Viernes, 02 Julio 2021 11:20

PROJECT COOP+|European Scientific Cooperation Takes On Global Challenges

European Scientific Cooperation Takes On Global Challenges. European Scientific Cooperation Takes On Global Challenges.

The EU promotes combining the potential of major research infrastructures to share data and seek solutions to major environmental challenges

"I am because we are". This is the best summary that the scientist Francisco Javier Bonet can offer to explain the rationale behind the COOP+ project, of which he has been the coordinator. This researcher at the University of Cordoba believes that one research infrastructure is a reality because, in turn, another one exists, this being a perfect encapsulation of a project that has taken on the task of promoting cooperation between different research infrastructures on a planetary scale to deal with global problems; in this case, environmental ones. "We are on the road to systemic collapse, and it is clear to us that the problems are climate change, the generation of plastics, the hole in the ozone layer, the loss of biodiversity... there are many challenges that can be tackled together," Professor Bonet stressed.

Converging on the project were the ICOS (Integrated Carbon Observing System), responsible for quantifying the carbon balance between the atmosphere and the Earth (the only one with legal status when the project started); EISCAT (European Incoherent Scatter Scientific Association), which studies space weather by analysing how electromagnetic radiation from the sun interacts with the ionosphere; EMSO (European Multidisciplinary Seafloor Observations), which measures biophysical variables related to the seafloor; and LifeWatch, which collects and processes data on biodiversity in Europe.

Each infrastructure, at an organic level, has met its objectives, but the key has been putting them to work, not only with each other, but with other infrastructures doing similar things in other parts of the world. "The challenge is tremendous, because it requires empathy and generosity," Bonet explains.

The most important outcome has been the learning on the teams behind these large infrastructures, which were able to work together, sharing data and evaluating results simultaneously. This is the modus operandi that several European and North American scientific infrastructures have been using in the evaluation of carbon emissions, sharing the information gathered by their measuring towers and standardising the data.

Another valuable result of the project is that it allowed for cooperation transcending relations between Europe and the United States, making it possible to establish collaborative networks with some regions in Africa and Latin America; specifically, in Colombia.

"This is the first time that co-authored articles have been published by these research infrastructures, and this is really important, as it marks the beginning of cross-border collaboration," Bonet explained.
In his final assessment of the experience of managing a project like COOP+, Francisco Bonet noted that only the incorporation of local actors right from the outset of research can guarantee the kind of continuity called for by the new paradigm of socially responsible science.

The COOP+ Cooperation of Research Infrastructures to address global challenges in the environmental field project (H2020-INFRASUPP-654131) is funded by the European Union through the H2020-INFRASUPP-2014-2 call.

"This report is part of the project “CONSOLIDA-UCO ECT2020-000810", funded by MCIN/AEI/10.13039/501100011033 and by European Union “NextGenerationEU”/PRTR”.


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