Ostrava, 15th July – Europe's top research infrastructures have come together in the newly launched BioDT project to jointly design and develop a digital twin prototype for biodiversity research and analysis to support the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030. Scientists from IT4Innovations, the Czech National Supercomputing Center, are also involved in this unique project.

Biodiversity provides essential resources that we use and that have a direct impact on human well-being, including food, nutrients, and energy resources, and is essential for ecosystem health and functioning. Our planet is facing urgent challenges that make it essential to understand the impacts of climate change and human activity on biodiversity and to find ways in which their effects can be mitigated and, where appropriate, reversed. Understanding the forces that shape biodiversity is essential for the rational management of natural resources as well as for the implementation of the European Union's Biodiversity Strategy for 2030, which aims to restore biodiversity in Europe. This requires innovative ways of combining data, models, and interaction processes.

The consortium, led by the Finnish CSC - IT Center for Science and comprising 22 partners, aims to push the current boundaries of predictive understanding of biodiversity dynamics and develop a digital twin of biodiversity (BioDT) that enables advanced modelling, simulation, and prediction capabilities. A digital twin is a virtual copy of a real system that allows the state of an object or process to be monitored and evaluated. By making new use of existing technologies and data from relevant research infrastructures, the digital twin will be able to accurately and quantitatively model interactions between species and their environment. In addition to experts in high-performance computing, artificial intelligence, etc., the BioDT project brings together a dynamic team of biodiversity experts from different fields, namely ecology, biology, genomics, natural history, biodiversity informatics, computer science, mathematics/statistics, environmental and earth sciences, and climate science.

The most powerful European supercomputer, LUMI, which the Czech Republic is also involved in building and operating, will help to achieve the common goal of creating a digital twin of biodiversity, aided by IT4Innovations National Supercomputing Center, which is part of the Technical University of Ostrava. "CSC is enthusiastic to support this flagship project as BioDT is one of the first pan-European research initiatives that can benefit from access to the LUMI supercomputer," said Jesse Harrison, BioDT project leader, "The project will improve our ability to address global challenges related to biodiversity loss and the climate crisis, including the provision of ecosystem services and food security, predicting disease outbreaks, and understanding the dynamics of key species."

Tomáš Martinovič from the Advanced Data Analysis and Simulation Lab, who is the project’s Work Package Leader at IT4Innovations, described the Czech involvement: "Within the BioDT project, we will lead activities related to the integration of the digital twin platform into the research infrastructure environment. In addition to this, we will also be involved in the development of the platform and training of users on how to use BioDT".

For more information about the BioDT, see here: https://biodt.eu

  Project BioDT is funded by the European Union's Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 101057437.