CORDIS - EU research results

Water Efficiency in European Urban Areas

Final Report Summary - WE@EU (Water Efficiency in European Urban Areas)

Executive Summary:
WE@EU was conceived to coordinate European Research, Development and Innovation (RD&I) in the urban water efficiency sector through high-level trans-national cooperation. Five European regions strongly involved in and committed to improving water efficiency met and discovered they face similar challenges that affect water availability, which may be exacerbated by climate change and other pressures. They recognised that they could improve their performance in key aspects of urban water management by establishing mutually beneficial partnerships and collaborating across sectors. The key agents identified to support collaboration across these five regions were research-driven water clusters. In four regions in the WE@EU, a research-driven water cluster already existed, based on solid “triple helix collaborations”, they were Aragón (Spain), Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur (France), East of England (UK) and Eastern Galilee (Israel). An additional region with a developing research-driven cluster in Malta joined the consortium.
Over three years these five regions have been working together in order to improve their own capacity in water innovation in urban areas, to create strong links between them in order to generate new opportunities and to share their experience. In addition special focus was given to the improvement of the water innovation infrastructure of Malta (the Malta water cluster). As a direct consequence, and using clusters indicators, the results of this work can be summarized as follows:
* Number of clusters associates benefiting directly project: 214
* Enterprises benefiting directly or indirectly from the project: 147
* Number of organized B2Bs: 482
* Site visits: 17
* Cluster attendees participating to WE@EU events: 1236
* Cluster growth: 147 new members of the five clusters.
In addition, a MoU for the continuation of WE@EU has been signed by the partners, and a new European funded project that provides partial continuation of WE@EU has been launched (European Strategic Cluster Partnership Energy in Water) with the additional participation of clusters outside of the WE@EU consortium (this will provide an increase in the net of links among research-driven clusters).
Finally, these three years working together have provided a great amount of experience and knowledge for the growth of the collaboration among clusters oriented to water innovation. WE@EU has been a “living-lab” at European level that has shown it is possible to increase the water-innovation level in Europe from the private sector side (most of the members of the clusters are private companies, mainly SMEs). Nevertheless, because water is a public resource, it is necessary to partner with public bodies in this innovation effort. Further, local (European) experiences are seen as a useful reference for accessing other international markets.

Project Context and Objectives:
As a strategic objective, WE@EU aimed to create an open European platform for EU excellence in water efficiency and urban water management. This European platform enables the participating clusters and regions to bring together knowledge and innovation potential through trans-national collaboration and mutual learning. This generates an “innovation friendly ecosystem” where academia and business (with particular emphasis on SMEs) work together, in cooperation and coordination with regional authorities and other stakeholders, transforming knowledge into innovative products, services and skills in urban water management. This partnership strengthens regional capacities, unlocks business opportunities among the participating regions and stimulates investment in Research Development and Innovation (RD&I). As a result, greater transparency and visibility of the regions in the European and global markets can be developed to ensure the future sustainable and competitive socio-economic development of this sector.
During the development of the project, the consortium has undertaken activities to support strategic and specific project objectives. These objectives have been:

WE@EU aimed to improve high-level trans-national cooperation between four regions with a dominant research-driven cluster and a fifth region with a developing cluster, engaging regional authorities, public and private RD&I actors, the business sector and other stakeholders, both at regional and trans-national level. During the development of the project, the cluster organizations involved in it have shown high heterogeneity, regarding their members, objectives, methodologies and RD&I profiles. However, all regions have established high-level education facilities, professionals and interests, and all experience similar challenges relating to water scarcity. Therefore, a pressing need for research driven clusters focused on water has arisen. WE@EU aimed to bring together research, innovation and industrial expertise and know-how from different regions and support and build trust between cluster members.
The WE@EU consortium recognises the importance of collaboration and coordination in urban water management. In order to align WE@EU language with a key European programme for innovation (named European Innovation Partnership on Water), all activities relating to the surveying and analysing of inter-cluster collaboration activities have been done in accordance with EIP priority areas: Water reuse and recycling; Water and waste water treatment, including recovery of resources; Water and energy nexus; Flood and drought risk management; Ecosystem services; Water governance; Decision Support Systems and monitoring; Financing for innovation.

The complexity of water efficiency and the interwoven interests of public and private parties demands an improved “triple-helix collaboration” approach, which already has a solid basis among the participating clusters of WE@EU. WE@EU aimed to improve cooperation and coordination links and integration between regional authorities, research entities, the regional business community and other relevant stakeholders. WE@EU has focused on organising the regional capacities of each of the regional clusters. This activity has overlapped with the individual development/presentation of regional smart specialisation strategies. This has contributed to the improvement of the innovation performance and competitiveness towards the smart specialization of the regions reinforcing the existing collaboration and coordination activities among public authorities, RD&I Centres and business entities in water.

WE@EU aimed to define, develop and implement a Trans-regional Joint Action Plan (JAP) to increase regional socio-economic development. The JAP has provided an instrument to enhance the whole value-added chain of innovation within the water-efficiency sector. Simultaneously, the JAP has integrated the priorities of regional authorities into a socio-economic development strategy as a basis for: (1) development of new products, services and processes on the grounds of excellent research results; (2) enhancement of researcher mobility, personnel exchange; improvement and sharing of RD&I infrastructure and other facilities; (3) enhancement and upgrade of skills by knowledge transfer and training programmes; (4) improvement of availability and access to innovation support services and other relevant business support measures and capacity building.
JAP development started during the first half of the WE@EU project, using the regional analysis and capacities of participant regions. The main focus of WE@EU JAP has been to create an instrument to boost collaboration and coordination among participant regions in order to reach highly competitive regions focused on water efficiency, innovation and management. This has been presented in a first version of the JAP in month 18. During the second part of the project, the JAP has been refined and updated using the experiences from actions developed in accordance with its initial version.

