European Process

The Long-Term Ecosystem, critical zone and socio-ecological Research Infrastructure (eLTER RI) is now in the preparatory phase of formal implementation as a pan-European Research Infrastructure.

The eLTER RI will comprise about 250 eLTER Sites and eLTSER Platforms from over 20 participating European countries. It will offer a wide range of European-level Central Services for different users, including access to sites and site data from multiple sources. eLTER RI will enable standard observations and analyses of the environment in a holistic manner, encompassing biological, geological, hydrological and socio-ecological perspectives. To secure the implementation of the eLTER RI, the European Commission has recently approved two major, complementary Horizon2020 projects: eLTER PLUS (Advanced Community) and eLTER PPP (Preparatory Phase). The projects will provide a major boost through exemplary case studies at selected eLTER sites across Europe to test the current capacities (eLTER PLUS) and thereby trigger eLTER RI development (eLTER PPP) according to user needs. Both projects started in February 2020 and will last five years.





The Preparatory Phase Project for the eLTER Research Infrastructure (eLTER PPP) is a HORIZON 2020 funded Coordination and Support Action for the detailed specification and high level decision making towards the level of legal, financial and technical maturity required for eLTER RI´s implementation. Therein, eLTER PPP will closely interact with eLTER PLUS to secure the highest relevance of eLTER RI services for the related research communities and other eLTER RI user groups.

Key facts about eLTER PPP

  • Lead: UFZ, Germany
  • Consortium: 27 participating institutions from 24 European countries
  • Budget: 4 million €
  • Duration: 60 months (5 years, Feb 2020 - Jan 2025)
  • Coordinator: Dr. Michael Mirtl (UFZ, Germany); co-coordinator Phillipe Choler (CNRS, France)
  • Core objective: eLTER PPP will coordinate the detailed specification and decision making processes towards the eLTER RI implementation and legal entity at the European and related national levels (eLTER ESFRI process).
  • Main themes of the eLTER PPP are:
    • Design and operation
    • Organisation and funding
    • Strategies and impact
    • Consultation and harmonisation across organisational levels




The Advanced Community Project for the eLTER Research Infrastructure (eLTER PLUS) belongs to INFRAIA-01-2018-2019 programme of HORIZON 2020 and is built on three main pillars - networking, joint research activities and transnational, remote and virtual access. eLTER PLUS will conduct a performance test of the emerging eLTER RI while challenging, assessing and strengthening its operations. Selected sites and platforms in terrestrial, freshwater and coastal ecosystems will be used to study ecosystem integrity, impacts of climate change and endangered ecosystem services at a pan-European scale. Alongside these exemplary case studies eLTER PLUS will identify and assess innovative observational and analytical methods, elaborate detailed specifications of eLTER RI according to community needs (standard observations, site design), support community building and training, and pilot priority services (IT and other support).

Key facts about the eLTER PLUS

  • Lead: University of Helsinki, Finland
  • Consortium: 32 participating institutions from 23 European countries
  • Budget: 10 million €
  • Duration: 60 months (5 years, Feb 2020—Jan 2025)
  • Coordinator: Prof. Jaana Bäck (University of Helsinki, Finland); co-coordinator: Dr. Michael Mirtl (UFZ, Germany)
  • Core objective: eLTER PLUS will connect major scientific user communities with the site networks and its data/services,l work on detailed site and observation specifications and pilot the technical service development
  • The main Research Challenges (RC) addressed by eLTER PLUS are:
    • RC 1 Biodiversity loss
    • RC 2 Biogeochemical controls of ecosystem functions
    • RC 3 Climate-water-food nexus
    • RC 4 Socio-ecological systems