The European Commission has officially established the Aerosols, Clouds, and Trace Gases Research Infrastructure as a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ACTRIS-ERIC)in the field of atmospheric science. The new entity will address today’s biggest societal and economic challenges, such as those related to air quality, climate change and protection from environmental risks.
The initiative consists of a wide network of national observatories and facilities distributed across 17 countries. A leading role is played by Finland, which will coordinate the project and host the statutory seat, and Italy, which will manage the access to services.
With its observation sites, ACTRIS will make up the largest multi-site atmospheric research infrastructure in the world, offering all users – regardless of their affiliation, area of expertise or field of activity – open access to instruments, expertise, training opportunities and data management services.
The creation of the new research infrastructure is the result of a process that started in 2011. “Thanks to concentrated international cooperation, in just ten years we have been able to build and make operational state-of-the-art scientific instruments that open up unprecedented opportunities for breakthrough discoveries,” said Paolo Laj, interim ACTRIS scientific chair. “ACTRIS is consolidating its position in the national, European and international landscapes, expanding its role as a key player supporting environmental research. Quality of services, open innovation culture and agility to respond to demand from user communities will enhance the level of trust, integrity and confidence between ACTRIS and its partners,” Laj added.
On the Italian side, the setting up of ACTRIS-ERIC received fundamental support from the Ministry of University and Research (MUR), which allocated more than 26 million euros over a period of 5 years, contributing not only to the implementation of the observatories and central facilities, but also to the training of young researchers in the field of atmospheric science.
The Italian scientific community takes part in the project through the National Research Council (CNR), the National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (ENEA), Federico II University of Naples, University of L’Aquila, University of Salento, University of Urbino, and the National Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN).