The EIT Food is looking for 15 experts and 20 mentors to support them in the implementation of the Cross-KIC initiative “Finding innovative solutions for water scarcity in Southern Europe”.
If you are a tech, policy or finance expert with excellent academic background and practical experience in the water sector in Southern Europe, you are invited to apply by 18 April. For more information about the initiative, the calls for experts and mentors, conditions for applying and specific activities, please click here.
The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) is an independent European Union (EU) body. The EIT operates through the so called Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs). EIT Food, together with EIT Climate-KIC, EIT Digital, EIT Manufacturing – and partners -Athena Research Centre and Bioazul, is leading a multiannual and multidisciplinary programme designed to alleviate water scarcity in Southern Europe.Read More
Experts gathered by the Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) and DG Research and Innovation have built four alternative scenarios for the EU bioeconomy in 2050. They follow the European Commission’s 2020 Strategic Foresight Report which mentioned the potential of sustainable bioeconomy to transform Europe’s agricultural and industrial base and to create new jobs whilst enhancing our natural resources and ecosystems.
The scenarios describe plausible alternative narratives of the bioeconomy in 2050, based on the multiple drivers that can affect its future, and their interplay, and depending on the realisation of specific boundary conditions. Each scenario describes the world, Europe and the bioeconomy in 2050, but with political and policy variations, and consider the contributions to the objectives of the EU Bioeconomy Strategy and to selected United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said: “Policies addressing all sectors of activity are more robust if supported by collective intelligence. The foresight process carried out by the European Commission provides scenarios alongside the opportunities and challenges they represent and helps to shape the future we want. This study by the Joint Research Centre is an important contribution and I invite all to enjoy the reading.”
The Commission plans to further explore these scenarios, in order to facilitate and strengthen strategic and systemic reflections amongst key stakeholders of the European bioeconomy.
Discover scenarios, strategic foresight and more info by visiting the official webpage here.Read More
We need to empower innovation stakeholders in rural areas: EC forges cooperation to unlock rural hubs potential
The European Commission has given political backing to a grassroots manifesto for a Rural European Innovation Area, as it prepares for the launch of a long-term strategy for the countryside in June.“We need to empower innovation stakeholders in rural areas, so that local players can unlock the innovation and connectedness potential,” Mariya Gabriel, EU research commissioner told the launch of the manifesto. “I’m happy to endorse the new platform,” she said.
The manifesto calls on entrepreneurs, investors, advisors and other public and private stakeholders in Europe to put rural innovation on the EU policy agenda. The Rural European Innovation Area brings together 70 partners from 17 countries and is being coordinated by the University of Salamanca. They call for the establishment of accelerators and incubators in partnership with universities to forge rural innovation networks across Europe.
The Commission is preparing a strategy on the long term vision for rural areas, which is scheduled for launch in June. This will outline what policies and investments are needed by 2040. “It’s important to understand that rural areas have the same potential as urban areas,” said Normunds Popens, deputy director general at the Commission’s directorate for regional and urban policy. According to Gabriel, the rural innovation manifesto will be “a key contribution for the new long term strategy for rural areas that will be announced this June.”
Rural areas account for 83% of the total land area of the European Union. A recent study by the Commission’s Joint Research Centre shows that rural areas can become innovation hubs, since they offer more attractive conditions, such as lower living costs, closer proximity to nature, less pollution, more space and a better quality of life.
The Commission has already launched a joint action plan with the Committee of the Regions aimed at reducing the innovation divide between regions in Europe by coupling the EU research framework programme Horizon Europe with Erasmus Plus and the European bioeconomy strategy.
On March 18th, the United Nations, UN General Assembly held a High-Level Meeting to discuss about the water-related SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals).
“The world must immediately prioritize efforts to protect water and ensure that everyone has access to clean water and safe sanitation.” This was the main message from the UN High-Level Meeting on Water, happened on March 18, in which SIWI, the Stockholm International Water Institute, participated as well.
The milestone event, organized by the UN General Assembly, took place soon after a report showed that the world is not on track to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 6 about clean water and sanitation. “It is a moral failure that we live in world with such a high level of technical success but where we still allow so many to live without access to clean drinking water or ability to wash their hands,” said the President of the UN General Assembly, H.E. Volkan Bozkir, as he opened the UN High-Level Meeting on Water on 18 March.
In addition to this moral obligation, the world also has much to gain from focusing on improved water management and increased access to water and sanitation. This was emphasized by SIWI’s Executive Director Torgny Holmgren in his address to the High-Level Meeting. “Water-centred solutions will limit the impact of climate change, improve food security, and make ecosystems more resilient. Now is the time to scale them up and accelerate action,” Holmgren said.
