European Research Area for Climate Services
The ERA-NET Consortium “European Research Area for Climate Services”, so-called ERA4CS, has been designed to boost the development of efficient Climate Services in Europe, by supporting research for developing better tools, methods and standards on how to produce, transfer, communicate and use reliable climate information to cope with current and future climate variability.
The overall objective of ERA4CS is to enhance user adoption of and satisfaction with Climate Services (incl. adaptation services).
It implies the development of tools, methods and standardsto produce reliable information for various user needs to support smart stakeholder decisions and investment projects
It aims to improve the scientific expertise on Climate Change risks and adaptation options,and to connect that knowledge with decision-making, e.g. by developing and assessing climate adaptation strategies and pathways at different scales (regions, cities, catchments, vulnerable sectors, etc.)
It focuses on the development of a “climate information translation” layerincluding climate information production for CS as well as researching and advancing CS as such.
The ERA-NET “European Research Area for Climate Services” (ERA4CS) is a network of 45 partner organisations: 15 public Research Funding Organisations (RFOs), and 30 Research Performing Organisations (RPOs) from 18 European countries designed to boost the development of efficient Climate Services (CS) in Europe. Most partners come from countries participating in the Joint Programming Initiative JPI Climate on “Connecting Climate Knowledge for Europe” (www.jpi-climate.eu), a collaboration of 16 European countries coordinating their climate research to inform and enable the transition to a low emission, climate resilient economy, society and environment in line with Europe’s long-term climate policy objectives.
ERA4CS is funded as an ERA-NET Co-fund action under the European Union´s Horizon 2020 Frame-work Program (Grant Agreement number 690462). Its partners intend to develop a durable collaboration in research funding policy and practices, thereby creating added value in high quality re-search contributing to the development of the European Research Area for CS. To improve user adoption of and satisfaction with CS, the overall aim is to research and advance CS development by supporting scientific research for developing better tools, methods and standards on how to produce, transfer, communicate and use reliable climate information to cope with current and future climate variability and change across national boundaries.
The present joint call on “Researching and Advancing Climate Services Development“ will be financed by ERA4CS partners contributing either by cash funding (RFOs, Topic A) or by in-kind re-sources (RPOs, Topic B) plus co-funding on both topics from the European Commission. A total budget of about 72 Mio € has been provisionally allocated for this call to support 3 years research projects.
What are Climate Services?
Easily accessible, timely, and decision-relevant scientific information can help society to cope with current and future climate variability and change in order to limit climate-related economic, social and ecological impacts and damages. This includes information about Climate Change (CC) mitiga-tion, adaptation and disaster risk management. Effective CS also allow society to take advantage of transformation opportunities, to build resilience to CC, to support a sustainable development and to contribute to a climate–resilient and climate-friendly society. CS could address wide timescales, i.e. month to century time-scale, going beyond current operational weather services.
There are different definitions of CS, which is a consequence of the wide variety of stakeholders and needs, as well differing functions of the organisations that deliver CS. ERA4CS uses the concept of CS in a broad sense, namely as user driven development, translation and transfer of climate knowledge, including knowledge for understanding the climate, CC and its impacts, as well as guid-ance in its use to researchers and to decision-makers in policy and business.
The aim is to respond to the increasing demand from stakeholders for usable information and solu-tions about CC impacts, vulnerability, risks and opportunities, their uncertainties and probabilities and options for actions. These stakeholders can include e.g. decision‐makers in enterprises, NGOs, policy makers from various levels (transnational, national, regional and local), as well as scientists using the data for impact and applied research, but also citizens and consumers.
This variety reflects a wide scope of “user needs” in which information requirements may differ significantly. CS should thus be tailored to meet specific needs of various sectors as well as cross-sectoral requirements. They are meant to communicate climate knowledge in a way that it is scien-tifically sound and easily understood, facilitating decision making, and integrating it into the broader context of societal, economic and environmental changes.
Climate Services therefore need to be developed in a solution-oriented approach working with stakeholders and practitioners. As a result, users should also influence the development of CS and the underpinning research by defining their needs and developing specific requests for CS (usually referred to as “co-development”). This feedback loop should improve the research for CS.
