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Most critical issues currently faced by our society involve key environmental challenges. Pollution, land use and climate change, and their impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem integrity need to be urgently addressed, providing quantitative knowledge to be transformed into actionable strategies.

Given the complexity of such challenges, a multi-disciplinary approach to the Earth System is deemed crucial. This approach involves combining field and laboratory measurements, analyses, experiments, data analysis, and modeling tools across the various interlinked environmental domains. Italy is actively involved in all major pan-European Environmental Research Infrastructures (RIs) and also hosts other nationally relevant RIs, all essential for providing the systematic and coherent information needed for high-level research. Given the large number and heterogeneity of these infrastructures, coordinated actions are essential to integrate and interlink them, as well as to harmonize their activities.

To achieve an integrated approach to the Earth system and its changes, the 22 participating RIs agreed to jointly prepare and build the thematic network called ITINERIS. The primary objective of ITINERIS is to establish the italian integrated system of the Research Infrastructures in the environmental scientific domain, facilitating observation and study of processes in the atmosphere, marine domain, terrestrial biosphere, and geosphere.

Such a broad-scale and long-term vision of environmental research, sustained by the main Italian scientists currently involved in European RIs, is truly innovative and it will support Italy in taking a leading role in European environmental research activities, designing the framework for the next decades.