The high-impact ambition of ENVRI-FAIR is to establish the technical preconditions for the successful implementation of a virtual, federated machine-to-machine interface to access environmental data and services provided by the contributing environmental research infrastructures, called the ENVRI-hub.

For users that require the full spectrum of environmental parameters, the ENVRI-hub will offer a platform that reflects the complexity and diversity of the ENVRI landscape, while preserving their specific structures and addressing the requirements they were designed for.

The environmental research infrastructures contributing to ENVRI-FAIR have developed in-depth expertise on their different fields of environmental research, while an integration of research activities across the boundaries of applied scientific approaches is still not fully developed. However, the largest uncertainties in our current knowledge on climate change and the related impact on the Earth system are associated with the complex feedback mechanisms in the climate system and the respective ecosystem and ocean responses to change. To study these complex interactions requires making use of data from multiple disciplinary fields in a straightforward way, where FAIRness of the digital metadata and data is an absolute prerequisite.

The concept of an ENVRI-hub targets a highly ambitious goal. The ENVRI-hub will be a federated system of harmonized subdomain/RI-specific systems of data policies and management, access platforms and virtual research environments. The system will be completely open source, modular and scalable and build on the experience available in the consortium and already operational systems. ENVRI-FAIR will be the further context to develop the ENVRIs’ architecture during the coming years on the „RDA Data Fabric“ vision. Several research infrastructures and institutes involved in ENVRI-FAIR have developed systems that contain elements of this vision. Two examples are the ICOS Carbon Portal and the TOAR surface ozone observation portal at FZJ.

The ENVRI-hub community metadata and data store is foreseen to be based on semantic web technology, ontologies and open linked data, allowing integration of the vocabularies and metadata standards developed in the implementation Work packages of ENVRI-FAIR. The cross-subdomain development will create large benefits in efficiency and robustness of the ENVRI-hub system. It will enable true interoperability of access to metadata and data objects across the research infrastructures and subdomains and thus facilitate the development of (joint) higher-level services. By following a strict modular design the developments can be (re-)used in the different research infrastructures. All components should contain couplers to the services of EOSC, like AAI, data storage solutions and catalogue of services, in order to enable the seamless integration of ENVRIs data and services in the EOSC.