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The International Centre for Advanced Studies on River-Sea Systems (DANUBIUS-RI) will be a distributed research infrastructure that brings together world leading expertise  and provides access to a range of river-sea systems, facilities and expertise, to provide a ‘one-stop shop’ for knowledge exchange, access to harmonized data, a platform for interdisciplinary research, education and training and hence provide answers to questions regarding sustainable management and environmental protection of the RS continuum. The component of the infrastructure of DANUBIUS-RI are: the  Hub located in Murighiol Romania, 4 nodes: UK (Observation Node), Germany (Analysis Node), Italy (Modelling Node) and The Netherlands (Impact Node) and 12 supersites located in River Rhine, River Rhone/Meuse delta, Guadalquivir estuary, Tay catchment, Upper Danube Austria, Thames estuary, Nestos, Po Delta, Szigetkoz, Elbe-North Sea Supersite, Ebro Llobregat, Danube Delta), a Technology Transfer Office located in Ireland,  Data Centre located in Romania. Click to enlarge the map.

In addition to those 20 components, DANUBIUS-RI can also count on Accredited Service Providers (ASPs) – i.e. research institutions or other organisations contributing to DANUBIUS-RI with scientific expertise (staff), equipment or data.
Accredited Service Providers, i.e. research institutions with excellent expertise but with no leadership in a Node, Supersite or Supporting facility. ASPs are associated to activities and services within the Nodes.


A central facility of DANUBIUS-RI, the Hub serves as the DANUBIUS-ERIC headquarters.

The Hub will provide leadership and governance, coordination and standardization activities, communication with other RIs and major stakeholders, and key scientific, educational and analytical capabilities. It will be the gateway to the natural laboratory of Europe`s largest protected coastal wetland, and facilitate access to the Lower Danube and Black Sea.

The Hub will be the main responsible for communication with external RIs, to facilitate communication among Nodes and with the main stakeholders of DANUBIUS-RI, as well as to ensure key scientific, educational and analytical capabilities.

Thus, the DANUBIUS-RI Infrastructure Hub will respond to the need for internationalization of the interdisciplinary research, providing a „one-stop access point” for sharing knowledge and good practices, access to standardized harmonized data, a platform for interdisciplinary research, education and professional training.
Therefore, it will be able to provide answers to the questions on sustainable management and the protection of the river-sea environment (RS) in the context of the local development needs.

The Hub will be responsible for the organizational, technical and coordination interactions with nodes and other ESFRI RI Projects and Landmarks and will coordinate standards development and implementation through the DANUBIUS Commons Committee.

The Hub will also coordinate the services run from the DANUBIUS-RI Nodes and it will coordinate and support the governance groups (Scientific Advisory Board, Nodes Committee, Data Centre committee, technical committees).  It will ensure a common language and constant dialog among the Supersite, as well as between Nodes and Supersites and will manage policy and outreach and will deliver services as ASP.

The hub will ensure that the general public, press and media are aware of the DANUBIUS-RI, its mission, goals and achievements.

The Hub will ensure that DANUBIUS-RI is represented appropriately in discussions with the European Commission such that can be aware of calls and help secure funding.

The Hub will ensure ensure that the Scientific Advisory board has all the relevant information about DANUBIUS-RI.

The Hub will ensure that DANUBIUS-RI is aware of the latest developments within ESFRI forum and working groups and keep the ESFRI member states updated on the DANUBIUS-RI progress.

The Hub will ensure that the general public, press and media are aware of the DANUBIUS-RI, its mission, goals and achievements.

The Hub will keep updated on data polices and cloud services available at the European level: GEANT, EUDAT, etc.

Drive forward DANUBIUS-RI agenda within the international community, including cooperation, collaboration and initiate international research opportunities.

