The SIOS-PP project is a 3-year project which will prepare the ground to build up and operate a multi-disciplinary, multi-national and multi-platform research infrastructure as a strong and independent body, yet based on the substantial cooperation that already exists today on Svalbard and in the context of international networks within which the various partners are active.
The list of work packages reflects on one side the challenges posed to all the ESFRI initiatives which are:
- to establish a legal and organisational framework that allows SIOS to operate as an EU infrastructure over a multi-year time scale;
- to achieve funding commitments for both the build-up (investment) and the operation phase of the infrastructure at an international level (EU, associated and third states);
- to take the necessary steps to establish SIOS as a significant element of the EU Polar and environmental research efforts, through the provision of unique research facilities giving access for scientists, and by establishing a regional network function for other ESFRI initiatives,.
On the other hand, tasks have to be addressed that are specific to a cross-disciplinary research community tied to the Arctic and to the underlying topic of Earth System Science:
- the location in the high Arctic with its harsh environment and the distributed nature of the facilities, requiring a special focus on all aspects of logistics;
- the “historically grown landscape” of national research stations and national priority topics requiring a carefully constructed methodology to develop harmonization and internal integration and cooperation;
- the unique coupling to Earth Observation/Remote Sensing, recognising technical, scientific and application considerations;
- the strategic importance of integration of Arctic research within the EU, reflected in the large number of other ESFRI initiatives that will have activities in the region, and the ambition to move towards a pan-Arctic Sustained Arctic Observing Network.
The non-EU-funded activities (work packages A, B, and C) address mainly the definition of the scientific framework and an assessment of necessary additional infrastructure to support such research. This work was initiated in 2009 as it was assumed this would require a considerable amount of time and efforts, given the existing level and scope of activities on Svalbard. Early completion of this assessment will be essential in order to develop realistic and robust investment and logistic strategies for SIOS. Norway will, in addition, contribute a special assessment of the role of the Svalbard Treaty in the establishment of SIOS and establish general guidelines for new scientific activities in the framework of SIOS, addressing environmental legislation appertaining to the archipelago.
The relationships between the 9 EC-funded work packages and the 3 work packages based on Norwegian funding are shown in the Pert diagram below. The latter feed directly into five of the eight EC funded work packages concerned with developing the SIOS framework whilst the project management (WP 1) coordinates and oversees all these packages.
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