The international activities carried out as part of the OZCAR IR are numerous. They are aimed at European integration within the eLTER ESFRI RI framework, the structuring of partnerships with networks of Critical Zone observatories in different countries (i.e. the German TERENO network and the American CZNet network), the preparation of and participation in European (Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development) and international calls for projects, and support for the international mobility of young scientists.
OZCAR in the European context
The OZCAR Research Infrastructure (OZCAR RI), in partnership with the Zones Ateliers network (RZA) (*), is actively contributing to the construction of the pan-European eLTER RI (European Long-Term Ecosystem and Socio-Ecological Research Infrastructure), which includes the LTER (Long-Term Ecosystem Research) network, the Critical Zone research observatories and the platforms for the study of socio-ecological systems (LTSER). The aim of the eLTER project is to bring together the Ecosystem Sciences, Critical Zone and Socio-ecology communities.
eLTER RI was included in the European Research Infrastructure Roadmap in 2018 (ESFRI Roadmap). In 2020, two new European Horizon Europe projects (2021-2027) enable the eLTER RI community to have the means to set up this infrastructure. Both projects are the eLTER PPP (27 partners from 24 European countries, €4 million, 2020-2025) and eLTER PLUS (33 partners, €10 million, 2020-2025) projects.
eLTER PPP aims to specify the governance and decision-making processes, as well as the legal framework of the future research infrastructure. The project also aims to define the services to be provided by eLTER RI, as well as the associated thematic centres.
eLTER PLUS will enable the services to be offered by eLTER RI to be prototyped and tested. A series of sites and platforms documenting terrestrial, freshwater and transitional water ecosystems are being used to study the ecosystem integrity, the impact of climate change and threats to ecosystem services at risk on a pan-European scale. Alongside these exemplary case studies, eLTER PLUS is identifying and evaluating innovative observation and analysis methods, developing detailed specifications for eLTER RI based on community needs (standard observations, site design), supporting community development and training and piloting priority services (IT and other support).
In addition, at the period of the finalisation of the EQUIPEX CRITEX, an eLTER CRITEX symposium has been organised for autumn 2022. This colloquium was organised collectively by the OZCAR RI and RZA RI on 9 and 10 November 2022 at the research institute IPGP (Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris), in order to reflect on and organise both RI’s contribution to the eLTER European infrastructure project.
(*) OZCAR RI and the Zones Ateliers network (RZA) represent eLTER France, French mirror of the european eLTER RI.
OZCAR and the international scene
The OZCAR research infrastructure collaborates with several international Critical Zone networks.
OZCAR collaborates with the American Critical Zone Network, CZ Net (Critical Zone Exploration Network called CZO until December 2020), which includes 9 Critical Zone Observatories (US CZO). CZ Net is a programme designed to encourage the development of collaborations with other international Critical Zone networks, either by restructuring existing geoscience-focused networks or by launching calls for projects to encourage multidisciplinary approaches between observatories.
OZCAR also has links with other international networks :
– the German TERENO network (Terrestrial Environmental Observatories)
– the Australian TERN network (Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network)
– the Canadian GIWS network (Global Institute for Global Security)
– the Sino-English Critical Zone Consortium, NERC CZO (NERC: Natural Environment Research Council)
The OZCAR TERENO international conference
The OZCAR RI is also forging links with other European networks, such as the German network of terrestrial environmental observatories “TERENO”.
OZCAR RI and the German TERENO network are actively collaborating to organise the international conference on the Critical Zone, the OZCAR TERENO/TERENO OZCAR conference. This conference is held every two years, alternating between France and Germany. The first OZCAR TERENO conference took place from 4 to 8 October 2021 in Strasbourg (https://ozcartereno2020.sciencesconf.org/) – see the conference report in the annual OZCAR newsletter 2022 on page 8. The second OZCAR TERENO conference is scheduled to take place at the GSI Centre in Bonn from 25 to 28 September 2023 (https://www.tereno-conference2023.de/en).
The Critical Zone workshop at the AGU Fall Meeting
Every year since 2019, the American (CZNet, DOE Watersheds), German (TERENO) and Canadian (GIWS) networks have joined forces to organise a Critical Zone workshop within the AGU Fall Meeting. Three workshops have already been organised in 2019, 2020 and 2021. You can find a summary of these workshops in the annual OZCAR newsletter.
International projects on the Critical Zone
OZCAR RI’s international activities also include the support for the preparation of calls for projects. This is illustrated by the launch of the Coordinated Research Action (CRA) “Soil sustainability” – Soils 2020, of the Belmont Forum, released in the first quarter of 2020, which has enabled the funding of six projects including the “ABRESO” project – (see OZCAR newsletter 2021 page 37 and OZCAR newsletter 2023/ ABRESO project page 43).
Critical Zones and Art
The OZCAR RI has been involved in the organisation of the “ Critical Zones ” exhibition at the ZKM (Centre for Art and Media) in Karlsruhe, Germany, from 23 May 2020 to 28 October 2021. This exhibition invites us to look at the critical situation of the Earth in different ways (scientific, artistic, philosophical) and to explore new ways of coexisting between all forms of life. The central hall of the museum houses the CZO Observatory Space, a recreation of the Strengbach observatory in the Vosges forest (OHGE/OZCAR RI observatory). The institute IPGP, the OZCAR research infrastructure, the project Equipex CRITEX and the start-up EXTRALAB, born at the IPGP, contributed to this project with artists for the production of multimedia versions of the scientific content of this observatory. Several scientists from the OZCAR network also attended the virtual opening festival of the exhibition (Link to the Virtual Exhibition and article on the Critical exhibition in the OZCAR newsletter 2021, page 24).