Fifth eLTER Interim Council meeting, May 2023: Keeping the ball rolling
22 May 2023
On 2 May 2023, the fifth meeting of the eLTER Interim Council took place with 50 participants via Zoom. 16 countries that are members of the IC were represented by national delegates. Norway and the Netherlands attended as observers for the first time and gained an insight into the main developments of the eLTER RI.
As one of the first items on the agenda, IC delegates approved the eLTER RI Human Resources Strategy. This document describes the type of staff needed in the Research Infrastructure (RI), how they will be recruited and how expertise will be developed within the future eLTER RI. It will be reviewed by the IC at a later stage as the implementation of the RI progresses.
Among other discussion items, IC delegates received an update on the emerging design of the eLTER site network, based on the results of an expert workshop and the category screening survey conducted in February and March this year. Overall, the coverage of the network looks very good with over 300 sites initially listed, but some gaps in the network design at European and national levels were discussed. In addition, work to revise a sustainable funding model for the eLTER RI was presented, in line with feedback collected after IC04 in September 2022.
The eLTER Coordination encouraged IC delegates to advance the dialogue between countries on (co-)hosting core eLTER RI services and the possibility of sharing responsibilities. In addition, a proactive dialogue is needed on national in-situ facilities regarding scientific priorities, strategic interests and gap-filling.
Despite the inherent limitations of a virtual environment, the atmosphere of the meeting was lively, focused and productive, thanks in part to the skilful and charismatic chairing of the meeting by Kevin Bishop of SLU. The eLTER team is already looking forward to the next opportunity for the Interim Council to meet in person: 24-25 October 2023 in Berlin, Germany.