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Welcome to SYNTHESYS+, a pan-European collections infrastructure project and the fourth iteration of the SYNTHESYS programme, funded by the European Commission. SYNTHESYS+ ran from February 2019 until July 2023. 

SYNTHESYS+ was the final iteration of the programme, building upon three previous SYNTHESYS projects which ran from February 2004 – July 2009; September 2009 – August 2013; and September 2013 - August 2017. All iterations of the SYNTHESYS programme have developed collections infrastructure with international partners, via discrete work packages coordinated under deliverables of Access, Networking, and Joint Research Activities. 

SYNTHESYS+ has laid the foundations for the Distributed System of Scientific Collections (DiSSCO), a massive scientific infrastructure project, which sees >100 European natural science institutions from >20 countries position their collections  at the centre of data-driven scientific excellence and innovation in environmental research, climate change, food security, one health and the bioeconomy.

Click here for more information on DiSSCO. 

The Project

SYNTHESYS aimed to produce an accessible, integrated European resource for research users in the natural sciences. SYNTHESYS created a shared, high quality approach to the management, preservation, and access to leading European natural history collections.

A core element in SYNTHESYS was to provide funded researcher visits (Access) to the 390,000,000 specimens housed by SYNTHESYS institutions. In particular, the 4,049,800 type specimens.

Alongside the Access, a Joint Research Activity (JRA) aimed to improve the quality of and increase access to digital collections and data within natural history institutions by developing virtual collections.

Network Activities (NA) provided enhanced quality and quantity of online collections information to virtual users and implemented best practice benchmarks in collections care to raise standards and improve accessibility to collections for all users.