ERA4CS in the European Climate Services landscape
The CS landscape (in Europe) is shaped by a variety of fields and actors as shown in Figure 1 (adapted from the “Horizon 2020 Societal Challenge 5 Advisory Group Report 2014”). This schematic shows the interlinks and –dynamics of CS which range from societal needs (right side) to scientific information (left side). Fundamental information should be translated, from climate science, to analysis of CC impacts, and combined with socio-economic and demographic information, to identify vulnerabilities and risks. Further “translation” towards the end user communities can be facilitated by “knowledge brokers”. The added value can lead to market development from business and wider decision-making perspectives. This reinforces the “service demand” which represents a strong feedback to stimulate and support scientific knowledge development.
ERA4CS represents a significant contribution to the implementation of the European Roadmap for Climate Services. It is expected to both, contribute to benefit from and complement linked initiatives within the European landscape. These are e.g. the WP 2016/17 H2020 SC5 Actions on CS market research to exploit CS added value, to improve regional climate modelling or to access Earth observations, Actions resulting from the WP2014/15 calls for Climate Adaptation and Climate Ser-vices of H2020, the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) focusing on essential climate variables, climate information provision, data access facilitation and operational climate service delivery primarily for policy makers and public authorities, or European and national CC adaptation knowledge platforms and portals, like e.g. Climate-ADAPT or Climate-KIC projects. The aspects which are addressed by this call within this landscape are displayed in green in the below figure.
Figure 1: Simplified Climate Service Landscape in Europe for the period 2015-2017.The main focus of the 2016 ERA4CS call is displayed in green, and is related to complementary roles of other main European initiatives (H2020 WP 2016-2017 SC5 Actions, the 2015 JPI Climate call on Climate pre-dictability and interregional linkages, Copernicus Climate Change Service, EIT/Climate-KIC).
ERA4CS is designed to support research that develops better tools, methods and standards on how to produce, transfer, communicate and use reliable climate and related information. This call mobilizes both the Research Funding Organisations (RFOs) and the Research Performing Organisations (RPOs) in EU Member States and Associated Countries. The aim is to enhance national CS activities and support the various disciplines to address research gaps that exist between the diverse needs of user communities and climate system science.
The call places an emphasis on integrated research that creates a bridge between observations, model development, operational products, information translation and user uptake. One of the main objectives of ERA4CS is to improve quality, satisfaction and user adoption of CS (incl. adaptation services). At the same time ERA4CS aims to improve the scientific expertise on CC risks and adaptation options, and to connect that knowledge with decision-making, e.g. by developing and assessing climate adaptation strategies and pathways for countries, regions, cities, catchments and vulnerable sectors.
The feedback loop from users to research development is crucial in this context during the project lifetime, from co-design of research priorities to co-development of tools, up to the co-production and co-evaluation of products and a subsequent refinement of the research strategy. Resulting products/instruments from ERA4CS will help to assess vulnerability, impacts, and adaptation responses to current and future climate variability and change including extremes for specific regions, sectors, over relevant time periods and spatial scales. They may for example be designed to provide insight into CC effects in urban and/or rural areas, in order to assist in determination of the appropriate risk reduction and adaption measures. They could also advance understanding of integrated management of small to large scale ecological and social systems (e.g. a city within a larger system) and how this can be optimized to face climate variability and change (e. g. for the prevention of droughts or flooding or the adverse effects of other extreme events). CS may also be designed to help e. g. shaping a climate adaption plan for an entire catchment area or river basin, shedding light on the integrated behaviour of water systems influenced by CC and dynamic user demands. The concept could include approaches to address multi-driver vulnerability, risk and economic analyses, e. g. arising from infrastructure investments, assessing aspects of adaptation measures, and guiding their implementation in planning processes and including dealing with conflicting interests, institutional issues and wider societal and environmental objectives.
By developing a “translation layer along the Climate Service chain” ERA4CS expects to stimulate advanced solutions for risk reduction and adaptation, including the management of uncertainties, possibly giving at the same time an impulse for the development of a CS market. The assessment of the potential of such advanced approaches in the field of CS (incl. demonstration of the added value) is part of this call. The operational deployment and building of the market itself as well as the routine provision of raw and generic climate information (observations, projections, etc.) is not included. As shown in Figure 1 these are part of complementary initiatives, such as Copernicus, Climate-KIC and Horizon 2020 (c.f. European research and innovation Roadmap for CS).
There are two distinct and coherent topics, with two separate target groups and funding modes:
- Topic A “Advanced co-development with users” is open to all applicants from the 13 countries with participating RFOs (see Annexes for Topic A), who comply with the national eligibility criteria (see National Annexes).
