Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


ACTRIS PPP Report Summary

Project ID: 739530
Funded under: H2020-EU.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ACTRIS PPP (ACTRIS PPP - Aerosols, Clouds and Trace gases Preparatory Phase Project)

Reporting period: 2017-01-01 to 2018-06-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The ability to predict the future behaviour of the atmosphere over multiple time scales, from hours to decades, benefits society in many sectors including energy, heath, security, economy and policy. ACTRIS (Aerosols, Clouds and Trace Gases Research Infrastructure) supports research and knowledge enrichment in areas ranging from short-term hazardous weather, heat-waves, air quality, and health issues, to long-term evaluation of climate change and policy effectiveness in mitigation. All atmospheric predictions use complex models that are underpinned by observations. High quality observations are necessary to constrain the processes that these predictive models are attempting to describe; since without these, forecasting the interaction and feedback between the multitude of processes in the atmosphere becomes highly unreliable at longer timescales. Without a clear understanding of the mechanisms determining climate change or pollution episodes, prediction of these atmospheric processes will not be improved.

ACTRIS is the pan-European RI that consolidates activities amongst European partners for observations of aerosols, clouds, and trace gases and for understanding of the related atmospheric processes, to provide RI services to wide user groups. ACTRIS is composed of 9 connected elements: distributed National Facilities (observation platforms and exploratory platforms) both in Europe and globally, and 8 Central Facilities (Head Office, Data Centre and 6 Topical Centres). ACTRIS provides access to its facilities, open-access data, research support, instrument calibration and development, and training to various user groups. By providing data and access ACTRIS enhances science, but it also generates and disseminates knowledge, boosts technological development, and creates human capital and jobs for the benefit of the society. ACTRIS will positively impact on e.g. human health, climate resilience, and protection from environmental hazards and reduction of air pollution.

ACTRIS Preparatory Phase Project (PPP) has a significant role in enabling the transition from a project- based network of research facilities to a centrally coordinated integrated pan-European RI. ACTRIS PPP brings together a wide community of research performing organizations, research funding organizations and ministries needed to take the decisions and actions to move forward in the implementation of the ACTRIS. The main objectives of ACTRIS PPP are to develop the organizational, operational and strategic frameworks of the RI. The work includes legal, governance, financial, technical, strategic, and administrative aspects carried out in 9 work packages. The main outcomes of ACTRIS PPP are signature-ready documents for establishment of a legal entity with well-defined operations and a sound business plan. After that the implementation and provision of ACTRIS services can start. ACTRIS has been selected to the ESFRI roadmap in 2016 as mature enough to be fully implemented by 2025.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

ACTRIS PPP is on schedule and following the work plan. All work packages are proceeding, and have produced outcomes expected for reporting period 1. In addition to ACTRIS PPP beneficiaries and their linked third parties, ACTRIS PPP has included the wider scientific community in the discussions and preparation to ensure a wide participation, understanding, and approval of the PPPP work within the ACTRIS community (ca. 100 RPOs have been involved in the ACTRIS PPP activities during the RP1). Also continuous communication between the project and stakeholders (including ministries and funding agencies from 23 countries) have taken place in the participating countries, both at national and international level.

By the end of reporting period 1 the main results obtained are:
- Interim ACTRIS Council (IAC) and Scientific and Implementation Advisory Board (SIAB) have been established. IAC as the former decision body is needed for making country-level decisions in the preparation and implementation of ACTRIS as a research infrastructure. The latter body (SIAB) is an advisory body advising both the ACTRIS PPP and IAC in scientific and technical matters but also on implementation.
- Legal model (ERIC) for ACTRIS has been approved.
- The first two versions of ACTRIS cost book have been produced. These are crucial for defining the financial model and eventually the financial plan for ACTRIS.
- ACTRIS Central Facility concepts are approved and the selection of Central Facility hosts is ongoing.
- ACTRIS National Facility requirements have been approved.
- ACTRIS data and access policies have been drafted. The final decision will be made by IAC during reporting period 2.
- The role of ACTRIS in the environmental research infrastructure landscape and the level of contractual agreement with other entities have been identified.
- The direct socio-economic impact of ACTRIS has been analysed.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

ACTRIS PPP is pulling together the resources of the not only communities involved in ACTRIS-2, but also the NDACC community and EUROCHAMP-community (through close co-operation). The combined field of expertise of this combined community covers the atmospheric domain more comprehensively than what has been done ever before, including both observational and process-based experimental approaches. ACTRIS has entered the ESFRI roadmap in 2016, started the ACTRIS PPP in 2017, and aims to have ERIC in operation in 2020/21. The estimated implementation phase (2020-2024) and target year for starting operations is 2025. The progress of ACTRIS, expertise in and maturity of the RI, and engagement of the countries are making ACTRIS exemplary among RIs for solid progress and establishment of ESFRI research infrastructure.

The expected main result of ACTRIS PPP is the establishment of ACTRIS as a research infrastructure. This is likely to proceed significantly by the end of ACTRIS PPP, which is demonstrated by the IAC decision to choose ERIC as the legal model of ACTRIS, and to aim to submit ERIC step 1 application in early 2019. This decision means that besides the legal documents, also the operational and financial frameworks of ACTRIS have to be defined at that stage. ACTRIS PPP coordination and WP-leaders are confident that this ambitious schedule can be met.

ACTRIS PPP has made clear progress in all three of its main impact categories identified in the DoA (section 2.1). The legal form ERIC and schedule for submission of ERIC step 1 have been decided, and the documents deeded for the submission have been produced in RP1 or are being produced in early phases of RP2. The structure, boundaries and types of services offered by ACTRIS as RI have been identified and the establishment of an operational research infrastructure is proceeding well. The services that ACTRIS offers currently and those it will offer in the future increase the innovation capacity, effectiveness, performance and attractiveness of European Research Area.

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