The HUB will also include the facilities for callaboration with other ESFRI projects and landmarks with which there is an agreement for use of the Danube Delta Supersite:

  • greenhouse gas measurement towers – as common point with ICOS,
  • areas for experimental sites – for reeds and other aquatic / wetland plants – possible contribution for AnaEE,
  • deployment facilities for ARGO floats (proposed by DANUBIUS-RI – if needed for Euro Argo to test equipment dedicated to shallow waters at river-sea interaction zones),
  • dedicated platform in the river-sea interaction as contribution to EMSO (as agreed in the initial support letter and contacts with EMSO),
  • facilities for biota collection and storage – as possible contribution to EMBRC,
  • network of sensors for the measurement of geodynamics (from profound to superficial subsidence) –contribution to EPOS,
  • other types of facilities that may be requested by other ESFRI Research Infrastructures.

The Hub will have the competence to plan and facilitate the access to users to exploit the full potential of the DANUBIUS-RI distributed RI.

The Hub will be a support point for the services run from the DANUBIUS-RI Nodes and it will coordinate and support the governance groups (Scientific Advisory Board, Nodes Committee, Data Centre committee, Technical and Scientific committees).

Thus, the Hub will contain the administrative building of DANUBIUS-RI, office space for managers and scientists, meeting rooms, conference halls, local IT Centre and storage facilities, and will host the laboratories of the Danube Delta Supersite.

Image of the Hub A green building, a modern reinterpretation of the regional architectural values, with solar
panels and geothermal heating, with a low carbon footprint and will benefit by BSM (building management system)

Hub will act also as a European Centre to study the effects of Eutrophication

Within the Hub, the researchers will have the opportunity to study the effects of the climate changes, particularly the problem of eutrophication. The Danube Delta is the ideal place to study eutrophication:

  1. The Danube Delta represents a natural filter for the discharge of nutrients transported from almost all the Europe
  2. The nutrients discharged by the Danube into the Black Sea affect an area of ​​over 25,000 km2 per year
  3. The high temperature in this region starting at the end of spring until autumn provides the optimal conditions for the occurrence of algal blooms. This makes the Danube Delta the ideal research spot for the better understanding of the impact of eutrophication and  climate change on freshwater ecosystems

Even the process of eutrophication is known still are needed long studies, predictive models to establish the influence of climate change on this issue

The Hub will support with research the Danube Delta Supersite

The Hub will facilitate the access to the Lower Danube and the Black Sea. The scientific laboratories and scientific facilities from the Hub will support research in the area. Where appropriate these facilities will be developed with the DANUBIUS-RI nodes to ensure comparability in measurement and observation across the RI and its Supersites.

The Hub will carry out innovative projects with the private sector and will provide excellent training in relevant scientific and technical domains.
The data generated will contribute to a better understanding and management of the river-see systems.
In the Hub will work 69 researchers and 48 FTE PhD students from life, earth and socio-economic sciences and hundreds of visiting researchers per year.

Laboratories from the Hub

The research laboratories will cover entire spectrum of life sciences and geosciences, will be equipped with state of arts instruments and will provide data, expertise to users from Europe and beyond to advance our understanding of river-sea systems. Between laboratories there is a logical flow of analysis of data and information and a system of transability of samples. The laboratories are:

Sampling and Sample Handling, Genomics and Genetics, Microbiology and Phycology, Proteomics, metabolomics & specific bio-analysis, Environmental Toxicology, Bio-resources & Biodiversity Unit, Microscopy & Imaging, Geochemistry,Structural geology Stableisotopes,  Structural geology, Geophysics, Geographical Information System, Hydrochemistry,  Hydrology, Mineralogy , Radio isotopy, Sedimentology, Mechanical workshop, Electronic workshop.


The Nodes will be key components of the research infrastructure as centers of recognized thematic expertise entrusted with the task of developing, implementing and maintaining the quality of the DANUBIUS Commons in their areas of expertise. In the current configuration, Nodes are planned to cover Observation, Analysis, Modelling and Impact. Nodes will provide facilities and services, data storage and provision, experimental and in situ measurements facilities, state-of-the-art analytical capabilities and implementation of standardized procedures to users and quality control. They will provide interfaces with regional and local stakeholders, enhancing knowledge exchange and innovation. The four initial Nodes will have Leading Laboratories in the UK (Observation Node), Germany (Analysis Node), Italy (Modelling Node) and The Netherlands (Impact Node).

