DiSSCo Connect Meeting

On Monday, May 15, the DiSSCo coordination team and the Naturalis Biodiversity Center, organised a public “DiSSCo Connect” event in Leiden, NL. The overarching goal was to facilitate connection between all (internal and external) stakeholders. To this end the key objectives of the meeting were to

  • Present and discuss the DiSSCo bid details,
  • Connect DiSSCo with other RIs in the Environmental RI landscape through clearly defined interfaces and
  • Collate feedback from all participating consortia (and individual partners) at national level and ESFRI delegates/ministry representatives.

40 representatives from DiSSCo National Task Forces (NTFs), other international research infrastructures (GBIF, Catalogue of Life, EUDAT, EGI & Australia’s Academic and Research Network) and the European commission were present to listen to the speeches held by – among others – John Wood (former co-chair of RDA Council & ACU), Edit Herczog (Former MEP, lead on research infrastructures and H2020 budget) and Augusto Burgueño (Head of e-infrastructures Unit, DG CONNECT, EC). The full agenda can be found below.

The consortium reaffirmed the strong positioning of the proposal in regards to its scientific mission, the maturity and long-standing common experience, and the clear and robust service portfolio – including e-services, physical and remote access services and training/support services. Additionally, several key observations were made during the presentations: 

  • DiSSCo represents the largest ever consortium of natural science collections;
  • The scientific value of the new research infrastructure has the potential to be a transformative mechanism to enable cross-disciplinary research;
  • It additionally has a pivotal place in providing new data discovery and access services that underpin scientific innovation in the areas of biodiversity conservation, food security and the bioeconomy;
  • The need for the construction of DiSSCo services as part of and in alignment with the FAIR principles of the European Open Science Cloud and the benefits from close collaboration with RDA and similar global forums;
  • Successful pilot projects in collaboration with EGI and EUDAT were highlighted as good use cases to guide future larger collaborations with e-infrastructures;
  • DiSSCo has now a clear position in the wider Environmental Research Infrastructure landscape as a provider of mass, linked and precise data (and expertise) to underpin experimental and integrative RIs (such as eLTER and LifeWatch)

The presentations are available for download here.


12.00 – 13.00 Welcome Lunch and networking session

13.00 – 13.10 Welcome by Host & Chair of DiSSCo Steering Committee (Edwin van Huis, Director of Naturalis)

13.10 – 13.40 Short speeches by invited speakers:

  • John Wood (former co-chair of RDA Council & ACU)
  • Edit Herczog (Former MEP, lead on research infrastructures and H2020 budget)
  • Augusto Burgueño (Head of e-infrastructures Unit, DG CONNECT, EC)

13.40 – 13.50 Building on CETAF | Ana Casino (CETAF & DiSSCo coordination team) 

13.50 – 14.05 Scientific vision and mission of DiSSCo | Ian Owens (Director of Science, Natural History Museum London) 

14.05 – 14.15 DiSSCo European engagement and governance model | Dimitris Koureas (Natural History Museum London & DiSSCo coordinator) 

14.15 – 14.30 DiSSCo systems architecture and technical design | Wouter Addink (Naturalis & DiSSCo coordination team) 

15.00 – 15.10 Institutional benefits of DiSSCo: Building on our experience | Vince Smith (Natural History Museum London) 

15.10 – 15.15 Interfaces with other Infrastructures – EGI example | Yannick Legré (Managing Director EGI)

15.15 – 15.20 Interfaces with other Infrastructures – EUDAT example | Alexis Jaen-Laurent (CINES)

15.20 – 15.30 Interfaces with other Infrastructures – GBIF and COL examples | Peter Schalk (Executive Secretary Species 2000 & GBIF Governing Board Chair)

15.30 – 16.10 Structured open discussion

16.10 – 16.45 National consortia introductions 15 DiSSCo National Task Forces (Nodes) were presented