28 February 2024

The beginning of 2024 saw the kickoff meetings for three new ICOS-related Horizon Europe projects. ICOS is coordinating New Users for a Better ICOS (NUBICOS), and is participating in two new ENVRI projects: ENVRINNOV and ENVRI Hub NEXT.


NUBICOS aims to strengthen the whole ICOS community by improving data pipelines, welcome a new generation of ICOS community members and further tie ICOS to the RI landscape.

The “new users” in question can be broken down into three main categories:

Satellite observation community: NUBICOS will help users of satellite and EM27 observations by linking remote sensing products to ICOS dataEM27 is a light total column observation device used for ground-based remote sensing. Total column carbon observations can help augment ground-based and remote observations.

NUBICOS will develop a new layer of data processing for full automation and faster data provision from existing open access software performing the retrieval of the EM27 data. This work will complement the Total Carbon Column Observing Network (TCCON) and help link ICOS in-situ observations to CO2 satellite data. 

Global community: Modelers are increasingly using global greenhouse gas data for activities such as:

  • Assimilation of atmospheric concentration data to analyse concentrations in places without in situ observations
  • Analysing fluxes from ecosystems and oceans and radiocarbon data for verifying which parts of the carbon cycle are natural and which come from fossil fuels
  • Verifying model results
  • Development of model parametrisations in under-observed areas

NUBICOS wants to improve and share ICOS protocols with the global modeling community to ensure European standards are useful and usable. This will be achieved through a comparison of ICOS protocols with those of our international partners to ensure results are comparable. NUBICOS will also provide new observation instructions for stations in tropical environments with specific temperatures, humidity and infrastructural needs.

Ocean community: NUBICOS will establish new parameters in ICOS ocean observations (dissolved oxygen, total alkalinity and pH) and will pilot the use of Autonomous Surface Vehicles (ASVs) to gauge their viability in Europe. The operational patterns of these vehicles will be identified by testing how often they operate, where they can (or cannot) operate, what is their range, their capacity, and whether there is space for carbonate chemistry equipment and additional greenhouse gas analysers.

The ASV tests will complement developments being made in the GEORGE project, as well as the efforts of individual scientists in the ICOS Ocean Monitoring Station Assembly (MSA). The data will improve our understanding of ocean-atmosphere fluxes, particularly in coastal areas. New parameters are needed for assessing different aspects of global change in oceans, including ocean acidification.

How will ICOS be made “better”?

  • Data: ICOS data pipelines will be made smoother.
  • People: People are placed at the centre of NUBICOS. Community engagement activities aim to foster a new generation of ICOS community members. This will be facilitated through summer schools aimed at earlier career scientists in collaboration with WMO.
  • RI Landscape: NUBICOS will work with impact assessment methods and tie ICOS to the wider RI world.

The project is funded by Horizon Europe under Call: HORIZON-INFRA-2023-DEV-01 (Grant Number 101130676). 

Screenshot of NUBICOS kickoff
Still from the NUBICOS online kick-off meeting

ICOS is also participating in 2 new ENVRI projects developing the collaboration of Environmental Research Infrastructures and integrate their services

The face-to-face kickoff for ENVRINNOV took place in January at The Cyprus Institute in Nicosia, Cyprus. 

ENVRINNOV and aims to co-design, test, and validate a common Innovation Roadmap for the ENVRI community. This roadmap will set a credible pathway for the ENVRI community to establish and operate an ENVRI Innovation Hub (EIH), for the future development of new state-of-the-art technologies and services. The project will also develop the tools, policies, and community necessary for the roadmap’s successful implementation. It is a 3-year project coordinated by the Cyprus Institute. 

In this project, ICOS is coordinating stakeholder engagement activities and participating in the building of the innovation hub and communicating about it through the already established ENVRI Community channels. 

The project is funded by Horizon Europe under Call: HORIZON-INFRA-2023-DEV-01 (Grant Number 101131426). 

Read more about ENVRINNOV on the ENVRI community website.

Happy faces and a feline friend at the ENVRINNOV kick-off in Cyprus

The face-to-face kickoff for ENVRI-Hub NEXT took place at the EGI Foundation in Amsterdam’s Science Park. 

ENVRI-Hub NEXT aims to expand multidisciplinary environmental sciences by fostering operational synergies between the participating ENVRIs and beyond. The project leverages synergies in data and services provision, enhancing the integration of cutting-edge information technology and contributing to a more integrated, productive, and globally competitive ENVRI science cluster. The project is coordinated by the EGI Foundation and is set to run until January 2027, contributing to the European Open Science Cloud and promoting collaboration across environmental research infrastructures.

In this project, ICOS participation is twofold. ICOS Carbon Portal is leading the work on metadata catalogue development and the implementation of Fair Data Points for Essential Climate Variables. Additionally, ICOS Head Office is contributing to the communication and dissemination of the project through the ENVRI Community channels for example through developing success stories to highlight project outcomes. 

The project is coordinated by EGI Foundation, and funded by Horizon Europe under Call: HORIZON-INFRA-2023-DEV-01 (Grant Number 101131141).

Read more about ENVRI-Hub NEXT on the ENVRI community website.

ENVRI-Hub NEXT kickoff
Photo from the ENVRI-Hub NEXT kick-off meeting in Amsterdam's Science Park