The European Climate Research Alliance (ECRA): Collaboration from bottom-up
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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- Geophysical Institute 
The European Climate Research Alliance (ECRA) is an association of leading European research institutions in the field of climate research (http://www.ecra-climate.eu/, last access: 6 December 2018). ECRA is a bottom-up initiative and helps to facilitate the development of climate change research, combining the capacities of national research institutions, and inducing closer ties between existing national research initiatives, projects and infrastructures. ECRA works as an open platform to bring together climate researchers, providing excellent scientific expertise for policy makers and of societal relevance. The ECRA Board consists of representatives of ECRA partners and decides on governance, scientific priorities, and organisational matters. Currently organized into four Collaborative Programmes, climate scientists share their knowledge, experience and expertise to identify the most important research requirements for the future, thus developing a foresight approach. The CPs cover the topics: (1) Arctic variability and change, (2) Sea level changes and coastal impacts, (3) Changes in the hydrological cycle and (4) High impact events. The CP activities are planned in workshops and participation is open to all interested scientists from the relevant research fields. In particular, young researchers are actively encouraged to join the network. Each CP develops its joint research priorities for shaping European research into the future. Because scientific themes are interconnected, the four Collaborative Programmes interact with each other, e.g. through the organization of common workshops or joint applications. In addition, the Collaborative Programme leads attend the Board meetings. The different formats of ECRA meetings range from scientific workshops to briefing events and side events at conferences to involve different groups of interests. This facilitates the interaction of scientists, various stakeholder groups and politicians. A biennial open ECRA General Assembly that is organised in Brussels represents an umbrella event and acts as a platform for discussion and contact with stakeholders. This event is an excellent opportunity to jointly discuss research priorities of high societal relevance.