Introduction to the ERA4CS call


The ERA-NET “European Research Area for Climate Services” (ERA4CS) is a network of 45 partner organisations: 15 public Research Funding Organisations (RFOs), and 30 Research Performing Or-ganisations (RPOs) from 18 European countries designed to boost the development of efficient Climate Services (CS) in Europe. Most partners come from countries participating in the Joint Pro-gramming Initiative JPI Climate on “Connecting Climate Knowledge for Europe” (, a collaboration of 16 European countries coordinating their climate research to inform and enable the transition to a low emission, climate resilient economy, society and environment in line with Europe’s long-term climate policy objectives.

ERA4CS is funded as an ERA-NET Co-fund action under the European Union´s Horizon 2020 Frame-work Program (Grant Agreement number 690462). Its partners intend to develop a durable collab-oration in research funding policy and practices, thereby creating added value in high quality re-search contributing to the development of the European Research Area for CS. To improve user adoption of and satisfaction with CS, the overall aim is to research and advance CS development by supporting scientific research for developing better tools, methods and standards on how to produce, transfer, communicate and use reliable climate information to cope with current and future climate variability and change across national boundaries.

The present joint call on “Researching and Advancing Climate Services Development“ will be fi-nanced by ERA4CS partners contributing either by cash funding (RFOs, Topic A) or by in-kind re-sources (RPOs, Topic B) plus co-funding on both topics from the European Commission. A total budget of about 72 Mio € has been provisionally allocated for this call to support 3 years research projects.

What are Climate Services?

Easily accessible, timely, and decision-relevant scientific information can help society to cope with current and future climate variability and change in order to limit climate-related economic, social and ecological impacts and damages. This includes information about Climate Change (CC) mitiga-tion, adaptation and disaster risk management. Effective CS also allow society to take advantage of transformation opportunities, to build resilience to CC, to support a sustainable development and to contribute to a climate–resilient and climate-friendly society. CS could address wide timescales, i.e. month to century time-scale, going beyond current operational weather services.

There are different definitions of CS, which is a consequence of the wide variety of stakeholders and needs, as well differing functions of the organisations that deliver CS. ERA4CS uses the concept of CS in a broad sense, namely as user driven development, translation and transfer of climate knowledge, including knowledge for understanding the climate, CC and its impacts, as well as guid-ance in its use to researchers and to decision-makers in policy and business.

The aim is to respond to the increasing demand from stakeholders for usable information and solu-tions about CC impacts, vulnerability, risks and opportunities, their uncertainties and probabilities and options for actions. These stakeholders can include e.g. decision‐makers in enterprises, NGOs, policy makers from various levels (transnational, national, regional and local), as well as scientists using the data for impact and applied research, but also citizens and consumers.

This variety reflects a wide scope of “user needs” in which information requirements may differ significantly. CS should thus be tailored to meet specific needs of various sectors as well as cross-sectoral requirements. They are meant to communicate climate knowledge in a way that it is scien-tifically sound and easily understood, facilitating decision making, and integrating it into the broader context of societal, economic and environmental changes.

Climate Services therefore need to be developed in a solution-oriented approach working with stakeholders and practitioners. As a result, users should also influence the development of CS and the underpinning research by defining their needs and developing specific requests for CS (usually referred to as “co-development”). This feedback loop should improve the research for CS.

ERA4CS in the European Climate Services landscape

The CS landscape (in Europe) is shaped by a variety of fields and actors as shown in Figure 1 (adapted from the “Horizon 2020 Societal Challenge 5 Advisory Group Report 2014”). This schematic shows the interlinks and –dynamics of CS which range from societal needs (right side) to scientific information (left side). Fundamental information should be translated, from climate science, to analysis of CC impacts, and combined with socio-economic and demographic information, to identify vulnerabilities and risks. Further “translation” towards the end user communities can be facilitated by “knowledge brokers”. The added value can lead to market development from business and wider decision-making perspectives. This reinforces the “service demand” which represents a strong feedback to stimulate and support scientific knowledge development.

ERA4CS represents a significant contribution to the implementation of the European Roadmap for Climate Services. It is expected to both, contribute to benefit from and complement linked initiatives within the European landscape. These are e.g. the WP 2016/17 H2020 SC5 Actions on CS market research to exploit CS added value, to improve regional climate modelling or to access Earth observations, Actions resulting from the WP2014/15 calls for Climate Adaptation and Climate Ser-vices of H2020, the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) focusing on essential climate variables, climate information provision, data access facilitation and operational climate service delivery primarily for policy makers and public authorities, or European and national CC adaptation knowledge platforms and portals, like e.g. Climate-ADAPT or Climate-KIC projects. The aspects which are addressed by this call within this landscape are displayed in green in the below figure.

Figure 1: Simplified Climate Service Landscape in Europe for the period 2015-2017.The main focus of the 2016 ERA4CS call is displayed in green, and is related to complementary roles of other main European initiatives (H2020 WP 2016-2017 SC5 Actions, the 2015 JPI Climate call on Climate pre-dictability and interregional linkages, Copernicus Climate Change Service, EIT/Climate-KIC).