Observation Node

The Leading Laboratories for the Observation Node will be in the UK: Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML) and the University of Stirling (USTIR). PML will lead on operational data processing and USTIR on calibration, validation and training. The two laboratories will work together on research issues.
The Node will ensure that data are acquired and integrated from in situ sensor networks and satellites, processed and distributed. It will develop, and provide access to, state of the art analytical research facilities for bio-optics and remote sensing research. ​It will be responsible for standardization of procedures, including of instrumented buoys and sampling across supersites.

Analysis Node

The Leading Laboratory for the Analysis Node will be Technical University Dresden, Germany. The role of this Node is to ensure consistency and reliability in analytical techniques to enable a common evaluation and effective comparison between research groups operating within and between Supersites, and other observation and experimental sites. It will provide access to state-of- the-art scientific expertise, laboratories, instrumentation and methodologies to identify anthropogenic impacts and their processes and interactions. This includes analytical capability across disciplines in geology, hydrology hydro morphology, chemistry, biology, ecotoxicology and hygiene.

Modelling Node

The Leading Laboratory for the Modelling Node will be the CNR Institute for Marine Science (ISMAR) in Italy.
Numerical modelling tools are pre-requisites for delivering well-informed management information in RS systems. Modelling is one of the major services provided by DANUBIUS-RI, drawing on the inputs in particular from the Nodes and Supersites. This Node will integrate data collected from Supersites, and other observation and experimental sites, in models that simulate specific processes, interpolate between available measurements and carry out forecasts and ‘what if?’ predictions. It will provide a technological advanced platform for modelling services, in terms of software and shared data.

Impact Node

The Leading Laboratory for the Impact Node will be Deltares in the Netherlands.
It will integrate technical knowledge on RS systems (including water, subsurface and infrastructure) with governance and policy-making for problem-solving. It will develop and test concepts, methods and instruments. Methods and instruments may be focused, for example, on accelerating design and decision making (e.g. by using a decision theatre), improving quality and decreasing the costs of spatial planning in RS systems. Methods and instruments may also focus on how to better cope with uncertainties in decision making processes, how to involve stakeholders (e.g. in knowledge co-creation), and on spanning the boundaries between the different science disciplines involved in DANUBIUS-RI (e.g. by the development of a common language).


Supersites are the components of the DANUBIUS-RI distributed Research Infrastructure which will be the test beds of the DANUBIUS-RI scientifically excellent ideas, areas where the developed concepts will be refined and verified. They will provide natural laboratories for observation, research, modelling and innovation at locations of high scientific importance and opportunity, covering RS systems from river source to transitional waters and coastal seas. Ranging from the near pristine to the heavily impacted, the Supersites will be selected to provide contrasting systems across environmental, social and economic gradients that have been impacted, to varying degrees either directly or indirectly, by industrialisation, urbanisation, population expansion, land use change and farming. They   will provide interdisciplinary research platforms and identify, model and define system states and conditions for naturally and anthropogenically triggered transitions in the physical, biogeochemical and biological states. They will provide excellent opportunities to undertake social and economic investigations in contrasting settings. Architecture established for 10 supersites click for more…


Data Centre

The intensive monitoring and research that is planned within DANUBIUS-RI over the coming decades will produce a great number of physical, chemical and biological “non-digital” samples.  These samples will produce a valuable resource and could provide an internationally-important environmental archive of samples to support future research.  However, this will only be possible if the samples from each Supersite are equivalent (i.e. they are sampled, processed, preserved and stored using common or equivalent methods