WE@EU has been set up as a “starting point” for the collaboration among the clusters involved in order to improve their internationalization, not only at European level, but at global level. In this way, the internationalization activities have been capital in the development and implementation of the JAP, and one of their strategic lines. The more relevant results of this internationalization work has been the signature of two International cooperation agreements with the Peruvian Water Competence Center (Centro de Competencias del Agua de Perú) and with the Nevada’s Water Center of Excellence, and the relation open with the Alliance for Water Efficiency (USA) in order to create links and to sing a cooperation agreement.

A key element to validate and valorise newly generated knowledge as well as increasing visibility and awareness of WE@EU has been the dissemination of the project results throughout the duration of the project and following its completion.
The WE@EU project has developed a communication strategy with multiple targets in order to reach the triple helix structure of participant regions and the regional, national and European stakeholders that are linked to clusters. Thus, the dissemination plan benefited from existing links among WE@EU partners with relevant European networks of policy makers, business sector and clusters organizations, academics and other interested parties. The dissemination strategy goes beyond the publicity of WE@EU as a network/platform, to support the cluster approach to create competitive regions.
During the project, 135 dissemination activities have been done: 10 Articles published in the popular press, 12 Exhibitions, 28 Flyers, 9 Interviews, 5 Oral presentations to a scientific event, 9 Oral presentations to a wider public, 16 Organisations of Conferences, 22 Organisations of Workshops, 16 Press releases, 3 Videos, and 5 Web sites.

WE@EU committed to supporting capacity building. The more established regions in the consortium had provided mentoring to those regions with a less developed research profile, sharing knowledge and skills and providing access to a network of clusters beyond research. This has enabled them to be in a position to design and implement their own actions for the identification of emerging clusters and the setting up of new regional research-driven clusters. Initially, the project had provided such mentoring support to Malta.
The main actors involved in the achievement of this objective have been Paragon Europe and Ea éco-entreprises. The first one as it represented the region of Malta and acted as point of contact with the water related entities there; and Ea éco-entreprises being the biggest and oldest cluster involved in the project. The development of the mentoring activities was designed by these two main actors, with the collaboration of the other project’s partners. This design included several meetings (face to face, via telephone and Skype) and a visit of part of the project consortium to Malta. This visit to Malta gave to the project the opportunity to learn at first hand about Malta’s political, economic and technical potential in water efficiency. WE@EU partners prepared the activities relating to mentoring of Malta to support the setting-up and development of their Water Cluster. All training was carried out within the project meeting and the first Malta Water Week event from March 23rd to March 27th 2015. Two training sessions were scheduled, one oriented on cluster activation process and one on best practices in water management efficiency. In both training sessions WE@EU project partners and regional experts were involved; 30 persons attended.

Project Results:
WE@EU has been a CSA project, part of the Regions of Knowledge program. This section presents the work done in the work packages that have provided direct improvement in knowledge or state of the art related to the specific domain of this project.
The project has been structured into seven WP. WP1 was the classic management of the project. WP7 was focused on the dissemination. WP6 covered the mentoring activities presented in the previous section and so they are not repeated here. Following, the work done and the main results of the other four WP are presented.

As a first step for the development of the WE@EU project, the necessity of providing a detailed analysis of the current state of the regions involved in relation with water innovation in urban areas was identified. This would allow an analysis of how they could complement one to each other. In this way, the following objectives were proposed for this WP:
* To analyze the regional clusters involved and the regional capabilities;
* To set the current state of play at the regional and cluster level;
* To elaborate regional Research Agendas, one for each region,
* To identify the key elements that could improve the cooperation among cluster members, and with the environment. Special attention will have the policies that should improve the cooperation between research institutions and the industrial entities (mainly SMEs).
* To elaborate a detailed cross-regional analysis that identify the similarities and differences among them;
* To identify the technology offer and demand in the regions;
* To create an integrated view of the whole state of the play of the agents involved in the project.
The WP was organized around three tasks:

1. Elaboration Of Regional Research Agendas
The regional clusters involved in the project were analysed. The regional capabilities were identified in collaboration with the regional clusters. The state of play at the regional and cluster level was set, and a regional Research Agenda was developed for each region.
Initially, a data collection process was launched in each region. It was done using the web tool presented in Deliverable 2.1 (Data collection template, including questionnaires, for the regional Research Agenda). Using this information, the regional Research Agendas were built with the following details:
* A summary of Regional cluster innovation policies and initiatives prior to the creation of the consortium and start of WE@EU project.
* A set of Regional indicators regarding their RD&I and cluster profiles that were used in the regional comparative analysis.
* Regional Innovation analysis based on data collection from the most innovative actors in each region participating or linked to the regional clusters (mostly RD&I centers and business entities). Entities’ main research lines, projects, Intellectual Property Rights and other assets were assessed. This information was analysed using different approaches. The aim was to detect patterns and identify areas of specialization in the Regions related to water efficiency in urban areas. The analysis developed was done over the assets and the entities, and takes into account their classification according to the UNESCO codes, the EIP water areas of work, and with free keywords.
Over this analysis, a SWOT for each region was developed using two complementary methodologies:
* Expert panel based methodology. The first methodology used was based on the development of an expert panel assembled to give expert advice on the SWOT. This panel comprised of representatives from companies, public bodies, research and teaching centres, with each region identifying representatives who were willing to participate in a group panel discussion. The five main areas for discussion focused on: Regional policy (national, regional and local policies including finance opportunities), Infrastructure/economy (technologies, smart cities, water management, entities), Training and education (higher education institutes, programs and training centres), Community and social awareness (public entities, non-governmental organisations), and Exploitation (capacity to transfer knowledge, transfer to the market). The panel was structured into working groups of between 4 and 7 people, with one working group coordinator that was part of the WE@EU project team. Each working group was designated a specific area of focus based on the five themes above. Each working group discussed their allocated theme separately. The results of each working group were then presented to rest of the attendees who then contributed to the overall results of the working group.
* Non expert panel based methodology. The second methodology was used by those groups who were still developing their clusters or felt that they could not facilitate a representative group to take part in a panel event. Each region completed a further desk based study, supported by expert consultation by revisiting the initial analysis used to create the Regional Research Agenda, including additional entities, projects, and research lines that had emerged since the initial investigation. A preliminary SWOT analysis was undertaken, identifying areas which were not previously covered or discussed in detail during the Regional Research Agenda based on the above five themes. The questionnaire detailed in the first methodology was used. This method ensured the same desk based methodology was applied across all WP2 deliverables. The results of the preliminary SWOT analysis were then brought to the attention of a number of key experts involved in water efficiency and water management within each region. These experts were subsequently invited to comment on the initial results in relation to the questions posed by first methodology, providing additional evidence where necessary.

