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H2020

KINDRA Report Summary

Project ID: 642047
Funded under: H2020-EU.3.5.4.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - KINDRA (Knowledge Inventory for hydrogeology research)

Reporting period: 2015-01-01 to 2016-06-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

"Practical and scientific knowledge related to hydrogeology and groundwater research and innovation are scattered amongst various actors in Europe. The overall objective of KINDRA is to create an inventory of this knowledge-base and then use the inventory to identify critical research challenges (2011/C 317/01 of 27 October 2011 on the research joint programming initiative ‘Water challenges for a changing world’ http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:C:2011:317:0001:0003:EN:PDF) in line with the implementation of the WFD and new innovation areas within integrated water resources management based on the latest research.

Project specific objectives

1. Create a uniform EU-harmonised categorisation approach / terminology for reporting groundwater research (a Hydrogeological Research Classification System – HRC-SYS). Since such uniform classification does not exist at the moment, ongoing research activities, national/European hydrogeological research activities, agendas and strategies are difficult to report and even more difficult to compare.
2. Carry out EU-wide assessment of existing practical and scientific knowledge (using the developed HRC-SYS) focusing on EU, national, regional, international and EU-third party scientific activities. This assessment will be implemented with the help of the national members of EFG.
3. Create a European Inventory of Groundwater Research and Innovation (EIGR). This register will be supported by a web-service that will be searchable by selected key-words and will support users with query functions for statistics, diagrams, and others concise data elaboration.
4. Use the data in the register and the developed analytical tools (qualitative/quantitative) to assess the performance of key ongoing EU, national, regional, international and EU-third party hydrogeological scientific and innovation activities and results.
5. Compare the results with:
a. existing recommendations and position papers on groundwater related research requirements,
b. outcomes of the Projects own workshops on the same issues,
c. recommendations by the EIP on Water /WssTP for the identification of research gaps taking into account the implementation of the WFD
6. Define research gaps and trends and corresponding suggestions for research agendas in line with WFD, technology platform recommendations.
7. Deploy the Register as a public-access web based service, to be used as a permanent, searchable service on ongoing groundwater research and innovation in Europe. With regular updates such service could be used to fuel groundwater and hydrogeology-related research & innovation in Europe and help to avoid overlaps at the same time.

Context

Groundwater and hydrogeology-related research activities cover a wide spectrum of research areas at EU and national levels. This fact is due to the intrinsic nature of the "water" topic, representing a key-aspect of the modern society: water is not only necessary for human, biological and environmental requirements, but it is one basic "engine" of several interconnected research topics, including energy, health, climate, food, security and others as exemplified by the water-food-energy-climate nexus described by e.g. the World Economic Forum (http://www.weforum.org/reports/water-security-water-energy-food-climate-nexus). With respect to the water cycle, the management of groundwater brings additional challenges to the implementation of the WFD and climate change adaptation (such as integrated transboundary management of (ground)water resources). This fact is related to the nature of groundwater, which represents the "hidden" part of the water cycle, difficult to evaluate, communicate and appreciate, although it sustains the health of both humans and ecosystems as well as industrial and agricultural production. In this framework, the importance of groundwater inside the WFD has been reinforced by the daughter directive on groundwater (EC, 2006, Directive 2006/118/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council, Official Journal of the European Union L 372/19). In general, groundwater has been considered mainly for its relationships with surface waters, influencing river flow, e-flows, GDE (groundwater-dependent ecosystems), GWAAE (groundwater associated aquatic ecosystems), pollutant fate, agricultural practices, water scarcity and others. Consequently, in the last years, particular insights have been developed on surface waters/groundwater interactions and several related research projects have been carried out. Nevertheless, a specific focus on hydrogeology, the science branch studying groundwater, has not looked into until now, despite of its utmost importance as renewable, high-quality, naturally protected (but still vulnerable) resource. At the same time the European knowledge-base that has been acquired on this important topic (European Environment Agency (2010): The European environment – state and outlook 2010: Synthesis; Report No 1/2010 http://www.eea.europa.eu/soer/synthesis/synthesis/at_download/file) are widespread and developed in a large number of projects, plans, actions, realized at national level and partly hidden into wider programs generally related to water, environment or ecology.
In order to have a comprehensive understanding on the groundwater theme, it is necessary to create a “snapshot” of our scientific knowledge as of 2014/15 covering as many European countries as possible. Such comprehensive coverage will result in an accurate assessment of the state of the art in hydrogeology research in various geographical and geo-environmental settings, allowing for direct comparison and the exploitation of synergies. For this work it is proposed to create a unique knowledge-inventory first i.e. a database on groundwater research results, activities, projects and programmes deemed essential for the identification of the state-of-the-art, future perspectives and research gaps, allowing at EU scale the development of sound policies and sustainable management of groundwater, as recommended also by the Blueprint Document (COM(2012) 673, SWD(2012) 381-382).
The need for the creation of such a knowledge- and research inventory is underlined by the fact that practical and scientific knowledge related to hydrogeology research and innovation are scattered amongst various actors in Europe. This makes it very difficult to define joint priorities and research agendas and to make sure that such agendas correspond to the strategic priorities and the state of the art at any given moment in time. A common and well-maintained knowledge and research inventory could tackle this obstacle. Consequently, a coordinated European effort for developing a system for classification, storage and subsequent evaluation of groundwater-related research activities has been proposed and developed. The outcome of this effort will promote and increase the scientific knowledge of the role of groundwater as an integral part of the water-cycle, identifying current gaps and trends in in the existing knowledge and on-going research and providing the basis for the development of cost-efficient actions and solutions to other themes/problems generally related to the "water" issue, both from the management and policy points of view."

