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A network of national and regional organisations programming and funding pan-European research that offers innovative opportunities for the conservation and sustainable management of biodiversity
Biodiversity scientific research has demonstrated that the loss and degradation of ecosystem services are accelerating at an unprecedented rate and at a global scale. These damages impact not only the natural world but also human society. It is therefore imperative that biodiversity science receives the support it needs to offer practical solutions to these major problems. BiodivERsA is responding to this need by building a dynamic, sustainable platform to identify the most pressing strategic issues for biodiversity. It supports and promotes excellence in biodiversity research that is relevant to biodiversity policy and management, at a European transnational scale. BiodivERsA is funded under Horizon 2020 (ERA-NET COFUND scheme), the EU Research and Innovation programme.
Since biodiversity questions cross national borders and disciplines, BiodivERsA supports collaboration of multinational teams of scientists. This principle was at the core of BiodivERsA's mission and activity at its launch in 2005. At that time, 20 partners from 13 European countries implemented the initiative. In November 2010, at the start of its second phase, BiodivERsA welcomed new partners and grew to a network of 21 partners from 15 European countries. In 2015, BiodivERsA entered its third phase and currently gathers 32 of the main biodiversity research funders in 21 different countries, both from the European mainland and overseas.
The Network provides the funding, focus and networking opportunities for biodiversity researchers to work efficiently on a variety of projects that contribute to the understanding of biodiversity dynamics. It also explores innovative solutions for the use, conservation and sustainable management of biological resources. The driving objective of BiodivERsA is to develop a sustainable mechanism to promote strategic cooperation in biodiversity research and related disciplines at a European scale.
From mapping activities to the development of a common strategic roadmap
Through the analysis of national, European and international research strategies on biodiversity and ecosystem services, the mapping of the European research landscape and the liaison with main European and international initiatives, BiodivERsA partners identify shared priorities and develop a common strategy. These activities allow the development of a strategic roadmap with a multi-annual vision to support pan-European research on biodiversity and ecosystem services.
BiodivERsA has also developed a database that provides biodiversity research managers and coordinators with access to information on current and past European funding programmes and associated funded projects, allowing them to analyse funding trends, as well as existing gaps and future needs for research programmes.
Funding high quality research projects
Based on the priority topics identified in its strategic roadmap, BiodivERsA regularly launches pan-European calls for research proposals. It funds medium-sized pan-European research projects (usually 3 to 7 partners), selected for both their scientific excellence and societal/policy relevance.
The network acts as a powerful financial lever to encourage national agencies to collectively fund research projects on a pan-European scale. Since its creation in 2005, BiodivERsA has already launched 6 calls for proposals for a total amount of 160 million euro (including 80 million euro of money directly raised by BiodivERsA partners and the European Commission).
The involvement of stakeholders throughout the entire research process
BiodivERsA promotes the engagement of stakeholders all along the research process, from co-design and implementation of programmes to the dissemination of research results, as well as through the involvement of stakeholders in the design and implementation of funded projects. BiodivERsA has developed various tools (including workshops, the Stakeholder Engagement Handbook, etc.) to help researchers identify and involve stakeholders in their research projects and thus enhance the impact of their work.
BiodivERsA also enhances the dissemination of results and transfers knowledge to stakeholders and policy makers. This is achieved for instance through the development of policy briefs with recommendations for policy-makers linking the new knowledge generated by projects funded by BiodivERsA to major European policies, or through the preparation and dissemination of synthetic analyses of academic and societally relevant outputs of its funded projects.