2. Comparative Analysis, Joining All Regional Research-Driven Clusters Including A Global Swot And A Directory Of Rtd Offer And Demand
Once each cluster and region was characterised, it was possible to identify the key elements that could improve the cooperation and coordination of the regional clusters, and with the environment. This was the basis for the elaboration of a detailed cross-regional analysis that identified the similarities and differences among them. As a result, an integrated view of the whole state of actors involved in the project was created.
The task was developed in two stages.
* An integrated Research Agenda. Using the same approach applied for each region, and joining all the data collected, an integrated analysis was done with the objective of developing a Research Agenda that could present the Consortium as a whole.
* An integrated SWOT analysis. Once the regional’s SWOTs had been developed, the next step was the integration of all of them, in order to have a base for the development of the Joint Action Plan. For achieving this objective, the four components of the regional’s SWOTs (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) were analysed separately looking for common elements, complementary aspects and special situations (elements that are unique to a particular region, for instance: Malta as a small island). The integration process was undertaken in two steps: The team from the University of Zaragoza developed an initial version (a three person team with different profile and experience worked together discussing the proposal in a collaborative process); This initial version was then shared with the five regions who analysed and commented the proposal working in local teams. After that, the team from the University of Zaragoza integrated all the comments into the final version.

3. State Of The Art Map
Finally, the capacities of each region, jointly with the technology offer and demand in the regions, were published and displayed on an on-line map available at the project website (
The most significant results achieved in this WP have been:
* A clear analysis of the capacities of each region and cluster and their alignment with the EIP water areas of work.
* A SWOT of each region and an integrated SWOT of all the regions. This analysis provided the necessary understanding for the development of a Joint Action Plan.
* An innovative online map that presents the capacities, offers and demands of each region.
* An ontology for describing the innovation in clusters and regions. It was not planned to obtain relevant RD&I results in this work package, but this development has produced a knowledge model that has been submitted to a research journal by the team from the University of Zaragoza.

WP3: Initiatives to improve integration: definition of a Joint Action Plan

WP3 was designed to specify initiatives to improve the integration amongst the partners of the project. The tool to be used was a Joint Action Plan (JAP) that had to be defined in the scope of this WP. For this reason, the following objectives were fixed:
* To identify common objectives and develop a common strategy for building a long-term vision on research and technological development strategies and activities for their implementation in the partner regions;
* To strengthen innovation systems by transferring the vision developed by the project to policy makers in order to help them in the planning of the actions for the future;
* To foster the development of successful clusters as key elements to improve the success of research and innovation policies;
* To guarantee the viability and sustainability of the activities launched during the project after it's end;
* To set up a business plan that can assure the financial coverage of the planned activities.
From the very first meeting the work package lead partner established the potential issues to be confronted within the three years of the project and presented several steps to be followed by the partnership in order to accomplish the proposed goals. To minimise any kind of qualitative risks all project partners were involved at the early stage (from the kick off meeting) in the work package development. The initial draft versions of the JAP were provided to the clusters via the intranet or by email every time it was updated. The partners had deadlines for commenting on the proposed versions in order to ensure timely updates and to allow everyone an opportunity to feed into the JAP. Two versions to be submitted to the Commission of the JAP were planned: a first version submitted during the moth 18th of the WE@EU project; and a second version submitted at the end of the project. The division of the two version was done in order to be able to use the first one as a guide for the development of the activities of the project, and to improve the JAP with the feedback from these experiences. The first version of the JAP was built using the results of WP2, and was organized around three tasks:

1. Joint Action Plan Development
This task had as its main objective building an initial version of the JAP (taking into account the regional legal, administrative, technical instruments as well as the financial framework). Each region of the consortium gathered information relating to water. The information was sourced from desk-based research, regional studies and interviews with key stakeholders. Five regional reports were developed covering the following topics: Regional policy; Infrastructure / economy; Training and education; Community, social awareness; Capacity to transfer knowledge, transfer to the market. With all the collected data from participants, the WE@EU consortium developed a cross region SWOT analysis incorporating the common points as well as the factors that affect water efficiency. The consortium considered the water priority themes identified in the regional agendas, as well as the conclusions from the WP2 water sector common analyses (exposed in deliverable 2.2). The identified needs and issues offered a general background of the water sector outlining the required improvements in each region of the project. To this, it added further water global perspectives (the water directives, Leeuwarden declaration, the Urban Agenda for 2030, discussions from the international water events such as EIP 2014, 2016) as well as partners and stakeholders past experiences. The collected information contributed to the selection of the strategic lines considered necessary for achieving the WP objectives.
JAP strategic lines were first discussed during the project meeting in Aix en Provence-“Workshop C” (July, 2014). During the meeting, the consortium settled on and analysed the possible necessary methods for the JAP construction. The Advisory Board who attended the meeting represented an added value to the task force in charge of the JAP writing. They helped the consortium develop key ideas and with the preparation of the strategic decisions. The second step for JAP development was done during the project meeting in Zaragoza “Workshop D” (November, 2014). During this meeting, the participants were divided into 2 working groups, and were asked to identify some possible common strategic lines for WE@EU JAP. The objective of this activity was to settle up the priorities of the consortium. Consequently, a brainstorming exercise was undertaken. It was based on 4 different topics related to the water efficiency in urban areas: Innovative water technologies (research and development/technologies transfer); Internationalisation; Public awareness targeting investors, citizen, local authorities, policy makers; Innovative funding. This last topic (Innovative funding) was considered vital to support RD&I, as well as any other collaborative initiatives for the development, testing and commercialisation of innovative water technology at the national and international scale, this line was selected as a transversal strategic line. The Consortium decided that several actions focusing on innovation would be integrated under each strategic line, in order to assist participants to identify future funding sources. To ensure that the proposed strategic lines were of general interest for the partner regions and for Europe in general, the consortium took into account the inputs from various stakeholders, the regional water events as well as the results of the workshops (Workshop C, Workshop D and Workshop F). During the project implementation the WE@EU consortium organised several Skype meetings to select RD&I strategic areas/actions needed to be carried out in the field of water management, with a particular attention on water efficiency and the necessities of the relevant participants and use.
The main result of this task has been the Deliverable 3.1.

