Integrated European
Long-Term Ecosystem, critical zone and
socio-ecological Research

Second eLTER Interim Council: Adopting a Strategic Plan and appointing a Chair

27 September 2021

The second eLTER Interim Council took place from 29-30 June 2021 with 50 representatives of 19 countries and the project’s Steering committee.

Among the important decisions taken during the meeting were the election of Kevin Bishop (Sweden) as the Chair, and Daniel Weselka (Austria) as the Vice-Chair, and the approval of the eLTER RI Strategic Plan and the eLTER Central Services host selection process.

Members decided to direct the Strategic Plan towards both European and global audiences. Although the initiative is rooted in Europe, its ambition is to contribute towards the solving environmental issues more widely. eLTER builds upon ESFRI recommendations to reach a comprehensive and inclusive agreement on its vision, mission, and strategic goals.

Michael Mirtl (eLTER PPP coordinator) reported on the progress with the ESFRI process, and Marjut Kaukolehto (eLTER PPP WP2) presented the eLTER governance plan for discussion.

Special attention was paid to the coordination between central governance, National RIs, Sites and Platforms and the eLTER Sites and Platforms Forum. It was agreed that eLTER will explore the relevant experiences of similar international RIs and will elaborate integrated governance options before the 3rd Interim Council.

Among the other topics discussed during the meeting were: the eLTER Standard Observations scheme and consultation process; the eLTER Service Portfolio; eLTER RI Cost Book and Cost-Benefit Analysis; eLTER PPP Scientific and Strategic Advisory Board; and last but not least, eLTER success stories.

The Interim Council utilized the sociocracy method of working, also known as dynamic governance. This is a system of decision-making which seeks to create psychologically safe environments and productive organizations. It is distinguished by aiming at consent, rather than majority voting, in discussion and decision-making. This approach avoids voting deadlock and the search for impossible perfect decisions.

Answers from Mentimeter on the question: What is your personal impression about this meeting?

At the end of the meeting, the participants had the chance to give feedback on the event. The words “informative”, “efficient”, “professional”, “complex”, etc. were used to describe the two days of intense work. However, there was also constructive criticism with two points standing out: the need for a face-to-face meeting and better coffee (since only virtual coffee was available). eLTER will strive to improve upon those requests for the next Interim Council if anti-pandemic measures allow.

Participants of the Second eLTER Interim Council, 29-30 June 2021