|This Network of Excellence (NoE) will create a European long-term inter-disciplinary research facility for research on the complex relationship between ecosystems, biodiversity and society. It will provide research support for policy assessment and development on the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in the European Union, and a stable facility for information retrieval and reporting on biodiversity-related issues. It will achieve this by implementing research, management and cultural changes within and between its component organisations, and through the development of integrated research agendas that will focus the research activities of its members on priority policy issues. The result will be a unique inter-disciplinary network linking a variety of stakeholders including research scientists, science communicators, policy makers and the public. In order to ensure durable integration of 24 partners from 17 countries, this NoE will build on 4 existing co-operative programmes that deal with complementary aspects of biodiversity research. These are PEER/CONNECTJLTER, ECSITE and ECNC. A novel approach to integration of ecological and socio-environmental methodologies will be developed, recognising the fact that biodiversity research should be done only in the context of ecosystems and their long- term dynamics. To achieve this, the core research undertaken by the NoE will be structured around a common framework based on the Drivers-Pressures-State-Impact-Response (DPSIR) model. This framework will ensure that research contributes directly to our understanding of the inter-relationship between biodiversity and the services it provides to society, and vice versa. The framework, and the research it supports, will also facilitate the long-term institutional changes that will be necessary to accomplish the ALTER-net objectives for durable integration.