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Environmental Research Infrastructures Providing Shared Solutions for Science and Society

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - ENVRI PLUS (Environmental Research Infrastructures Providing Shared Solutions for Science and Society)

Reporting period: 2018-01-01 to 2019-07-31

ENVRI PLUS united a large number of ESFRI research infrastructures, projects and initiatives, with widely varying missions, disciplinary customs and operational maturity. Development of the joint solutions for such a broad community is not necessarily easy. ENVRI PLUS has nevertheless managed to collaboratively develop a wide variety of technical, e-science and other tools to be used throughout the entire cluster. Compared to individual developments by each RI this has been time and resource efficient, we used hard-to-find expertise in an optimum way, and created interoperable services. The project clearly demonstrated the added-value of enhanced collaboration and demonstrated the need for further collaboration and coordination, especially on aspects such as interoperability of services, access provision to the facilities, possibilities of co-location, RI-to-RI services and many other features.
The project thus concludes that coordination mechanisms towards a further development of the RI landscape would be extremely beneficial.
The full Final ENVRI PLUS summary is available on the website: http://tinyurl.com/y2flmdnl
During the ENVRI PLUS, the partners joined their forces for improving the technical developments. An evaluation of drone observation systems, recommendations for sensor embedded processing, joint development of instrument reliability in extreme conditions, testing facility for on-site energy production, these developments increased the reliability and efficiency of the European RI observational facilities. The ENVRI RIs also collaborated on observational inter-comparison experiments, explored methods for analysing heterogenous time series, traceability of environmental observations to the metrological standards. ENVRI PLUS standardisation also aimed at increasing the use of the ENVRI RI data in COPERNICUS programme and to provide ground validation for the satellite products. ENVRI PLUS developed a robust Open Source NRT hardware prototype, capable to support standardised data collection and transmission. The project also supported collaboration with industry by organising the 1st EU Joint Innovation Partnering Forum and the analysis of emerging environmental observations technologies.The joint technical developments culminated in 2019 by an organisation of the test cruise in the Black Sea, which proved the feasibility of joint work on the RI observational capabilities.

The ENVRI RIs have worked extensively on their data systems for interoperability and preparation for the EOSC. This started with an evaluation of the current data management practices using the ENVRI Reference Model and the ontology for ENVRI (OIL-E). ENVRI PLUS assessed the possibilities of common data architectures and data processing mechanisms of the RIs were improved and demonstrated in a series of use cases and Virtual Research Environments. Project also evaluated the architecture and best practices for data curation. Metadata harmonisation improved the interoperability of the RIs, with the production of Flagship Data Product Catalogue and standardising the documentation of data provenance. ENVRI PLUS created guidelines for data citation and publishing, demonstrated by use cases. Many results were implemented in the operational systems of the participating RIs, and are shared in the ENVRI communities, part of the development of EOSC and further disseminated globally. A book summarising the findings and solutions is being published.

ENVRI PLUS created recommendations for ENVRIs when defining access policies, elaborated as a Master plan to facilitate access, and investigated the sustainability of different access and funding mechanisms. It also created a pilot programme for multidisciplinary access, which proved to be successful in forming new and innovative ways to use the facilities, and led to physical access recommendations for interdisciplinary research.

A landscape of the ENVRI RIs relating to Grand challenges and a prototype distributed site catalogue were created. The project surveyed the awareness of ethical aspects, created Ethical Label Template and Ethical Guidelines for RIs as well as a white paper on communication and decision making under uncertainty for environmental hazards and natural disasters. The Citizen Science work in ENVRI PLUS included several practical applications and real work CS tools.

The ENVRI PLUS created a wide array of training materials available on ENVRI e-learning platform. Project also targeted secondary schools with a development of the ENVRI PLUS Serious Game. The project funded an RI exchange of personnel programme, which allowed the RI personnel to visit other RIs for extended periods.

The strategic collaboration of ENVRI was done within the Board of Environmental Research Infrastructures (BEERi), creating consensus papers and consultations on key initiatives from EC offices and other agencies. The BEERi also created ENVRI strategic plan for future sustainability and a white paper on further integration of RIs.

The project invested in strategic and comprehensive approach towards dissemination and communication
The ENVRI RIs are major investments from many European Union members states and associated countries. Such investments are expected to yield a long-term return in the form of socio-economic impacts. ENVRI PLUS – a medium magnitude project - is a small additional coordination layer on top of these multi-billion investments, but has been very successful on leveraging the existing facilities towards societal, economic and scientific impacts.

ENVRIs have a specific socio-economic impact since, besides the scientific interest in environment, the people have a large stake in a sound understanding of it to support their own lives. Improved insights into the functioning of the Earth system should lead to improved policies and behaviour, which itself is a socio-economic impact. However, such impacts will only be visible in the future, and it will be hard to pinpoint them to a specific project. ENVRI PLUS demonstrates its impact with creating potential for new services, which will have significant benefits for the society. For example, work towards making the data products from environmental RIs multidisciplinary, increases the quality of environmental information and encourages the innovative use of it. ENVRI PLUS has also increased the economic efficiency of the RIs themselves by joint technical and data developments that created far more integrated services. Staff training and exchange improved operational services and their organisation. Integrated access mechanisms improve the usability of the RI services for the users. The first steps towards integrated up and downstream collaboration with the private sector was started providing for the SMEs a reasonable market base for their operations. The common basis for new data services is directly impacting the EOSC service development, and increases the usability for the COPERNICUS service provision.
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