2. Financial Support Schemes
This task explored financial schemes that could support the implementation of the JAP after the end of the project. Its main objective was to demonstrate the economic viability of the proposals presented in the Joint Action Plan. During the first 18 months, the partnership identified different opportunities for assuring the project’s continuation (see annex 2 of the Deliverable 3.1). After that, the partnership established a list of projects submitted jointly or independently that might be used for the project continuation (see annex 3 of the Deliverable 3.1). Finally, a common template for identification of resources by each partners was elaborated in the last period of the project (see annex 4 of the Deliverable 3.1). As a result of this work:
* Several proposals were submitted and one joint project was successful. The new project is called EnW (Energy in Water) belongs to COSME “Go international” call three partners from WE@EU consortium participate to the project: ARU, Zinnae and Ea éco-entreprises.
* Taking into account the clusters financial analyses the WE@EU consortium established a project continuation strategy available in the Deliverable 7.4.
* A list of regional, national and international financial schemes were included and it is available in the JAP annexes (Deliverable 3.1)
This task was developed in parallel with the previous one.

3. Joint Action Plan - Presentation And Dissemination
The JAP is related with the clusters and the regions. To be useful, it needs the cooperation of several actor from the regions, especially local authorities. The main objective of this task was the dissemination of the Joint Action Plan to inform local authorities about the existence and the baselines (coordinated with the dissemination WP). In this way, several meetings with technical staff of public administrations (the regional workshops) took place during the project: UK (25th of November, 2015), France (15th of March, 2016), Spain (10th of March, 2016), Israel (14th March, 2016), and Malta (3rd of May, 2016). In addition, several activities were developed for the dissemination of low-level details of the Joint Action Plan in straight cooperation with the dissemination WP leader (WE@EU video, the Public JAP version, WE@EU tweeter and website). Finally, the JAP strategic lines were showcased and disseminated during the International Cooperation and Regional Clusters: Innovation in Water efficiency, where regional policy makers attended (18th of May 2016).
The main result of this task has been the Deliverable 3.2 and the “easy to use” version of the JAP available in the project website (

WP4: Measures towards the implementation of a Joint Action Plan
WP4 was designed to support the mutual learning process of the regional clusters and pave the way for the successful realisation of the Joint Action Plan. This was fixed into the following objectives:
* To create a real community of companies, research teams, other public and private entities, and, in the final term, persons interested in the management of water efficiency problems in urban areas. This objective has been achieved through the following sub-objectives: To establish personal contacts, informal meetings and incite discussions, bilateral actions; To create opportunities for experience exchange and sharing of good practices; To discuss on joint interests, thematic issues, regional challenges, etc.; To provoke knowledge exchange of various models of technology transfer processes; To create a framework for collaborating in new ideas and opportunities;
* To generate activity on the Internet related with the dissemination of the Joint Action Plan.
Thus, the activities foreseen were mostly concentrated on the experiences of each of the involved clusters as well as on the possibilities to learn and exchange these experiences between each other and take up lessons from good practices identified in Europe. In this way, three main tasks were specified: Trans-regional Plan to facilitate staff exchanges and trainings, Trans-regional Workshops, and Dynamisation of the Action Plan. All the efforts were planned with an approach to sustain the WE@EU project, including activities developed for the future with emphasis on regional development. During the workshops and meetings that took place in the WE@EU project, the Consortium examined the directions and collaborative work that will contribute in the water sector in the participating regions and in Europe. To achieve the objectives of the JAP, the consortium established a series of strategic lines presented in WP3, and WP4 developed the tasks according to these three main Strategic lines, which have been: National initiatives to support capacity building, Collaborative projects and RD&I projects, and Internationalisation.
The international contacts that were developed during the WE@EU project and the projects that were planed and submitted to European and regional levels (such as the proposal for Marie Skłodowska-Curie action of exchanging researchers from universities and SMEs, Horizon 2020 projects on Circular Economy and ENI Mediterranean projects planned), are an essential output of the contacts developed between the members of the water clusters. The connection and efforts of implementing the JAP are also the output of this WP, leading to some commercial contacts, as well as developing proposals that were submitted and the international network that was created. The Consortium considers that the network developed during this CSA project, in between the partners but especially with the SMEs, succeeded in involving the institutes of the Scientific Advisory Committee as a key for development. Those activities are the basis for the sustainability of the project and the water-clusters in the future.
The SMEs of the water-clusters in the different regions who participated in this project were an essential contributor to the success of its activity, and the involvement of the universities and the research institutes contributed to the creation of new ideas and new directions for development. The contacts developed during the workshops and the B2B meetings (and we had many of them) were translated into proposals and projects (and some of these are now in product development stage). The contributions of the Scientific Advisory Board throughout the project succeeded in bringing the clusters in contact with European Networks such as Wetsus, WssTP; EIP-Water; NETWERC H2O and more. These contacts enable many of the partners and the SMEs involved to have a better understanding of the European approaches and needs, and directing their development in the direction of the Water Directive.
In addition to the international meetings and workshops that WE@EU organised during the project in which the Consortium succeeded in bringing together people from industries and research institutes from the different regions, the partners decided to prepare a proposal for the purpose of international staff and researcher exchanges, by preparing a common proposal to be submitted to the Marie-Skłodowska Curie call. It included the trans-border exchange of staff researchers from universities, industrialists from SMEs, administrators and resource from the authorities that are involved in water regulation, and other partners. The focus was a common research issue to be developed, attempts to mentor SMEs and develop bottom-up ideas from industries, the universities and research institutes and create meaningful proposed products.
The actions taken to involve other countries and outside experts in the WE@EU development have been presented as a result of this project and are connected to the internationalisation of the project, with an eye to developing the SMEs’ capabilities. National and international initiatives were developed and implemented to support capacity building and raise public awareness, especially on the SMEs’ levels. It developed knowledge links and supported growth between local actors, as well as developed a community of actors in urban water management in each region, and was active in organising events (dissemination of best practices through communication such as press releases, interviews, online platforms of best practices etc.) and organising water exhibitions and conferences.

