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eLTER Preparatory Phase Project

Project description

Laying the basis for an up-and-running European infrastructure for ecosystems research

The European Long-Term Ecosystem Research (LTER) is an essential component of the worldwide efforts to better understand ecosystems. A major constituent of LTER is its research infrastructure – eLTER RI – which is expected to operate in 2027. The EU-funded eLTER PPP project is opening an important chapter in the development of a permanent infrastructure for long-term ecosystem, critical zone and socio-ecological research. The preparatory phase project will enable the significant improvement of LTER’s research infrastructure in areas such as organisation, business model and legal basis. This implies reconciling the interests of currently over 160 institutions from 19 countries that support the scientific concept as infrastructure users. The eLTER PPP project will pave the way for a new kind of transdisciplinary research on ecosystems.


eLTER RI is a pan-European Research Infrastructure planned to be operational in 2027. It has been built on the basis of existing national investments over several decades in the context of dedicated networks and ecosystem, critical zone and socio-ecological research projects. 162 Research Performing Organisations support the eLTER RI Science Case through a signed MoU, and 19 countries have formally provided political support to establishment of eLTER RI. The eLTER RI intends to create scientifically sound information required in response to grand societal challenges, while working as a distributed RI in the most cost-efficient way. It will continuously enhance its services and in-situ facilities to meet the needs of stakeholders as to emerging research challenges. Thereby, it will bring Europe to a globally leading role in ecosystem sciences. eLTER PPP will establish the vision and mission, strategic collaboration schemes and impact analyis of the RI; plan, consolidate with shareholders and start to implement the governance structures, coordinate a smooth transition from preparation into operations by establishing a legal entity, and by clearly identifying risks and risk reduction measures; prepare the cost benefit analysis, full Cost Book of the RI, and the financial plans for the mid-term and long-term perspective, and consolidate them with the shareholders; conclude the requirements of the RI to be met by the Central Services, identify the host for the Head Office, and the scope and decision making processes for hosting other central service components; finalise the technical specifications of eLTER RI concerning National Research Infrastructure design, eLTER Standard Observations and site categories, and establish a site labelling process; and develop and set up communication, dissemination and marketing structures or seamless continuation in eLTER RI, and engaging the eLTER scientific user community and other user groups beyond the project life time.

Call for proposal


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Net EU contribution
€ 958 415,00
04318 Leipzig

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Sachsen Leipzig Leipzig
Activity type
Research Organisations
Total cost
€ 958 415,00

Participants (29)