- Topic B “Institutional integration” is open only to applicants from the 30 mandated RPOs (Annexes for Topic B), subject to their specific eligibility criteria (see RPO Annexes). This means it is not open to external applicants outside of these organisations.
The ERA4CS consortium is based on solid, competent and internationally recognized RFOs and RPOs. Key RFOs, members of the JPI Climate Governing Board , have already established and agreed on a flexible model of joint calls and evaluation procedures whose efficiency is acknowledged by both recurrent calls in 2013 and in 2015 (the latter with the international Belmont Forum). This experience is of high added value to stimulate or evaluate activities made by RPOs in the field of climate-related research. Thus, the consortium was extended to key RPOs (incl. members of the JPI Climate) to constitute a highly visible initiative in Europe and beyond, with complementary co-funded topics and additional activities.
ERA4CS will complement other funding programmes and activities on climate services research at European level (such as e.g. H2020, Copernicus and KIC Climate) and at the international level (such as GFCS, Future Earth and Belmont Forum). It will focus its efforts on planning, implementing and monitoring a joint transnational call between Members States and Associated Countries, increasing their scope through top-up funding from the EC. ERA4CS is designed in close collaboration with JPI Climate and aims to include new partners and countries, to better coalign activities and reduce fragmentation of the research landscape to enable the relevant stakeholders to make better use of the available climate knowledge.
The main objectives of this action are divided in two parts:
Part A is dedicated to the activities related to the co-funded call
Part B is dedicated to additional activities
ERA4CS activities are based on the preparatory work already undertaken by JPI Climate during the last 5 years, including especially the Working Group 2 on “Climate Services” and the Strategic Research Agenda that was agreed upon, as well as the preparatory work undertaken by the ad-hoc Governing Board Task Force on “ERA-Net on Climate Services” established in Copenhagen, December 2013. The outcome of the “Demand driven Climate services in Europe” workshop, organized by JPI Climate in June 2015, provided valuable input by stakeholders for the call design as well.
The overall objective of ERA4CS is to enhance user adoption of and satisfaction with Climate Services (incl. adaptation services).
It implies the development of tools, methods and standards to produce reliable information (projections with impact and vulnerability assessments) for various user needs to support smart stakeholder decisions and investment projects, encompassing public, private and community sectors.
At the same time ERA4CS aims to improve the scientific expertise on Climate Change risks and adaptation options, and to connect that knowledge with decision-making, e.g. by developing and assessing climate adaptation strategies and pathways at different scales (regions, cities, catchments, vulnerable sectors, etc.).
It focuses on the development of a “climate information translation” layer including climate information production for CS as well as researching and advancing CS as such.
Improving the quality of Climate Services is also within the scope of ERA4CS Joint Transnational call.
Representation of the governance structures of ERACS and their connections
General Assembly (GA)
The General Assembly is composed of one representative from each partner organisation participating in the ERA4CS Consortium.
The General Assembly is chaired by the ERA4CS Coordinator, with vice-chairs identified and elected by the consortium each year at the first General Assembly meeting. The General Assembly is the decision-making body for matters related to the Additional Activities and the evolution of the consortium. The General Assembly meets at least once a year.
Executive Board (EB)
The Executive Board is composed of the Coordinator and the Work Package (WP) leaders. The Executive Board supervises the work made by the Coordinating Unit and reports to the GA. It helps the Coordinator supervise the WPs and tasks and ensure the coherence of the ERA-NET as a whole. The Executive Board meets at least four times a year, either physically or virtually depending on the needs.
Cash Management Board (CMB)
The CMB is composed of one representative from each partner organisation participating in the cash topic of the joint call (topic A). The CMB is the decision-making body for the cash topic of the joint call. Members of the CMB cannot apply to the joint call. The CMB will propose experts for the evaluation process of the joint call.
In-Kind Management Board (KMB)
The KMB is composed of one representative from each partner organisation participating in the in-kind topic of the joint call (topic B). The KMB is the decision-making body for the in-kind topic of the joint call. Full members of the KMB, involved in the build-up of the topic and the eligibility process, cannot apply to the in-kind topic of the joint call. Deputy members not involved in these particular processes can still apply.
The KMB will not take part in the evaluation process of the joint call, to avoid conflicts of interest.