The Data Centre of the DANUBIUS-RI will be the central point of the e-Infrastructure providing all services, including distributed services, through a single entrance point. The most important goals for the e-Infrastructure are: operational continuity and reliability, secure environment and long-time operation without service interruption. The continuous and long-time availability for all services provided by the DANUBIUS-RI e-Infrastructure is the main reason to build-up a dedicated Data Centre. To achieve this goal, all components of the Data Centre should comply to highest industry standards

The Data Centre of the DANUBIUS-RI will be the central point of the ICT infrastructure and the single point of access for the users to all services. Main services should include: collect all gathered data from supersites and nodes involved or associated to the infrastructure, store the all the types of data, aggregate the data from local and distributed storages, offer the necessary computing power and storage space for modelling and simulation processes and provide search functionalities to access the data.

The role of the Data Centre

The Data Centre of DANUBIUS-RI e-Infrastructure (DCD-RI) will provide a bundle of services to the research and academic community, such as, but not limited to: collect and store all gathered primary data from other supersites, sites and nodes involved or associated to the infrastructure, aggregate the data in respect of different criteria, provide the necessary computing power and storage space for modelling the data, store and classify the results of modelling with the associated metadata, provide search capabilities in accordance with different criteria.

Besides the aforementioned roles, one of the main concerns of DCD-RI will be the operational continuity; it is necessary to build a reliable digital infrastructure for IT operations in order to minimize any chance of disruption for the services provided to the DANUBIUS consortium and academic communities. Another important concern is the security, thus the data centre has to offer proactive conditions to minimize the probability of security breaches, but also to facilitate reactive actions and incident handling, if any. Therefore, DCD-RI must fulfil the highest standards to ensure the integrity and functionality of computing and storage environment, this meaning the redundancy or power supplies (including emergency backup power generators), cooling systems, networking connection systems (internal and external), as well as fire protection and security access systems.

The basic functionalities of DCD-RI will be accomplished by servers and storage systems providing the services to the consortium, transparent to the users, using adequate software solutions. There are 2 main architectures to be established: IT infrastructure (software, hardware and networking) and facility/engineering infrastructure. The access to the DCD-RI resources has to be done in accordance with the DANUBIUS Data Policy using a unique portal.


One of the important roles of IT infrastructure is to secure the access to the digital content in DCD-RI and the services provided. Therefore, a portal for access is necessary, with multiple functions, to separate access to general public data and access to confidential data and services. The portal will be the main entrance for the users, redirecting the user to the services and data assigned to his role/rights of access after he is authenticated and if authorized. The diagram of the general architecture and algorithms of the portal is shown in Figure.

The user authentication is based on a federative system of identity providers. The system provides a unified framework to allow the users access to different resources by federating the Identity Providers (IdPs) and Service Providers (SP). Thus, if the user’s partner institution owns IdP service, associated to the federation, the user will use the institutional account and password to be granted access, therefore no supplementary account is required to access DCD-RI. The authentication system of the portal asks the home institution IdP to validate the user identity. The system can be also used to authenticate users for access to other research infrastructures data.

Figure  Access diagram and the general sections of the data


Access and connectivity

The DANUBIUS-RI project is a collaborative opportunity for researchers from the European community to study water and technology. Considering the distribution of researchers throughout Europe, we can discuss issues about their connectivity and the methods of accessing resources from a data centre located in another geographic region.

By using GEANT services – the pan-European research and education network that interconnects Europe’s National Research and Education Networks (NRENs), the collecting sites, processing sites and storage sites of useful data within the project can be interconnected. Depending on the degree of importance and needed security of the data transmitted between the sites, it is possible to use services provided by GEANT through a Layer 3 Virtual Private Network (L3VPN), which add security by isolating specific traffic between the sites from the usual IP traffic.
Regarding the methods of managed access of resources available in another data centre, it can be used the concept of federal authentication by implementing federated identity solutions to which partner institutions connect through an Identity provider (IdP). For the implementation of the federated authentication, eduGAIN, also a GEANT service, can be used. EduGAIN interconnects identity federations from Europe.