WP5: International measures to boost the competitiveness of the regional research-driven clusters Plan
WP5 was specified for the identification of relevant entities in the project domain, and provide them with the view of the problem that the consortium has, and how this problem can be tackled according with the responses that the consortium are proposing. Consequently, this specification was done around the following objectives:
* To identify relevant agents in the project domain, outside the consortium, in order to create relationships with them looking for creating synergies and a certain kind of lobby;
* To launch initiatives for the creation of networks with the objective of improving the cooperation in the project domain, looking for new opportunities in the development of RD&I projects, as well as services that could support these new innovation initiatives;
* To develop common approaches among the many and varied stakeholders to find a greater coherence in the way of water management at urban areas.
In this way, three main tasks were implemented during the development of the project:

1. Identification Of Relevant Agents
The task for this work package was the execution of WE@EU’s international agenda, specifically that of international collaboration through the building and maintaining of relationships that would be of interest to the consortium. This would also allow the consortium to learn from international partners to create best practice for WE@EU and to guarantee project continuation moving forwards. Identifying relevant agents can only be achieved by understanding the level of experiences of SME’s in the international environment. This was achieved through analysis and the creation of a map based on the WE@EU visualiser and Water Cluster Innovation Map. This fulfilled deliverable 5.1 Reports on International dialogue events and on-line global map of contacts. A survey detailing the criteria to create the map was disseminated to the consortium with a four week deadline. The fields within this survey requested the relationships, identity of the contact, the category of the contact, scope of dialogue and the country of origin. All partners submitted three or four international contacts that were outside the WE@EU consortium. Following the gathering and the analysis of data it was then possible to populate the map that demonstrated the outreach that WE@EU had already achieved as well as the potential new avenues as yet undiscovered. The goal was to create a clear visual tool to accurately portray and demonstrate the external international expertise available from within the consortium to explore collaboration opportunities further afield. The results demonstrated that each region had differing levels of expertise and contacts, which proved instrumental in developing the WE@EU international outreach. Additionally WE@EU also developed its own separate international outreach and discussed potential collaboration with other entities in countries such as China, Iran and Kazakhstan. These additional discussions have not led to the creation of an International Cooperation Agreement immediately, however there is scope for this to happen post WE@EU. These meetings also ensured the fulfilment of Task 5.1 The selection of relevant agents.
The main results of this task have been:
* 3 contacts from each cluster member of WE@EU were disseminated to WP leaders, spanning 12 countries and 3 continents;
* Dominant categories were Research Institutions and Not for Profit Organisations;
* Further discussions ongoing with international entities in China, Kazakhstan and Iran - these will likely result in the signing of further ICA following the completion of the WE@EU project.

2. International Dialogue And Business Networking Events
For the development of this task, two networking events were proposed. The objective of hosting these events was to facilitate and create networks that allow the fostering of collaboration on new potential RD&I projects in urban water management. This fulfilled the original proposal requirement of International measures to boost the competitiveness of the regional research-driven clusters plan. One of the events was held in Peterborough (UK, the WP leader’s location) in July 2015, and the other in Brussels (Belgium) in May 2016. Both events followed the brief of promoting collaboration and networking opportunities between SME’s as well as other enterprises such as not for profit and academic institutions. In addition, a smaller event was held also in Cambridge (UK) in November 2015 to explore particular issues related to international outreach in more detail. The workshops and activities at these events were designed to encourage dialogue between entities. In this way, the opportunities for international collaboration were presented and the workshops raised awareness for the need for the water industry to internationalise. Different audiences were targeted for each event, Water Connect 2015 in Peterborough brought together consortia members from across Europe but consisted predominately of UK SME’s and organisations. The final dissemination event in Brussels attracted an international delegation from across Europe and the wider world.
The speakers selected were critical for the success of the events. Water Connect 2015 speakers were from across the water industry, showcasing technology and initiatives. The format of dissemination presentations and interactive activities promoted international dialogue. For the dissemination event in Brussels the speakers selected were from across the spectrum of policy, local and regional government level.
The main results of this task have been:
* Two large international dialogue events staged in the UK and Belgium;
* Smaller business networking event held in the UK to understand local SME attitude to the European and international markets in more depth;
* International Cooperation and Regional Clusters, Innovation in Water Efficiency (Brussels event) highlighted the necessity for clusters to become international;
* Europe should sell itself internationally as a single market of water expertise;
* The format at both events presented opportunities for collaboration between academia and the commercial sectors;
* All speakers and delegates at all events agreed the importance of raising water efficiency awareness on the European and local political agendas.

