In the digital era, answering to global environmental challenges requires researchers to have digital access to data. This holds especially true for the natural sciences, where one rich data trove remains unearthed: The European scientific collections. They jointly hold more than 1.5 billion objects, representing 80% of the world’s bio- and geo-diversity. With only 10 % of these objects digitised, their information remains vastly underused, thus impeding potential applications of collections based research.

In order to tackle the complex challenge of digitising natural science collections and providing access, the community of natural science institutions has submitted a proposal for a new ESFRI Research Infrastructure, the Distributed System of Scientific Collections (DiSSCo). DiSSCo will enable critical new insights to address some of the world's greatest challenges, such as biodiversity loss and climate change, by providing access to linked scientific data in a scale, precision and accuracy never achieved before.

To this end, ICEDIG - Innovation and consolidation for large scale digitisation of natural heritage - stands as the EU funded project that will allow to refine the design study of DiSSCo by addressing the technical, financial, policy and governance aspects for developing and operating DiSSCo.