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Promotion and focussing of current research activities of Membrane Technology in Water Treatment in the Mediterranean Region

Periodic Report Summary - PROMEMBRANE (Promotion and focussing of current research activities of Membrane Technology in Water Treatment in the Mediterranean Region)

The Mediterranean freshwater resources became due to their scarcity and fragility a primary priority issue politically, technically and scientifically. Thus, membrane technology (MT) with its various applications in both wastewater and potable water treatment evolved to a promising solution to abate the water crisis in the Mediterranean. The relevant materials and techniques improved a lot during the past years thanks to extensive scientific projects. However, lack of cooperation, limited expertise exchange and uncoordinated use of resources often resulted in overlapping and ineffective research and development (RD) activities.

The PROMEMBRANE project aimed to support current RD activities in MT focussed on water treatment in the Mediterranean area and to provide an international stage to local research organisations and universities. The project examined technologies in the areas of municipal and industrial wastewater treatment, surface water purification and brackish and sea water treatment for drinking use. Its specific scientific and technologic objectives were the following:
1. identification of the ongoing MT research activities targeting the Mediterranean regions;
2. support and assessing of these activities, identification of the gaps in knowledge and of the barriers for cooperation;
3. promotion and facilitation of the dissemination, transfer and exploitation of current and past projects' outcomes;
4. encouragement of the permanent participation of young scientists in the field of MT;
5. promotion of the establishment of permanent communication links between experts;
6. development of adequate recommendations on future research activities.

Ongoing projects were identified and evaluated during the first stage of PROMEMBRANE in order to develop future research and implementation strategies. The second stage involved activities for knowledge dissemination and advancement of further research in the MT field. The undertaken work was organised in five distinct, though interrelated, work packages.

Two different schemes for possible research clusters in MT for water and wastewater treatment in the regions of interest were built up and discussed. Moreover, information related to current research in the Mediterranean partner countries (MPC) was evaluated. These two activities resulted in recommendations for optimum future work, including the development of new MT systems which would take into account the existing technological and scientific background.

A project website was designed along with a platform consisting of three databases with data on MT document, MT experts and MT events. In addition, the project included two regional fairs with awards for young scientists involved in MT research and an international conference. Finally, the produced knowledge was disseminated through activities such as material preparation and presentation, attendance to conferences, seminars and meetings, and introduction of the project to relevant stakeholders and authorities.

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