3. International Cooperation Agreements And Platform For Joint Operations In The INTERNATIONAL MARKET
Two International Cooperation Agreements were set as a target for WE@EU to sign during the project tenure, 2013-2016. This would allow for project continuation when EU funding ceases while also promoting internationalisation opportunities. The first agreement was with Centro de Competencias del Agua (CCA), a non-profit association which conducts applied research, technological development and innovation in Peru. The second agreement was formed with the Nevada Center of Excellence (now Waterstart), a government funded research institution in The United States that looks to address water scarcity in the Nevada region. These agreements were signed through networking opportunities presented to WE@EU. CCA was contacted through Zinnae initially in 2014, concluding with an ICA between CCA and WE@EU in early 2015, building on the CCA’s desire to increase their activities abroad. The Nevada Center of Excellence agreement was achieved through an initial British Water conference invitation, where mutual interests and goals was quickly established. Further meetings and emails discussed potential collaboration avenues. As an early success under this ICA a Request for Information (with associated funding) from Nevada was circulated to the WE@EU consortia and this provided a strong response from SME members of the clusters.
Discussions on future agreements are ongoing with a draft ICA having been agreed with The Alliance for Water Efficiency in the USA which will be signed shortly after the close of the WE@EU project. Further partnership at the European level has been achieved through the new Energy in Water European Strategic Cluster Partnership (ESCP), with WE@EU partners Zinnae, the UK Water Cluster and EA Eco Enterprises taking part in the new venture.
The main results of this task have been:
* Two ICA’s signed with cluster entities in Peru and the USA;
* Further ICA due to be signed with The Alliance for Water Efficiency in the USA;
* Platform for joint projects in the international market launched in the form of the Energy in Water ESCP – this will ensure the long term sustainability of the WE@EU project.

Potential Impact:
WE@EU has been a project based on clusters and regions. From the point of view of the clusters, the next data presents de direct impact of the project:
* Number of clusters associates benefiting directly project: 214
* Entreprises benefiting directly or indirectly from the project: 147
* Number of organized B2Bs: 482
* Site visits: 17
* Cluster attendees participating to WE@EU events: 1236
* Clusters growth: 147 new members of the five clusters.
In addition, partners has made an analysis of the socio-economic impact of the project in each region:

Direct socio-economic impacts of WE@EU project for Aragon region and specifically ZINNAE Water Cluster have various dimensions: from an increase of links and integration between triple-helix stakeholders participating in ZINNAE Water Cluster; an increase on the presence, visibility and impact of the Cluster’s Activities within the Region; to a better international performance of ZINNAE cluster’s members in European funding Programmes and international connections. This can be summarized in the following impacts so far:
1. Regarding the socio-economic impacts within ZINNAE water cluster, one of the direct and most evident impacts of WE@EU project has been the increase in the number of members. The Cluster created in 2010 counted with 27 members when the proposal was presented to the Regions of Knowledge Program. On June 2016 the cluster counted with 38 members. An important number of activities (JAP preparation under WP3; Regional workshops under WP4 and dissemination activities under WP7) have been boosted under the project and this is directly related to the increase of associates within the Cluster.
WP2 – Analysis and integration of research agendas also brought a deeper knowledge and collaboration with Research, development and Innovation key players in Aragon. Before WE@EU, three research centers were part of ZINNAE. After WE@EU, up to five research centers are associates. Moreover, before the project, only four research groups had an active participation with other regional innovation actors within the cluster. After the project, up to fifteen research groups linked to water have been identified and participated in two showcasing events linked to the project (I3A Research Institute and FCC Aqualia Matchmaking event). There is an active collaboration with nine out of fifteen, including active participation in workshops and national/regional projects: Computational Hydraulics Group; Advanced Information Systems (IAAA); HOWLab; Public Economy; Natural Resources; Advanced Instrumentation; GESTAR – Advanced irrigation; Public Procurement; CREG – Membranes
The project has brought an improvement of the links with regional authorities. Water is a public resource and thus, innovation in water technologies and management need for a direct involvement of public authorities and public companies in charge of the water cycle. The participation of local and regional authorities (Zaragoza City Council; Aragonese Water Institute; Ebro River Basin authority; Directorate General for Innovation in Aragon) has been supported through their direct involvement in Regional SWOT analysis and Regional innovation landscape under WP2 and through their participation in innovation workshops in 2014-2016 at Smagua Water Fair (under WP7 and WP4 respectively); during these workshops a new methodology for problems-solutions identification through pitch was tested and validated, which has turned into innovation projects identification for national funding calls.
The project has supported the collaboration with other sectors and clusters regionally. The project WE@EU was leaded by IAAA Research Group from the University of Zaragoza. This also contributed to enhance the relationship of ZINNAE with ICT Cluster from Aragon – TECNARA, which in turn led to a Memorandum of understanding signed between the two clusters in February 2016. In 2015, a project was funded by National Spanish Ministry linking water and ICT schemes successfully gather togheterthrough WE@EU networking ativities (PROMOVER). In 2016, up to 3 project proposals were applied to national funding call (AEI 2016) for innovation initiatives linking water and ICT sectors. Agriculture represents the other sector more strongly related to water sector. ZINNAE organized in the framework of WE@EU an innovation Commision for cluster members inviting the Small Farmers Association of Spain, for networking and projects identification.
Internally, the project has also consolidated 0.5 human power within the cluster staff (i.e. before WE@EU 1.5 people was supporting the cluster management; after the project 2 people compose the cluster staff).
2. Regarding the socio-economic impact of the project at Regional level, Deliverable 2.2 Regional Research Agenda was a reference document for the development of the Regional Smart Specialization Strategy of Aragon, supporting the inclusion of the topic “Smart water monitoring” as a key priority innovation area within the strategic line “Efficiency of Resources: Water and Energy”, being ZINNAE included in Working groups for RIS3 Development and presentation.
The presence of ZINNAE and the University of Zaragoza as leader of the project, ensured the involvement of the Regional Government of Aragon in WE@EU events. It is remarkable the endorsement of the Regional Office of Aragon in Brussels to the Final Dissemination event of WE@EU, celebrated in May 18th, which led to the support of other European Institutions such as the Committee of the Regions and the European Parliament through Aragonese MEP.
3. Regarding the socio-economic impact of the project in the Cluster and its members transregionally, ZINNAE’s members have gained visibility and collaboration in WE@EU Regions. This means a direct collaboration of ZINNAE’s SME with partners from PACA - France; Malta and Israel due to their participation in WE@EU Workshops (WE@EU first Assembly 2014; Malta Water Week; and WATEC 2015). Seven ZINNAE cluster members participated in these WE@EU workshops and, together with the B2B organized in the Regional Workshop organized in Zaragoza (November 2014), participated in up to 41 B2B. Out of this networking, an EU-H2020 call was prepared jointly by Spanish-French companies (Cognit, Helio Pur); a business partnership was created between two SME (Spanish - Grupo Verne and Israeli – Hidrospin). SME from EA Ecoentreprises participated in lasts editions of SMAGUA water fair (2014, 2016), being included in ZINNAE – WE@EU booth. Also Feria de Zaragoza – SMAGUA facilitated the presence of Israeli water companies in last SMAGUA edition through visiting WATEC Fair. This collaboration will be continued through the framework stablished in the “Memorandum of Understanding of WE@EU” signed at the end of the project.
4. ZINNAE, representing WP7 Leader of WE@EU project, has gained presence in European Fora, receiving specific invitations to present WE@EU activities and results in relevant fora (Capitalisation Exercise 2013; Open Days 2015 in Brussels). Also the project supported the cluster’s visibility in the most relevant European Networks such as the European Innovation Partnership on Water (organization of a Back-To-Back meeting in the EIP Water Conference in Barcelona; Booth in EIP Water Conference in Leeuwarden); ERRIN Water Working Group; and WssTP. A summary of ZINNAE’s involvement in different EU water related events during the project lifetime follows: Regions of Knowledge Capitalisation workshop, Brussels (29/11/2013); EU Cluster Conference 2014, Brussels (20/10/2014); EIP-Water conference 2014, Barcelona (06/11/2014); ERRIN Water Workin Group, Brussels (03/12/14); EU Water Conference, Brussels (24/03(2014); International Networkin Cluster event, Porto (29/01/2015); Smart Combination of funding sources to boost energy investment at regional level: synergies between European Structural and Investment Funds and H2020. Open days 2015, Brussels (13/10/2015); WssTP Brokerage Event, Brussels (23-24/11/2015); EIP-Water conference 2016, Leeuwarden (09/02/2016)
At the end of the day, this also led to the participation of ZINNAE in relevant Consortiums for European Projects Development, two awarded with a grant under COSME Program: Energy in Water - COSME-Clusters Go International leaded by a WE@EU partner - ARU (COS-Cluster-2014-3-03); and INNO-DROP (in negotiation stage) COSME – Cluster Excellence (COS-CLUSTER-2015-3-02).
5. Finally, ZINNAE has leaded the networking between Peruvian Water Cluster (Centro de Competencias del Agua ) and WE@EU clusters supporting the signature of a International Cooperation Agreement. According to this, ZINNAE organized together with CCA, an inverse trade mission of Peruvian water stakeholders during SMAGUA 2016 and organized, in the framework of WE@EU project, a specific internationalization workshop in march 08th 2016. This is expected to support a stronger presence of aragonese SME in Peru and enhance cooperation on innovation schemes between Aragonese and Peruvian water authorities. In fact, this is already happening through the involvement of regional water stakeholders from academia, authorities and business in the MBA in Water management that CCA-Peru will launch in Autumn 2016.

