Purpose and scope
The core of the LTER Europe mission includes production and delivery of sound scientific information, predictive understanding of ecological and socio-economic processes, communication of this knowledge to the scientific community, policy makers, and society in general. It also comprises the development of solutions to environmental problems on the local, national, European and global scale. Science is also a main driver of LTER Europe integration, harmonization and network development - in terms of attracting and producing new ideas, top scientists, the best projects and international cooperation. Sound, novel science can be the best advertisement of the network, way to resent its potential for collecting data, interpreting environmental information and synthesize it to fulfill the needs of scientists, stakeholders and the publics. It is also one of key ways to provide incentives to member countries, sites, platforms and individuals. Finally science should be a sign of recognition of the network that helps it to achieve the leading position in Europe and become one of the most important stakeholders on the global map.
In order to assure development of sound and need-driven science, LTER Europe appointed the Scientific Strategy Expert Panel (SSEP).
The SSEP is in charge of three aspects of LTER:
1. building a framework and strategy basing on the strengths of the network and emerging opportunities;
2. providing tools to support environmental and interdisciplinary science, and;
3. establishing links to external scientific and policy community.
The strategy builds upon LTER identity and uniqueness, formulates vision which LTER members can identify with, defines milestones and the roadmap to meet the vision, and supports three lines of research activities already existing in the network: i) basic ecosystem research, ii) biodiversity and nature conservation, and iii) socio-ecological and socio-economic research.
Thus on the field of strategy development, the main responsibilities of SSEP include (in priority order):
- developing programmes for three lines of LTER activities,
- organization of LTER scientific events (conferences and workshops)
- advertising science and development of critical scientific alliances and contacts
- building a bridge between monitoring and research
- development of projects consolidating scientific potential of the network.