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

"The following key activities have been performed so far:
1. Firstly, the partners created a uniform EU-harmonised categorisation approach / terminology for reporting groundwater research (a Hydrogeological Research Classification System – HRC-SYS). To realize the harmonization, we reviewed various academic, industrial and research classification schemes, created a hierarchical structure and a selected list of keywords that are considered fundamental to identify relationships and intersections between topics, themes and activities.
2. The second step of the project was to create the European Inventory of Groundwater Research (EIGR) using the harmonised terminology created previously. This register is supported by a web-service that supports users with advanced search and query functions for statistics, diagrams, and research data mining. Accordingly the objective is to carry out an EU-wide knowledge-mapping activity, during which we will take stock of existing practical and scientific knowledge (using the developed HRC-SYS) focusing on EU, national, regional, international and EU-third party scientific activities (such as cross-border research with non-EU countries). This work is actually being implemented with the help of national experts of EFG member associations that work to unite the scattered information from diverse sources, consulting at national level the relevant reports and databases of universities, research centres, government bodies, territorial administrative offices and other parties involved in hydrogeology research – including the private sector. To facilitate them, an orientation workshop has been organised and a manual and checklist for data entry have been delivered. EFG national member associations organised so far 2 workshops to share KINDRA with their members, the other 18 are in preparation and will be delivered in next period.
3. A broad visibility of the KINDRA has been pursued with the aims to increase societal understanding of the importance of groundwater and to raise awareness on the forthcoming inventory amongst practitioners and scientist to facilitate its future exploitation. A project image, website, facebook and linked-in page have been created to support widespread dissemination activities. 2 project brochures have been widely distributed amongst hydrogeologists researchers and practitioners, and 2 "Did-you-know?" brochures have been created and diffused for children to increase understanding of groundwater, amongst others within several Researchers' Night celebrations. KINDRA was represented at 19 sector conferences, workshops, congresses and exhibitions with presentations, posters and/or brochures and the project was discussed at 3 international working group meetings and in 3 meetings organized jointly with other H2020 projects. One thematic issue of the European Geologist journal was dedicated to the project and many news items have been diffused by partners and EFG member associations amongst European geologists. A panel of 10 experts has been actively involved to give feedback and advice on KINDRA activities and results.
4. The last step of the project will be the evaluation of the data in the register using the developed analytical tools (qualitative/quantitative) to assess the performance of key ongoing EU, national, regional, international and EU-third party scientific activities and results (support activity). This activities is foreseen for the third year, but yet now focus and methodology is being discussed, also in order to implement the necessary assessment tools in the EIGR."

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

Progress beyond the state of the art

Harmonized classification on groundwater topic have been not developed before, but classifications are available in the wider field of water (e.g. by WaterERP for taxonomy and ontology for water supply chain, see http://waterp-fp7.eu), and in other geosciences, like raw materials. Inventories containing metadata on groundwater are also available: the main example is done by IGRAC-UNESCO, with reference to hydrogeological maps and GIS systems (http://www.un-igrac.org/global-groundwater-information-system-ggis). Differently from the IGRAC portal, which follows a typical GIS approach, the EIGR inventory is based on metadata search engine, based on the proposed classification syste.
The novelty in the KINDRA approach is on the combination of a classification system with a geo-database; the classification system is intended as an interface of scientific and knowledge results with societal challenges, looking for trends and gaps; meanwhile, the inventory has the aims to be useful for searches related to groundwater information, but at the same time to allow trend/gap analysis to be compared by the classification system.

Expected potential impact

KINDRA expects to create a more integrated community of researchers and users extending across disciplines, countries, organisations and sectors. Activities are well on track to achieving this, having performed extensive networking activities with all relevant international fora and projects in the field and having succeeded to involve national associations in all countries but one. The impact will be significantly boosted during this year by the national workshops that are being organised and in forthcoming year by the open access to the EIGR.
The results obtained so far - the classification system and the inventory tool - confirm our expectation, that they will enable to obtain a better understanding of the state-of-play, to identify areas where increased collaboration is required, to support manifold analysis of complex groundwater related problems, and thus help to shape joint research efforts on the existing challenges and to support enhanced science- and evidence-based decision making in the field of water. Though, these expectations can only be confirmed next year once the inventory is populated and assessments are performed.
Lastly, improved public understanding on groundwater functions and processes is fostered by KINDRA so far targeting the younger generation and general public, and it is expected that the multi-language outreach materials produced contribute to significantly improve groundwater awareness in relation to water quantity and quality issues as well as human and environmental health.

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