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Back to Berlin: eLTER Scientific Advisory Board and Steering Committee meeting

23 January 2023

Between 29 November and 1 December, eLTER held its first hybrid Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) and Steering Committees (SC) meeting in Berlin. 25 members of the SC and 5 members of the SAB met physically at the Berlin Office of the Helmholtz Association joined by 60online participants from research performing organisations during a dedicated half day info session.

Michel Mirtl, co-coordinator of eLTER, opened the meeting with the following
inspiring words:

“This meeting marks a milestone in several aspects. Berlin was the last place before the Pandemic where we met physically and 33 months later it is again Berlin where we meet after Covid. We have experienced the two long years with Covid, and its diverse consequences to our projects have been extremely evident.

The meeting in Berlin is the opportunity for everyone to discuss and clarify these matters, either bilaterally, in groups or in the plenary. Our plea is not to withhold any important matters or feelings. This explicitly contains matters of coordination and leadership. Hopefully, we can work on solutions to the concerns and take crucial steps forward towards the operational eLTER RI.”

During the three days of meetings, Steering committees first discussed focal topics including “Legal matters, Governance, Finance implications of the design”, “Service Portfolio & Thematic Service Areas” and “Standard Observations & Methods”. These were then presented to the Scientific Advisory Board who critically but constructively commented on both current actions and future needs.

Updating the Research Performing Organisations that have provided support for eLTER on the achievements and status of the eLTER ESFRI process was also an important target of the meeting. Registrations from over 80 organisations in 22 countries reflect the high interest on eLTER activities and hopefully indicate continuous support from the institutions potentially hosting future eLTER Sites.

The lively discussions demonstrated the need for more face-to-face meetings, but it was not all work, there was also time for some fun. The eLTER Head Office had prepared some games, such as the acronym test, designed to check how people deal with the ever-growing number of abbreviations – WAILS, RPO, ESFRI, FAIR, etc.

Red City Hall in Berlin