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Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: ERA-NET-Cofund | Phase: SC5-15-2015 | Award Amount: 52.36M | Year: 2016

In the last decade a significant number of projects and programmes in different domains of environmental monitoring and Earth observation have generated a substantial amount of data and knowledge on different aspects related to environmental quality and sustainability. Big data generated by in-situ or satellite platforms are being collected and archived with a plethora of systems and instruments making difficult the sharing of data and knowledge to stakeholders and policy makers for supporting key economic and societal sectors. The overarching goal of ERA-PLANET is to strengthen the European Research Area in the domain of Earth Observation in coherence with the European participation to Group on Earth Observation (GEO) and the Copernicus. The expected impact is to strengthen the European leadership within the forthcoming GEO 2015-2025 Work Plan. ERA-PLANET will reinforce the interface with user communities, whose needs the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) intends to address. It will provide more accurate, comprehensive and authoritative information to policy and decision-makers in key societal benefit areas, such as Smart cities and Resilient societies; Resource efficiency and Environmental management; Global changes and Environmental treaties; Polar areas and Natural resources. ERA-PLANET will provide advanced decision support tools and technologies aimed to better monitor our global environment and share the information and knowledge in different domain of Earth Observation.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ENV.2013.6.2-8 | Award Amount: 12.42M | Year: 2013

The MIDAS project addresses fundamental environmental issues relating to the exploitation of deep-sea mineral and energy resources; specifically polymetallic sulphides, manganese nodules, cobalt-rich ferromanganese crusts, methane hydrates and the potential mining of rare earth elements. These new industries will have significant impacts on deep-sea ecosystems, in some cases extending over hundreds of thousands of square kilometres. Scientific knowledge is needed urgently to develop guidelines for industry ensuring wealth creation and Best Environmental Practice. MIDAS will assess the nature and scales of the potential impacts including 1) physical destruction of the seabed by mining, the creation of mine tailings and the potential for catastrophic slope failures from methane hydrate exploitation, 2) the potential effects of particle-laden plumes in the water column, and 3) the possible toxic chemicals that might be released by the mining process. Knowledge of the impacts will be used to address the key biological unknowns, such as connectivity between populations, impacts of the loss of biological diversity on ecosystem functioning, and how quickly the ecosystems will recover. The information derived will be used to guide recommendations for best practice, iterating with MIDAS industry partners and the wider stakeholder community to ensure that solutions are practical and cost-effective. We will engage with European and international regulatory organisations to take these recommendations forward into legislation in a timely fashion. A major element of MIDAS will be to develop methods and technologies for 1) preparing baseline assessments of biodiversity, and 2) monitoring activities remotely in the deep sea during and after exploitation (including ecosystem recovery). The MIDAS partnership represents a unique combination of scientists, industry, social scientists, legal experts, NGOs and SMEs.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: INFRAIA-1-2014-2015 | Award Amount: 5.00M | Year: 2015

A collective effort is needed to create the environmental research infrastructure for answering pressing questions in a world of rapid social, economic and environmental change. The overall aim of the eLTER project is to advance the European network of Long-Term Ecosystem Research sites and socio-ecological research platforms to provide highest quality services for multiple use of a distributed research infrastructure. eLTERs major objectives and methods are to: (1) identify user needs for the research infrastructure in relation to major societal challenges through consultations with scientific, policy and business stakeholders and horizon scanning; (2) streamline the design of a cost-efficient pan-European network, able to address multiple ecosystem research issues, in collaboration with related global and European research infrastructures, e.g. LifeWatch; (3) develop the organisational framework for data integration and enable virtual access to the LTER data by enabling data publishing through distributed Data Nodes and by providing access to data on key research challenges through a Data Integration Platform; (4) foster the societal relevance, usability and multiple use of information, data and services through new partnerships with the providers of remotely sensed data, analytical services and scenario testing models, and via the adoption of new measurement technologies. The LTER-Europe network and the European Critical Zone community will collaborate to achieve these goals. 162 sites in 22 countries will provide data on long-term trends in environmental change, some reaching back 100 years. Test cases using these data will address a range of environmental and social issues to push innovation in network level services and steer conceptual developments. The envisaged LTER Infrastructure will enable European-scale investigation of major ecosystems and socio-ecological systems, and support knowledge-based decision making at multiple levels.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: COMPET-08-2014 | Award Amount: 2.00M | Year: 2015

Sample return missions (SRMs) are a critical next step in our exploration of the Solar System and are identified as strategic missions by international space agencies. Europe has a very strong legacy in the curation and research of precious extraterrestrial materials. To maintain European leadership and ensure high-level involvement in future SRMs, a dedicated European Sample Curation Facility (ESCF) to receive and curate returned samples from the Moon, asteroids and Mars, is of critical importance. Euro-CARES will focus on 5 key themes for developing a ESCF: o Planetary Protection- protocols and methods for future SRMs o Instrumentation and Analytical Methods- in the fields of cosmo/geochemistry and biosciences o Facilities and Infrastructures- to curate sensitive extraterrestrial or biological materials o Analogue Materials- that are most appropriate and can be used in end to end SRM planning o Portable Receiving Technologies- used to move samples whilst retaining scientific integrity and bio-containment (for Mars samples) Using the 5 key themes Euro-CARES will: 1) Evaluate and critically assess the state of the art within Europe and internationally to identify critical requirements for the ESCF 2) Determine and verify European readiness levels to identify where investment is required and opportunities for European leadership in scientific and engineering fields related to curating extraterrestrial samples 3) Engage with scientific, industrial, governmental and public stakeholders through community workshops, conferences, publications and educational opportunities 4) Deliver recommendations and roadmaps defining the steps necessary to deliver a ESCF to ensure high-level involvement in future ESA and international SRMs Euro-CARES comprises a team of scientists and engineers from across Europe with internationally recognised expertise in astrobiology, biosciences, cosmo/geochemistry, extraterrestrial sample curation, planetary protection and space exploration.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-CSA-Infra | Phase: INFRA-2012-1.1.16. | Award Amount: 10.15M | Year: 2013

