Publicador de contenidos

Back to 2017_05_22_CIE_lifewatch

LifeWatch-ERIC, the only European research infrastructure based in Spain, opens in Seville

Directed by University professor Jesús Miguel Santamaría, it aims to halt the loss of biodiversity with an budget of 64 million €.

Image description
Professor Jesús Miguel Santamaría (right), director of LifeWatch, together with the authorities at the event of presentation in Seville.
PHOTO: Courtesy
22/05/17 15:42 Laura Juampérez

Seville hosts the launch of LifeWatch-ERIC, the only European research infrastructure based in Spain, in an event at position of the administrative assistant of state for research, development and Innovation, Carmen Vela, and the professor of the University of Navarra and president of this platform, Jesús Miguel Santamaría. During this event, the director general for research and Innovation of the European Commission, Robert-Jan Smits, will present a plaque commemorating the establishment of the infrastructure.

LifeWatch's goal consists of determining the factors involved in the loss of biodiversity in order to try to slow down this process. To this end, different virtual environments will be created on research that will give rise to predictive models. These will take into account that the global change we are witnessing affects both rural and urban environments, at terrestrial, marine-fluvial and atmospheric levels. All this with an initial budget is 64 million euros. "At the moment, six European countries are participating in it and another six are acting as observers. In Spain, moreover, some thirty entities have already joined LifeWatch, including the University of Navarra, since the platform is an unbeatable opportunity to attract European funds to our regions", explains Professor Santamaría, Full Professor of Chemistry Analítica.

15% of Spanish species live in Navarre

On the occasion of the International Day of Biological Diversity, Professor Santamaría underlines the relevance that Navarra could have within this platform of research: "Navarra has a great climatic variety that confers a high biodiversity Degree . In fact, we have 3 biogeographic regions, 9 ecological districts, 44 types of ecosystems, 53 habitats of interest, 3 natural parks and 42 sites of community interest (SCIs) integrated in the network Natura 2000".

Of all the animal species cited in the Iberian Peninsula -40,000, of which 38,000 are insects and only 1,723 are vertebrates-, 6,000 species, 15%, correspond to Navarra, as can be deduced from the data available at the Museum of Natural Sciences of the University of Navarra. "These figures indicate that the region is a biodiversity hotspot on a European scale and, therefore, a strategic destination for projects and grants within H2020 and the JRU-LW-ES, the Joint research Unit that we have created in Spain and which Navarra could join", says the professor of the Degree of Environment and Biology of the academic center.

Likewise, the expert points out that participation in these infrastructures also provides very positive visibility of the different regions at international level, can generate employment in the future -staff working in ICT, companies for the development of sensors, environmental consultancies, etc. - and can mobilize ERDF funds to co-finance different projects.