Impacts take time to materialise, often years when related to RD&I and collaborations. As the WE@EU programme has just come to an end it is not possible to measure the full extent of its impact or outcomes and therefore outputs will be used as a proxy.
* The Water Cluster. By the end of the WE@EU project The Water Cluster had 79 members. Benefits recognised by members include the opportunity to develop collaborations with other Water Cluster Members and associated international partners. One such collaboration was Hyperlocal Rainfall, a collaboration between Peterborough Environment City Trust, Meniscus Systems Ltd, Anglia Ruskin University and Loughborough University. The collaboration is working to create a phone app to allow users in Peterborough to receive weather predictions with 5 minute precision at a hyperlocal scale, thereby informing decisions regarding sustainable travel choices. The app is currently at Beta stage. This could have economic and social impacts both in terms of product development for the company and social impacts through better travel management.
* Water Connect 2015. The objective of Water Connect 2015 was to facilitate and enhance collaborative opportunities and raise awareness of the need for change at the consumer and policy level, and encourage enhanced research, development and innovation across the water sector. The event hosted 177 attendees, including 20 international delegates and 48 from the East of England, at a venue in Peterborough.
* Future Collaborative Opportunities. There have been significant economic development opportunities as part of the WE@EU project. For example, the current International Cooperation Agreements (ICA) offer investment and export opportunities, such as members of the Water Cluster being part of a Request for Information from the Nevada Center of Excellence with a grant value of $250,000 and access to test sites for relevant technologies. The future ICA with the Water Alliance will strengthen further ties with the USA.
Finally, the ongoing collaboration through the European Strategic Cluster Partnership (ESCP) Energy in Water which the East of England is leading will offer further socio-economic opportunities.