SYNTHESYS3 will create an accessible, integrated European resource for researchers in the natural sciences in Europe and globally. Building on the success of the previous SYNTHESYS IA, the NA will focus on improving collections management of new physical and virtual collections. By focusing the JRA on extracting and enhancing data from digitised collections, SYNTHESYS3 will increase the accessibility of these 390 million strong collections. A wide range of services and access both physical and digital will be provided to a broad range of scientific Users (from biological and geological related disciplines) in a consistent and accessible way. The natural history collections, held within the museums and herbaria, of Europe are World-class in terms of their magnitude and taxonomic coverage. They represent a resource unique in Europe as a model of the diversity of life on earth and are a physical dataset enabling Users to research how the human activity (including climate change) is having an increasingly negative impact on the diversity and distribution of biodiversity, which is threatening the continued provision of ecosystem services essential to human well-being.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ENV.2012.6.2-2 | Award Amount: 11.59M | Year: 2012

Sustainable governance of our biological resources requires reliable scientific knowledge that meets the needs of society. Current biodiversity observation systems and environmental datasets are unbalanced in coverage and not integrated, limiting integrative analyses and implementation of environmental policies. EU BON presents an innovative approach towards integration of biodiversity information systems from on-ground to remote sensing data, for addressing policy and information needs in a timely and customized manner. EU BON will provide integration between social networks of science and policy and technological networks of interoperating IT infrastructures, resulting in a new open-access platform for sharing biodiversity data and tools, and greatly advance biodiversity knowledge in Europe. EU BONs 30 partners from 18 countries are members of networks of biodiversity data-holders, monitoring organisations, and leading scientific institutions. EU BON will build on existing components, in particular GBIF, LifeWatch infrastructures, and national biodiversity data centres. EU BON will 1) enable greater interoperability of data layers and systems through adoption of new standards; 2) advance data integration by new (modelling) technologies; 3) increase data mobilisation via scientific communities, citizen scientists, and potential data users; 4) develop strategies for future harmonizing and mainstreaming of biodiversity recording and monitoring; 5) improve analytical tools and services interpreting biodiversity data; 6) support the science-policy interface by timely information and scenario development; 7) link integrated, customized information to relevant stakeholders, and 8) strengthen overall European capacities and infrastructures for environmental information management. EU BONs deliverables include a comprehensive European Biodiversity Portal for all stakeholder communities, and strategies for a global implementation of GEO BON and supporting IPBES.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP-SICA | Phase: ENV.2009.2.1.3.2 | Award Amount: 4.53M | Year: 2010

UNDESERT aims at combatting desertification and land degradation in order to mitigate their impacts on ecosystem services, and following on human livelihoods. The West African region is central for understanding desertification and degradation processes, which are already severe and widespread as a consequence of climate change and human impact. An improved understanding of the effects of desertification and degradation processes is obtained on a local to regional scale by integrating remote sensing information with sound field data on biodiversity and soil as well as socioeconomic and climate data. On this basis decision support models and tools will be developed and introduced to natural resource managers. UNDESERT also includes two very practical aspects, 1) restoration through tree plantations, which will be certified for CO2 marketing as the first restoration site in West Africa, 2) ecosystem management based on scientific data and best practices developed in close collaboration between scientists and local communities. As a demand driven project, UNDESERT activities will be implemented by employing 17 young PhD students, who will receive training to enhance future capacities to manage risks and uncertainties in the frame of future demographic and climatic changes. The scientific results will be used to combat desertification and degradation directly and will be transferred to international programs in order to contribute to the implementation of relevant international strategies, initiatives and commitments of the EU and African countries.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-IRSES | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2013-IRSES | Award Amount: 163.80K | Year: 2013

India is a global hotspot for snakebite mortality, yet management of this significant public health issue requires substantial improvement. Many problems arise from lack of knowledge of the biology of biting species, and much remains to be learned about taxonomy, distribution, and venom characteristics of species such as Russells viper (widely considered to be the most dangerous snake in the world). This project will address four main research areas with fundamental gaps in knowledge, to provide a basis for subsequent improvement in clinical treatment and antivenin formulation. The project will synergistically combine EU experts in taxonomy and barcoding of venomous snakes (Bangor; SGN), proteomics of snake venom (CISC, SGN), and transcriptomics of venom glands (Bangor, CSIC, SGN) with corresponding centres of activity in India, including taxonomy and phylogeography at IISC (Bangalore), snake venom proteomics at Sastra (Tamil Nadu), transcriptomics and antivenomics at Tezpur (Assam). Involving both early-stage and experienced researchers, this project will address priorities such as identification of the species responsible for bites in the north-eastern region, where the so-called Big Four species (against which antivenin is currently raised in India) are mostly absent, as well as establishing the basis for reference collections of species and their venoms. Several workshops will be run in India to disseminate best practice, training in taxonomic and omic technology and analyses among early researchers. In turn, Indian partners will second experienced and early-stage staff to the EU for longer-term training in state-of-the-art techniques (such as next-generation approaches to transcriptomics and genomics). This partnership will also form the basis for further collaborative applications to address wider issues such as the use of venom components as drug leads, the evolution of snake venom, as well as application of knowledge gained for snakebite management.

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