General Assembly limited to the Funding Parties
The CMB and KMB together correspond to the General Assembly limited to the Funding Parties. Outside the prerogatives of either CMB or KMB, this Assembly is the decision-making body for matters related to the joint call.
Coordination unit (CU)
The Coordination Unit is based at ANR and composed of the coordinator, the executive manager, the Joint Call Secretariat (JCS) and the financial & administrative officer. The Coordination Unit continuously supports the General Assembly, the JCS, the WP leaders and all other partners of ERA4CS in fulfilling their duties according to the work plan. The Coordination Unit is supervised by the Executive Board.
Joint Call Secretariat (JCS)
The JCS, part of the Coordination Unit at ANR, is in charge of coordinating the preparation and evaluation of the joint call.
The coordinator monitors all actions taken by the JCS, within the Coordination Unit.
External Advisory Board
In addition to the above, the JPI Climate Transdisciplinary Advisory Board will be consulted as an external advisory board for ERA4CS.
For this purpose, the JPI Climate Transdisciplinary Advisory Board will invite representatives of Climate-KIC, Copernicus and the European Environment Agency. The board will bring an independent vision of stakeholders on developments and new challenges on climate services.
The people from this board consulted in the build-up of the joint call cannot apply to it.
French National Research Agency
Irish Environmental Protection Agency
Belgian Federal Science Policy Office
The Research Council of Norway
Austrian Research Promotion Agency
Dutch Research Council
Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning
Agencia Estatal de Investigación
In parallel with the call, ERA4CS additional activities are planned throughout the 5 years of the ERA4CS action. These activities are dedicated to assess and develop JPI Climate activities contributing to research for CS. It will take strong advantage on the complementarity between research funders (RFOs) and performers (RPOs) of the ERA4CS consortium. It is on line with the overall target of Joint Programming, i.e. towards better alignment between funders and performers in Europe. In practice, ERA4CS Additional Activities target both a “common vision” and a “pilot experiment” for co-alignment. It will contribute to develop a strong partnership between Member States as well as Associated Countries, key research organizations and key European initiatives up to 2020 and beyond, to contribute on sustainable development goal to face climate change. All documents developed by the projects are accessible.
The ERA4CS Monitoring tool was online tool for reporting, monitoring, and assessing the cofounded projects. This tool enabled the easy collection and management project data to ensure an efficient centralization of data handling and a small administrative burden. It is a platform only for exchanging information related to the reporting and reviewing process. The tool has been structured following these requirements:
Rapid implementation: the tool has been designed using Redmine, a flexible project management web application
Application of the JPI Climate governance principles
Guaranteed secured storage of data
Real-time monitoring and analysis of the projects
Upload of complementary documents (progress and review reports)
Sending automatic notifications to project holders combined with notifications to the administrator when new data appears in the system
An NDA to be confirmed by users has been included for confidentiality reasons.
The ERA4CS monitoring tool was hosted by Barcelona Supercomputing Centre.
The winner of the JPI Climate Excellence Award for Social Impact 2021
The winner of the JPI Climate Excellence Award for Social Impact 2021 is CLIMAX project funded by the JPI Climate and the Belmont Forum under…
Patrick Monfray worked as Coordinator of ERA4CS, involving 45 research organizations from 18 countries which launched 26 projects for 63 M€ to enhance climate services efficiency and usefulness. Patrick Monfray has stepped down from this position on July 1st 2017. He moved from ANR (Agence Nationale de Recherche, France) to the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation as Deputy Director of the Research and Innovation Strategy Department, where he continues to represent France as a member of GPC (Groupe de Programmation Conjointe), a body of the Council of the European Union dealing with joint programming.
Philippe Bougeault has taken over the coordination for ERA4CS. Philippe Bougeault was a former representative of Météo-France within ERA4CS and an international senior in the field of climate change research. Philippe, who worked for ANR (Agence Nationale de la Recherche France) which was coordinating ERA4CS, led the next phase of this large scale ERA-NET with the launch of the 26 projects in September 2017 and their follow-up, as well as their link to JPI Climate activities, especially in the context of the JPI Climate Scoping Forums.
Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR) – France
Dr. Dagmar Bley
Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR) – Germany
Dr. Antonio Navarra
Centro Euro-Mediterraneo sui Cambiamenti Climatici (CMCC) – Italy
ERA4CS Executive Manager
Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR) – France
Joint Call Secretariat
Dr. Johann Müller
Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR) – France
JPI Climate Central Secretariat
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