Integrated European
Long-Term Ecosystem, critical zone and
socio-ecological Research

About eLTER RI

We live in a world of rapid social, economic and ecosystem change, facing major environmental challenges such as global warming, biodiversity loss and pressures on natural resources. Addressing these topics requires world-class ecosystem research by a well-connected, extensive community of experts, supported by advanced sites and facilities, openly shared and easily accessible data and capacity building programmes. This is the goal of the eLTER Research Infrastructure (еLTER RI). 

eLTER is now in the preparatory phase on the way to becoming a fully fledged Research Infrastructure. The Preparatory Phase Project, funded by the European Commission (2020-2025) will support this process. Below you see the timeline according to which we are working.

Figure: The planned timeline towards fully operational research infrastructure providing services to the users. eLTER PPP and eLTER PLUS (EU H2020 funded INFRAIA advanced community project, 2020-2025) projects started in February 2020 and last until January 2025. (NRI = National Research Infrastructures)

Distributed Research Infrastructure

eLTER RI will comprise National Research Infrastructures (NRIs), and European level Central Services (CS), such as data access, training and harmonized methods and parameters. 

Countries supporting eLTER RI will provide infrastructure in the form of eLTER Sites (focal points for long-term ecosystem observation and research) and eLTSER Platforms (large areas facilitating socioecological research and exemplary stakeholder engagement). These national building blocks form the in-situ backbone of eLTER RI. Site-based operations will be highly integrated and follow agreed policies. These facilities will be open for research and education via a centralised scheme. 

A range of centrally-provided services will make eLTER RI more than the sum of its national networks. These Central Services are expected to consist of:

  • Head office: coordination, strategic development, outreach. Head Office activities are currently hosted by UFZ, Germany. 
  • eLTER Service Portal: access to data and sites 
  • Thematic service areas: covering Quality Assurance for Data, Modelling and Analysis Tools, Design and Synthesis, and Technological Innovation and Development.