SYNTHESYS+ Transnational Access – FINAL Call 4 NOW OPEN

25 April 2022


  • SYNTHESYS+ Call 4 provides funding to undertake short research visits at 21 partner institutions

  • Call 4 Deadline: 15th June, 2022 (17:00 UK time)

SYNTHESYS+, one of the DiSSCo-linked projects, has just announced the fourth and final tranche of Transnational Access visits, funded via the SYNTHESYS+ project under the current European Commission’s Horizon 2020-funded Integrating Activities programme.

SYNTHESYS Access funding provides researchers with funding support to undertake short visits to utilise the infrastructure (comprising the collections, staff expertise and analytical facilities) at one or more of the 21 partner institutions (see full list below) for the purposes of their research. Since 2004, the SYNTHESYS programme has supported over 55,000 days of research activity across 4,600 separate projects, generating over 5,000 publications including books, monographs, peer-reviewed papers and theses.

We are using the European Loans and Visits System (ELViS) again this year to manage applications, a system being developed through SYNTHESYS+ Joint Research Activities. Whilst we do not anticipate any problems, development work is ongoing, so we advise you apply in good time before the deadline.

All successful visits must take place before the end of June 2023 (no extensions possible due to the end of the SYNTHESYS+ project in July 2023).

Taxonomic Access Facilities (TAFs)


The 21 partner institutions are organised into 13 national TAFs. TAF users will be hosted by a TAF staff member (host). The 13 TAFs represent an unparalleled resource for taxonomic research offering:

o Collections amounting to over 490 million natural history specimens
o Internationally renowned taxonomic and systematic skill base
o Facilities including molecular, imaging and chemical analysis

Proposals for funding are welcomed from high-calibre researchers in any technical discipline seeking access for short-term research visits (average duration 15 days). SYNTHESYS+ is able to meet costs for:

o Research costs (bench fees and laboratory consumables)
o International travel & local accommodation while based at the TAF
o A per diem contribution towards living costs

4. Among DiSSCo services, which one(s) will your role most benefit from?

Dag Endresen: Maybe the DiSSCo DOI registration entity? Professional mechanisms for physical specimen level persistent identification will be a critical fundament for very many other dependent services to build further from. (…) UCAS & these services for persistent specimen-level (or still only planned at digital-specimen-level?) and annotation could be a giant step forward for museums – and of huge direct benefit to tasks under my role at the museum in Oslo!!

Henry Engledow: SDR – this interests me the most. As I mostly work with the data and analysis – this could greatly help me in improving the quality of our collections.

Pierre-Yves Gagnier: ELVIS, Dashboard, Knowledgebase, Helpdesk, Autorisation infrastructure, are of interest for researcher or collection manager but not for the role (delegate for digital innovation) that I play in my institution beside the development of these applications. My role will benefit more from the Digital specimen concept from the Digital Specimen Repository and Specimen Data Refinery for innovation and specimen data quality control.

Helen Hardy: I hope that DiSSCo will provide both a catalyst, a platform and potentially a funding/grant mechanism for us to offer digitisation on demand and digital services such as additional imaging or even chemical and genomic analyses. It will be a challenge to be ready for this but will be really great if there is a good way to link users/demand with those services and with sources of funding.

Data standards and similar frameworks developed with or around DiSSCo are enormously valuable for data linkage and usefulness. (…)

Bram Langeveld: Collection Digitisation Dashboard, Specimen Data Refinery and Digital Specimen Repository seem most promising as they will increase our digitization efficiency and may result in more use of the results.

Myriam van Walsum: To improve our data quality, it would be interesting to implement UCAS; getting enrichment through annotations. However, this will have a major impact on our collection application landscape. How do we approve data and get that data back into our own CMS and collection portal? (…)

5. If you could make one or two suggestions to help DiSSCo be more supportive or responsive to your role needs, what would they be?

Lorenzo Cecchi: (…) For those that will be outside at the beginning, the benefits in joining DiSSCo should be always higher than the effort needed to join. To this goal, I’m expecting that the training strategy, especially in terms of user-friendly and multilingual communication documents and tutorials, will have a central role.

Dag Endresen: Support with finding a model for alignment of the GBIF node manager role and the DiSSCo node role. There are many overlapping mandates and tasks.(…) Some kind of progress on citation metrics services for the granularity of individual physical museum specimens. And FAIR data certification for museums in DiSSCo. Such services would most likely be a powerful demonstration of the need for DiSSCo when approaching national research council funding.

Henry Engledow: We need a good CMS that is support by the community and not defined by national borders. The development or support of tools for data cleaning, or that support research (…)

Helen Hardy: Be clearer about DiSSCo strategic vision and goals – not just what it might be but the impact it is intended to have and key communications messages about that for us all to use (…) – this would help me as a national/local leader in digitisation strategy.

Anne Koivunen: Currently, it would be nice to find the outputs produced in the DiSSCo projects more easily e.g. the Knowledge base could be updated more regularly.

Myriam van Walsum: We make short term and longer term plans for our applications. The DiSSCO services will have an impact on these plans. To be able to allow for these developments, we have a need to know which requirements we need to meet to be able to implement them at a later date. (…)

Luc Willemse: Communicate a lot, lot more with the community based on use cases and the role DiSSCo will play in improving or changing these and how this benefits researchers, collection managers etc.

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