The Technology Centre (TC) will help AnaEE platforms to master new techniques and to stay up-to-date with cutting-edge technologies leading to new understanding of processes. Core activities of the TC include:

Harmonization and upgrade of the instruments and procedures across AnaEE platforms

Technology Working Groups (TWGs) will be set up to gather internationally renowned scientists. TWGs will develop experimental procedures and measurements, in order to standardize acquisition methods and data across National Platforms as well as push for and adopt new developments. This will include experimental designs, instrumentation, sampling, measurement procedures and calibrations. The TC will provide references for cross comparison calibrations and will ensure that AnaEE procedures are aligned, and even lead, other international infrastructure standards.

One analytical platform which has applied to AnaEE has a recognised expertise in the development of soil biological indicators based on innovative measurement methods of enzymatic activities. Most of these methods are currently mature and standardised (i.e. ISO FDIS 20130) and in situation of transfer to experimental platforms in order to develop soil agroecological diagnostic and advice. Expected benefit is in the development of more sensitive biologically-oriented indicators of soil health which will support improvements in management practices of this important non-renewable resource. 

Organization of technology foresight workshops and technology sessions

Technology foresight workshops will bring together TWGs, relevant industries and specialists upstream of the instrumentation used in AnaEE platforms (physics, chemistry, ITC) or other disciplines where such instrumentation is further developed (medicine, high energy physics, space science). Together, they will determine which new technology to develop or adapt to the needs of ecosystems science.

Development of innovative technology and spin off to the industry

The Centre pursues both demand-driven innovation (identifying solutions to specific technical needs) and supply-driven innovation (identifying potential users). Technological developments will either be carried out by national platforms or in the labs (physics, chemistry, computer sciences) mastering the fundamental technology, and/or jointly with private companies. Conversely, AnaEE will provide a European-wide testbed for external innovations. The centre will assist AnaEE platforms in supporting innovative local SMEs and start-ups and will take part in negotiating consulting agreements as part of public-private partnerships.

The first demonstration project of the TC could consist in developing and validating a novel soil water sampler/analyser system to obtain continuous in situ measurements of soil hydro-chemical properties to enhance site-based hydrological modelling. This can be done by making innovative use of a new porous steel soil water sampler (from PRENART Equipment ApS) combined with a novel DMR programmable unit fitted with sensors for automatic, in situ soil-water retention curve estimation, followed by plot scale logging of moisture content and potentially nutrient and gas concentrations. The equipment will be installed in a small set of open-air installations varying with respect to climate and soil properties exploiting the distributed nature of the RIs. The aim will be to demonstrate the utility of the novel sensor system for a range of ecosystem and soil types with a proven relationship to ecosystem services/benefits. The societal benefits are improved real-time data of ecosystem properties which influence resilience of vegetation/crops/trees to a rapidly changing water cycle which could provide the basis of early warning systems. 

Training sessions

The TC will organize training sessions of the users, either scientific or industrial. Training sessions will include theoretical and practical workshops, seminars, or intensive courses. Training activities will primarily target AnaEE platform personnel. Platform managers will be trained in industry policy, with particular emphasis on Intellectual Property Rights policy. 

Feeding of the Technology section of the AnaEE portal

The portal will feature the list of the TWG, their respective activities, and reports (for the public part). It will make widely available AnaEE standards and recommended protocols, calibration procedures, cross-calibrations and reference sensors information. The interactive technical forum will facilitate exchanges between platform personnel so that partner companies and scientists may compare demand and the availability of technical solutions.

The TC will be hosted by the University of Copenhagen, Denmark.