OPAALS is a research Network of Excellence (NoE) funded under the European Union's 6th Framework Programme for Research and Development.

OPAALS' aims are to develop an integrated theoretical foundation for Digital Ecosystems, and a sustainable and open community of Digital Ecosystems research. Digital Ecosystems, distributed adaptive open socio-technical systems, with properties of self-organisation, scalability and sustainability inspired by natural ecosystems, represent the next generation of Internet development in which operating systems and software applications are as open and distributed as the underlying Internet.

As an open, global network, OPAALS is characterised by a radically interdisciplinary research agenda combined with the emergence of a new paradigm that requires the development of alternate ways of working across disciplinary boundaries, in particular between social science, computer science and natural science.

The OPAALS network supports the ongoing trend toward the extension of traditional disciplines into new disciplines. It takes inspiration from the Open Source community process to create the conditions whereby an Open Knowledge community of research can form and grow. Because an open-source community is already forming around projects in the EU's Future Internet Enterprise Systems (FinES) Cluster, our efforts start from this common overlap and extend toward the natural, physical and social sciences through ever-wider inclusion of academic and industrial partners who wish to collaborate on the research.

Ultimately, OPAALS aims to contribute to the betterment of society by developing an open-source, peer-to-peer information technology system that can facilitate productive exchange among businesses and communities of interest, such as SME networks or academic research communities, and ultimately between such groups. We envisage that a technological resource of this kind can empower individuals, organisations and communities to advance their interests in a democratic and collaborative manner, and thereby contribute towards sustainable socio-economic development. Please visit our Downloadable Toolkit to see how you can contribute.