For more info about the meeting please click here.Read More
A new report, published today by the JRC and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), proposes tools to help practitioners, policymakers and scientists identify and manage the spillover effects and transboundary impacts of policies. These tools also aim to support the design of long-term recovery strategies by implementing the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The report calls for building national monitoring and statistical capacity to identify, analyse and integrate policy synergies and trade-offs.
The approaches proposed in ‘Understanding the Spillovers and Transboundary Impacts of Public Policies’ include:
– Sustainable Development Goals impact assessments;
– Using tools like the European Platform on Life Cycle Assessment to consider the entire supply chain of products;
– Using multi-region, multi-sector simulation models (such as the MAGNET model, co-developed by the JRC) to assess different policy scenarios.
Spillover effects and transboundary impacts in a global world: In today’s increasingly interconnected world, public policy decisions taken in one sector or country can have repercussions in other sectors and regions, and hamper progress on achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). That is why the enhancement of Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development (PCSD) has been identified as a crucial means of implementation of the SDGs. Promoting PCSD calls for addressing those spillover effects and transboundary impacts in a systematic way.
The need for a coordinated response: The report’s authors note the current lack of coordination across countries as well as in policies and the evaluation mechanisms established by countries with regard to these impacts. The great complexity of the global system, coupled with methodological and data gaps, makes it difficult to estimate the domino effects between the socio-economic and environmental dimensions, and to manage interlinkages and unexpected transboundary impacts. The tools suggested in this new report are designed to fill these gaps. By offering a comprehensive framework of the different governance and analytical tools to identify and manage spillover and transboundary effects, the report can help governments to accelerate the transition towards a more sustainable and resilient global future.Read More
The book is the second in a series from the JRC’s Disaster Risk Management Knowledge Centre (the DRMKC). The new book explores how to protect lives, livelihoods, the environment and our rich cultural heritage from future disasters. To do that, it analyses the lessons learned from past disasters for more risk-aware policies, improved practice and further research.
The DRMKC will be at the core of the science pillar of the Union Civil Protection Knowledge Network. The Knowledge Network brings together civil protection and disaster management experts and organisations to increase knowledge and its dissemination within the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, and support the Union’s ability and capacity to deal with disasters.
With input from over 300 experts, the book highlights the important role of science in preparing Europe to face the challenges that lie over the horizon.
Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič, said: “As disasters defy borders the EU supports national action and promotes cross-border cooperation on disaster risk management – with the EU Civil Protection Mechanism being at the heart of this work. Using all data, science and lessons learnt available is vital to strengthen the collective safety and resilience against disasters in the EU and beyond”.
The aftermath of disasters can be learning opportunities, both in recovering quickly and dealing with the underlying drivers of disaster risk to avoid or mitigate similar events. This new book provides several examples and recommendations on how to grasp these opportunities to build a more resilient future. For more info please click here.Read More
Water Knowledge Europe 2021 Spring edition event has ended: Explore the highlights & Download the post-event materials
– Horizon Europe Brokerage event
– Water Market Europe 2021
– Water Projects Europe 2021 (3rd edition)
– 195 B2B Virtual meetings
– 13 Working Groups meetings
– 2 Special Workshops
A round-up of excellent speakers covered the Horizon EU Brokerage event by sharing with us exclusive news about all the main EU funding programmes. They unveiled valuable guidelines for those interested in submitting their project proposals.
In addition, 8 fantastic project’s presenters mastered the afternoon session introducing their brilliant ideas and future plans.
Water Market Europe 2021 was a great success. 15 brilliant experts unfolded the complex topic of digital water and cybersecurity-related issues. They addressed not only the existing challenges but also turned raw ideas into tangible solutions.
The 2nd part was marked by the exclusive launch of the beta version of the Marketplace, an innovative digital-based tool, developed within the NextGen project. We need your valuable feedback to fine-tune the MarketPlace, please fill our short survey here.
Water Projects Europe has successfully proved, in its 3rd edition, to be once again a fruitful arena for water experts and EU policymakers to share expertise and collaborate. This edition was dedicated to the ”Water in the Circular Economy Policy Agenda” where 6 H2020 funded projects took the floor to introduce and share their revolutionary approaches and groundbreaking ideas in an open discussion with the Project Officers of the EC, to offer a clear set-up on policy development of water in the Circular Economy agenda.
On March 25, the Commission presented an Action Plan for the development of organic production with the intention to boost the production and consumption of organic products, reaching 25% of agricultural land under organic farming by 2030, as well as to increase organic aquaculture significantly.
The Action Plan is in line with the European Green Deal and the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity Strategies and it is designed to provide the already fast-growing organic sector with the right tools to achieve the 25% target.
A sustainable and resilient agricultural and aquaculture sector depends on enhanced biodiversity, which is fundamental for a healthy ecosystem and critical for maintaining nutrients cycles in the soil, clean water and pollinators. Increased biodiversity allows farmers to adapt better to climate change. The organic sector is by its very nature-oriented towards higher environmental standards, enshrined in its objectives and principles. Research will be key for the achievement of these objectives.
