Collaboration across borders

Collaboration has always been at the core of TERN’s approach to advancing Australian ecosystem science – and borders have proved to be no barrier, as TERN seeks opportunities to share knowledge, expertise and experience with collaborators from around the world.

Later this year, TERN’s Director, Professor Tim Clancy, will travel to Venice to attend the Scientific User Forum of the Analysis and Experimentation on Ecosystems (AnaEE) infrastructure. AnaEE is a new distributed-infrastructure network to support ecosystem research in the European Union. Currently in its preparatory phase, AnaEE will move to a construction phase in 2014. At this juncture its members are seeking to learn from the experiences of TERN in planning, building and running a distributed ecosystem research infrastructure network.

‘It’s a pleasure to be invited to attend the AnaEE meeting, to be able to share the learnings from TERN with the ecosystem science community in Europe,’ Tim says.

‘Globally, TERN and AnaEE’s predecessor, ExpEER, have been some of the first cabs off the rank among those implementing integrated infrastructure that support terrestrial ecosystem research. The challenges of combining experimental, observational, informatics, analytical and modelling infrastructure is something we are both confronting. We’ve achieved much in a short time, and we want others to have the benefit of learning from our experience and achievements as well as understand what has worked in other contexts.’

TERN is also playing a key role in guiding the development of international approaches and infrastructure for supporting synthesis in ecosystem science. TERN’s Australian Centre for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (ACEAS) is leading a gathering of similar centres in a unique meeting of minds in October. Hosted with the Centre for Synthesis and Analysis of Biodiversity (CESAB) in France, the meeting will provide the first opportunity for the leaders of synthesis centres from around the world to meet to compare practices and processes, and identify ways to collaborate.

The Director of ACEAS, Associate Professor Alison Specht, hopes the meeting will lead to new initiatives for trans-centre approaches,

‘This meeting will enable reflections on the value of the synthesis-centre approach, the best ways we can measure the impact of synthesis centres on research endeavours, and how synthesis centres might evolve,’ Alison says.

In addition to the strategic leadership TERN is offering through these collaborative opportunities, the network continues to support a wealth of strong links between the Australian and European ecosystem science communities at the grassroots. The International Congress of Ecology, hosted by the British Ecological Society in London this month, included a wide range of presentations from Australian researchers who have been using TERN’s infrastructure. Representatives of TERN’s Australian Coastal Ecosystems Facility will also present at the International Conference on Marine Data and Information Systems in Italy in September.

These opportunities to present Australian ecosystem science to the world are another important facet of advancing Australia’s research standing globally. Anyone interested in collaborating further with TERN can contact the Director of Collaborations and Partnerships, Associate Professor Nikki Thurgate.

Published in TERN e-Newsletter August 2013

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