Tackling some of the grand global challenges, agro-environmental research has turned more and more into an international venture, where distributed research teams work together to solve complex research questions. Moreover, the interdisciplinary character of these challenges requires that a large diversity of different data sources and information is combined in new, innovative ways. There is a pressing need to support researchers with environments that allow them to efficiently work together and co-develop research. As research is often data-intensive, and big data becomes a common part of a lot of research, such environments should also offer the resources, tools and workflows that allow to process data at scale if needed. Virtual research environments (VRE), which combine working in the Cloud, with collaborative functions and state of the art data science tools, can be a potential solution. In the H2020 AGINFRA+ project, the usability of the VREs has been explored for use cases around agro-climatic modelling. The implemented pilot application for crop growth modelling has successfully shown that VREs can support distributed research teams in co-development, helps them to adopt open science and that the VRE’s cloud computing facilities allow large scale modelling applications.
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