Some agricultural practices are the main obstacles to the EU’s freshwaters and marine waters achieving good status under both the water framework and the marine framework Directives. This is mainly due to the diffuse pollution of nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) and pesticides.
Around 38% of the EU’s surface water bodies are under pressure from diffuse pollution (of which, at 25%, agricultural production is a major source), from water abstraction for irrigation, and from hydro-morphological changes (e.g. due to drainage). Climate change will increase irrigation needs in the EU and reduce water availability. For this reason, the Commission will promote:
– The more efficient and sustainable use of water
– The increased use of renewable energy and clean transport
– The reduction of nutrient release, in all types of farming, with organic farming leading the way, and with the involvement of the Member States through their CAP Strategic Plans, as well as with the new Strategic Guidelines for aquaculture and EMFAF.
To check the full action plan, please click here.Read More
SMARTEN is an Erasmus+ project that supports current efforts towards digital transition and digital readiness, mainly in higher education and trainings. The two-year project focuses on water as a vital component of life and development, that benefits from informed management of resources and related information. Improvements are seen through promoting an educational digital environment of equity, diversity and inclusion, as well as strengthening the strategic and virtual cooperation between higher education institutions and business partners in the European water sector.
Now more than a year into the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns, people depended increasingly on virtual platforms for business and social interaction. Such new norms have pressured an acceleration of efforts in the EU towards digital transition and digital readiness. These transitions cover numerous sectors, including water education.
SMARTEN is a collaboration of the following partners: Norges Milio-og Biovitenskaplige Universitet (Norway – coordinator), Univerzitet U Nisu (Serbia), Panepistimio Thessalias (Greece) and H2O-People / European Junior Water Programme (The Netherlands), and Water Europe as associated partner.
This project proposes innovative practices based on serious games in education, while addressing the subject-specific of water in line with European environmental and climate goals. The serious games concept has proved its efficiency in the educational sector, mainly in the engineering domain.
SMARTEN aims to impact the higher education on water:
✔ Leading to a better use of digital technology, not only in teaching and learning of water subjects, but also in improving education through better data analysis and foresight
✔ Developing skills and competencies necessary to support the digitalization of water education
✔ Supporting a growing generation of water professionals who are leading the digital transformation of the water sector
On the 18th of March 2021, the project was publicly launched during the Water Knowledge Europe 2021 Spring Edition event to connect the project not only with education, also with the industry. Stay tuned to many future activities by SMARTEN!Read More
Climate change and economic or population growth – those factors create challenges to the water sector in coastal areas and beyond. Water scarcity and increasing water demand result in the overexploitation of resources, quality deterioration and regional imbalances in the availability of water resources.
To tackle these challenges, the European research project ‘building a water-smart society and economy’, short B-WaterSmart, develops and demonstrates smart technologies and circular economy approaches for the water sector. The research in the project is based on the work of six demonstration sites, called Living Labs, all across Europe. Together with research partners and local technology providers they develop and test water-smart management solutions and technologies.
🟩 The Living Lab from Alicante in Spain currently evaluates technologies for reverse osmosis brines valorisation at lab-scale. They also plan demonstration units, have first meetings for the identification of co-digestion opportunities in the territory and work on the conceptualization of a digital tool to boost water reuse.
🟩 The Living Lab in Bodo, Norway focuses on zero emission urban development and improved management of the wastewater stream and air quality.
🟩 East Frisia in Germany is building a pilot plant for the reuse of process water in the dairy industry. Furthermore, digital tools for short term water demand and a regional water allocation tool are conceptualized.
🟩 The Flanders Living Lab in Belgium is designing two demonstration sites. One is about stormwater management and the use of a storage water buffer basin for agriculture. The other one is about potential effluent reuse, including water quality and purification requirements.
🟩 Lisbon in Portugal is preparing pilot plants for water reclamation for beer production, non-potable urban water reuse including a risk assessment for health and groundwater, and water-energy certificates for buildings and neighbourhoods. Lisbon also started seminars to integrate the B-WaterSmart work in the partner’s long term strategies/activities and foster synergies between them.
🟩The Living Lab Venice in Italy is mainly working on the pilot plants for industrial water reuse from wastewater treatment plant effluent and nutrient recovery via two stripping processes and anaerobic co-digestion.
In order to implement those solutions strongly in the practice of the water sector, technical and digital solutions, as well as new business models, are jointly developed by all project partners. The overall aim is to accelerate the transformation to water-smart economies and societies in coastal Europe and beyond by reducing the use of freshwater resources, improving the recovery and reuse of resources, and increase water use efficiency.Read More