from data and capabilities offered by different infrastructures. The research infrastructures adopting these shared components are be uniquely well-placed to inter-operate with the data from other environmental facilities and potentially also with those in quite different fields, making it much easier to carry out inter-disciplinary studies and to apply the “whole system” approach which is an emerging paradigm in the geosciences.
• The view of the ENVRI project was not to build an entirely new e-infrastructure system from first principles. New capabilities in software tools were built from existing portfolios of tools, services and data products already available within the infrastructure communities, as well as those offered and innovated by ICT specialist partners in ENVRI. Defining the common requirements, and developing new common capabilities by incorporating existing capabilities, is not only cost-efficient, but is also securing a sustainable system for future use.
The ENVRI developments were and still are relevant to a number of other national and international e-infrastructure initiatives. The related US communities are in the framework of the sister project COOPEUS actively discussing its exploitation of “cyber-infrastructure” and initiatives have been put in place for further international cooperation.

Exploitation of results
The key users of the ENVRI project are the cooperating ENV-ESFRI infrastructure projects who together designed their common plans. As such, these infrastructures are exploiting the ENVRI results. The work in the ENVRI project paved the way for a strategy that already started and will continue in the upcoming years. The exploitation of results was promoted, and will continue so, by the following activities.
• Cooperation of the infrastructure leadership and managers in the ENVRI Stakeholders Advisory Board (SAB).
• Engaging other non-ESFRI facilities in the SAB and the uptake of ENVRI software tools.
• Support by the ENVRI technical partners for the infrastructures with implementing the software tools and with providing helpdesk support.
• Publicity material addressed to a range of stakeholders, from funding agencies through facility e-infrastructure staff and practicing scientists to members of the public and educational establishments.
• The foreground produced by this project is turned into a publicly available product, and this fact is recognised by all of the project partners.

List of Websites: