AnaEE will provide services to the scientific communities across Europe by providing:
- a long-term well-designed experimental component, standardize approaches and other resources needed to enable additional and innovative sensors;
- experiments opportunities to be deployed by the community;
- data access for research and education.
AnaEE will contribute to innovation. It will be the European entry point for collaborative research activities across continents based on experimental and observational long-term sites.
The construction phase of AnaEE will develop new distributed platforms and upgrade existing ones. However, a significant component of this construction will be the setting up of joint facilities that will amplify the added value of the project by increasing the number and quality of the services provided to the range of users. Establishing the detailed list of these facilities and defining the level of integration or centralization of these services and facilities is part of the tasks of the preparatory phase, especially within WP2 ‘Implementing the AnaEE vision’. These facilities can be tentatively categorized as follows:
Administrative: Obviously we will have a central co-ordination office with AnaEE management staff. This office would also be responsible for data management and diffusion (Ecosystem Portal). This co-ordination office would also have some personnel dedicated to the implementation of quality insurance across the distributed platforms and the coordination of national clusters or nodes.
Technical: A technical centre for the tests and standardizations of instruments and calibrations. It would also be an appropriate place for hosting the technical training sessions for the staff of the distributed platforms and for the students. (This will differ from the ICOS Central Analytical Laboratory which deals with only a small part of the instruments used in AnaEE). This centre could also be in charge of the technical watch on a range of measurements.
Training: Although the training itself will be done by researchers using AnaEE infrastructure at physical places that may vary according to the training theme, a central training office should coordinate and manage the various training programs. Personnel in charge of developing e-learning could be included in this training office as well as a person in charge of the implementation of a higher education plan promoting ecosystem science at the universities.
Modelling: Modelling activities will be conducted in many laboratories associated with AnaEE infrastructures. The establishment of a modelling centre will be envisaged where a few modelling platforms would be maintained and developed and where resources for modellers and users would be easily accessed. Modelling platforms allow to couple modules within models, as well as to couple full models. Such platforms can also be used to couple models with data streams and finally to upscale models on spatial grids (e.g. at the continental scale of Europe).
Leading-edge techniques: New or rapidly evolving- techniques are likely to spread too slowly and too heterogeneously across a large distributed infrastructure. An innovation expert unit with a specialized small team (permanent staff or not) will be needed for a fast and uniform integration of these techniques. Current ones are for example data base establishment and interoperability, data mining knowledge extraction, wireless sensors. New ones will appear during the preparatory phase.
Technology Transfer: a whole workpackage (WP5) of the preparatory phase is dedicated to the transfer of technology and knowledge to various users. A transfer office would contribute to implement transfer activities during the operational phase. Competences with regards to legal, scouting, foresight, marketing (…) aspects have to be organized.
Think-tank centre: AnaEE should also stimulate the emergence of new ideas in the ecosystem science that will be conducted with the AnaEE platforms. We will investigate during the preparatory phase the objectives and business plan for an ecosystem science think tank centre on the model of the highly successful National Centre for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) of Santa Barbara. This Centre could not only promote analysis and synthesis of AnaEE data, but also develop new concepts, new research approaches, and could also be used as place to prepare innovative joint research proposals etc. This centre would be the parallel (but resolutely more European and more opened in scope), for ecosystem science, of the CESAB (Centre de Synthèse et d’Analyse sur la Biodiversité) for biodiversity, just launched in France in Aix en Provence.
Expertise centre: the AnaEE knowledge will come from the various experiments, monitoring schemes and modelling activities. There is however usually a gap between that knowledge and the type of information that various end-users will need. An expertise centre would extract and format the knowledge according to the questions asked. Such a centre could be shared with ICOS and LIFEWATCH.