Skip to main content
European Commission logo print header

Innovation and consolidation for large scale digitisation of natural heritage

Project description

Improved access to digitised scientific data for researchers

Digitalisation offers numerous significant benefits to sectors and industries worldwide by facilitating easier access to resources and enabling enhanced automation. In the realm of modern science, accessing multiple and diverse data sources is crucial, and the abundance of such data is immense. However, due to limited digital advancements in this field, just a small portion of the data has been digitised. Addressing this issue, the EU-funded ICEDIG project aims to support the ESFRI initiative in establishing a unified digital database for European modern science. This project will contribute to the development of DiSSCo, which will greatly simplify access to scientific data for researchers and users across Europe.


Modern science requires digital access to data. European collections account for 55% of the natural sciences collections globally, holding more than 1 billion objects, which represent 80% of the world’s bio- and geo-diversity. Only around 10% of these have been digitally catalogued and 1-2% imaged, rendering their information underused. The sheer scale and complexity of digitising and providing access to this information requires technological, socio-cultural, and organisational capacity enhancements across the continent. This challenge is being tackled by the new ESFRI initiative Distributed System of Scientific Collections (DiSSCo). DiSSCo will unify access to collection data in a harmonised and integrated manner across Europe. It will enable critical new insights from integrated digital data to address some of the world's greatest challenges, such as biodiversity loss and impacts of climate change. However, new research and technological innovation will be required to solve the challenges of efficiently digitising and seamlessly accessing the collections. Building on previous project outputs, community and industrial expertise, the ICEDIG project will design all the technical, financial, policy and governance aspects for developing and operating DiSSCo. A consolidation stream will develop a shared governance model to support all aspects of service unification such as implementation of the open access principles, incentive schemes, planning and prioritisation, capacity development, etc. A technology stream will focus on the innovations that will be required to digitise a significant part of major collections in a foreseeable time, at acceptable cost, and to manage petabyte-size data. The work will be carried out in wide consultation with the larger community. The outputs will be prototypes, blueprints, novel workflows, new industry partnerships, and citizen involvement models, paving the way for the successful construction of the DiSSCo research infrastructure.

Call for proposal


See other projects for this call

Sub call



Net EU contribution
€ 531 756,25
Yliopistonkatu 3
00014 Helsingin yliopisto

See on map

Manner-Suomi Helsinki-Uusimaa Helsinki-Uusimaa
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 0,00

Participants (11)