Accessing GEANT services is possible using facilities of NRENs that offer connectivity services for research and education community inside a country.

Computing capacities

At the European level, the computing capabilities have two major directions:
a. High Performance Computing (HPC) infrastructure. The HPC infrastructure is represented by Pan-European High Performance Computing infrastructure and services (PRACE) that gives academic and industry users free access to the supercomputing facility. Access to PRACE resources is based on peer review. The researcher sends the project to the technical committee to verify compliance with the eligibility requirements, which, in positive situations, makes a schedule for access to power computation;

b. Distributed Computing e-infrastructures – The project of Distributed Computing e-infrastructures is called European Grid Infrastructure (EGI) which provides access to high-throughput computing resources consisting of 300 data centres which host 650 K core processors, 285 PB online storage and 280 PB archive storage. Access to the EGI resources is based on membership in a community-supported research group such as ATLAS, ALICE, LHCb and others.

Data storage

Research projects can use the European e-infrastructure of integrated data services and resources (EUDAT) infrastructure to store vital information in a secure environment. The EUDAT it is a collaboration project consisting from multiple nodes that provide services for: upload and retrieval, identification and description, movement, replication and data integrity. Many research groups from Europe share storage infrastructure from data centres called service provides. This service provides can be only for one research domain (thematic service provider) or for multiple domains (generic service provider). Any researcher or research group can access the resources of EUDAT in conformity with the terms and conditions agreed between EUDAT and the relevant service provider.

The components:

– DANUBIUS-RI storage systems, there are many storages included: the storage for the main repository, the linked storages from DANUBIUS-RI members

  • the storage for the cloud system,
  • the storage for the high-performance cluster and the backup storage for all data and for the software.

 – Cloud computing to provide the necessary computing resources to operate all services( the DANUBIUS-RI portal, the metadata registry, the necessary software for data ingestion, further processing and storage and to provide all operations on the data flow)

– High performance computing (HPC) services to be used by the modelling and analysis nodes.

Technology Transfer Office (TTO)

The Technology Transfer Office will protect and leverage intellectual property rights and infrastructural resources to successfully engage end-users and stakeholders. It aims to identify and increase the number of potential developments and innovations and ensure that they are effectively exploited for the advantage of individual innovators, their partners and the research infrastructure as a whole, and thus maximize DANUBIUS-RI’s overall impact. A distributed model has been proposed for the Technology Transfer Office across jurisdictions to satisfy intellectual property (rights) requirements with respect to the policies and legislation of member countries. Technology Transfer will be coordinated at University College Cork (UCC), Ireland.

E-Learning Office

E-learning office will be located at the Polytechnical University of Catalunya, Spain

The e-Learning Office will use Information Communication Technology for training and education in the field of River-Sea Systems of the next generation of researchers and practitioners, including: a) organising Master programmes with a blended learning approach recognised by several European universities; b) organising courses and summer school programmes on aspects of River-Sea Systems (e.g. assimilation of data, early warning systems, solutions based on natural processes); c) organising e-learning programmes for postgraduate students on issues in observation, analysis, modelling, and impact; d) developing plans for Master and Doctorate research projects jointly supervised by DANUBIUS-RI Partners; e) developing ad-hoc training courses for administrators or third party interested in sustainable management; and f) offering a virtual meeting point for academia, administration and industry

TTO will have to work continuously with the technology transfer experts in all of the DANUBIUS-RI ASPs to avoid complications when licensing contracts are being drawn up and this interaction will be facilitated by the Business Development Unit. These activities are seen as pivotal to the sustainability of DANUBIUS-RI and technology transfer will, therefore, not be considered the sole responsibility of the TTO but a consortium wide responsibility facilitated by the TTO under the direction of the Business Development Unit (in conjunction with the other four Directorates under the General Director).


The structure of DANUBIUS-RI