The Galilee Water-cluster, as a result of the WE@EU project, is very active in further developing international activities and broadening the WE@EU activities. As a result of the project MIGAL expanded its innovative scientific research activities in the water sector, and extend the economic and societal benefits of those activities throughout the Galilee. CAMPUS, the association of the 14 municipalities in the Galilee was also active in promoting regulations concerning water issues and especially was concern about the olive oil mills’ and wineries’ wastewater, and was in contact with the Ministry for Protecting the Environment and the Israeli Water Authority concerning this issue. Peleg HaGalil developed further the project concerning wineries’ wastewater and built a full scale plant at Dalton Winery in the Galilee.
The Israeli partners of WE@EU organised workshops and involved the stakeholders and promoted research collaborations across the Galilee with cluster member industries (Galcon, Amiad, Netafim, etc.) and EU universities, in order to facilitate links between our researchers and SMEs and the European entities. Few proposals were recently submitted to Horizon 2020 calls by WE@EU’s cluster members. The European partners of the consortia of these proposals were located due to the operations of the water cluster.
Several workshops were designed to bring together researchers from across Europe to accelerate this process of initiating collaborative projects. The events included opportunities to discuss research interests and to start exploring areas of common interest that might lead to fruitful collaborations.
WE@EU was participating in the WATEC water fair that took place in Tel-Aviv, Israel, during October 13-15 2015. The WE@EU booth presented the international cooperation of the project activity and its clusters. The delegations of the member countries included several SME's of each cluster and many B2B meeting took place.
In all these events we plan that scientists, regulators and industrialists will “mingle” during lunches, dinners and cocktails and have the chance to know each other.
We also involved our neighbours from Jordan and Palestine in the WE@EU’s activities and organised a tour in Galilee regarding the water issues and had discussions on possible collaboration in submitting proposals to the EU Horizon 2020 Calls on “Climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials” for the 2015 topics. We regret that none of these projects were approved for funding.
During the workshop of JRC in the Galilee on December 16-18 with delegates from JRC, Enlargement/Integration/Neighbouring countries and some western European countries we discuss water and environmental issues. As a result we plan a proposal with Novi Sad University in Serbia.
Based on all the above mentioned activities, we are confident that a sustainable water cluster was developed in the Galilee, including cooperation with other WE@EU project members, and with other EU member states. Recent cluster activity was accompanied by development of the water industry in the region. Based on enhanced local and international cooperation few of the clusters’ SMEs enhanced their production and marketing operations and enlarged their workforce. The water academic sector based in two of the regions colleges added new courses for BSc and MSc students. All these activities are part of the general effort socio-economic development of the Galilee region.

The most relevant impact of this project in Malta has been the creation of the Malta Water Cluster. Paragon Europe, as the Maltese partner in this project was delegated to bring together a research-driven cluster for Malta. This cluster is composed of public and private stakeholders, NGOs and entities from the business sector. This is a first for Malta. The role of each member of the cluster is to contribute, through their knowledge and know-how to a cohesive approach to water efficiency and to gain from the expertise and experience of other participants. The Cluster also aims to explore research and technological potential; enhance competitiveness of local stakeholders; and support regional development in this sector.
The economic and social impacts of the Custer include: facilitation of exchange of ideas for the creation of new opportunities amongst members; visibility of local water technology initiatives internationally; the pooling of local and foreign expertise and know-how; the provision of input and identification of technology transfer needs in Malta and shaping of best practices; the development of collaborative R&D&I/pilot projects; the design of new products and services for specific challenges of the urban water cycle; access to European networks; and the opportunity to participate in local and European events. Cluster members have already participated in WE@EU events in Malta and abroad.
* Malta Water Week. As part of WE@EU, in March 2015 Paragon Europe held the Malta Water Week 2015, an international five-day event, comprising a variety of activities looking into innovation in water-management solutions and technology, novel financing ideas in water and expert intervention. The activities which were held during the week included: a Water Research Conference; B2B & B2C Brokerage Event; Training Workshops; an EU funding Brokerage Event; and an Investment Forum Event. During the week Paragon Europe also facilitated a number of side meetings between local entities and European counterparts. The event brought together a large number of distinguished experts in the field who over the course of the event shared experiences and knowledge with other participants who hailed from various local and European entities. The event was an ideal platform to present Malta’s political, economic and technical potential in water efficiency in urban areas and bring together local and foreign entities, giving the consortium and their members the opportunity to meet local stakeholders representing the triple helix while also presenting the local entities with the opportunity to meet with and benefit from the training delivered and expertise of the WE@EU partners. The Conference included 29 Speakers (12 Local, 17 Foreign) and 91 persons attended. The other events which took place during the week included an Investment Brokerage session (attendees 15); an EU Brokerage session (attendees 10); B2B (companies/entities 19) and Cluster Training, (attendees 30).
* Regional and Transnational Cooperation. The WE@EU project provided a platform which enabled the sourcing and development of regional and transnational cooperation. Through the visits held as well as meetings and training held in Malta by consortium members and by Paragon Europe a high level of cooperation was initiated leading to a situation in which Paragon Europe, local SMEs, research centres and public entities can collaborate and seek new opportunities locally and overseas.
* Future Socio Economic Opportunities. Through the WE@EU Project strong links were developed with the key local players in this sector. Paragon Europe will continue to strentghen these links and develop the Malta Water Cluster further. A second edition of the Malta Water Week will be held in 2017. Links established with international and European stakeholders will continue to be developed.

The socio-economic impact of WE@EU project will be measurable at a long-term scale. However, some short-term regional impact might be anticipated.
* Thanks to WE@EU regional and transnational events, the local triple helix water actors could meet and discuss together the regional water main challenges. This was done through working groups, technical days, innovation clubs and networking event basing the dialogues on WE@EU regional SWOT analysis. These events enhanced collaboration between EA cluster and the Water and Environmental Actors (such as: Regional Agency for Environment and Eco-development, the Rhone Mediterranean and Corsica Water Agency, the French state represented by DIRECCTE). These organisations are vital for SMEs economic development representing potential niches for funding opportunities. By gathering the water actors the local authorities gained visibility on the efficient solutions and had access to a bottom up approach. SMEs to their turn were introduced with the funding opportunities highlighted in the JAP as vital for the direct economic development of the water actors and indirectly to the territorial development.
* The B2Bs organized during WE@EU events reinforced the collaboration between SMEs and Academia at national, but also transnational level. The collaborative projects mean mutual learning and regional growth. For example the regional SMEs such as: Imageau, Altereo, Helio Pur Technologies and GERME are in contact with Spanish, Israeli and Maltese enterprises. Their collaboration may have commercial but also an economic impact in PACA region.
* WE@EU project provides to water SMEs an open platform for cooperation and exchange of know how. Consequently our regional SMEs can meet actors from other regions and exchange with them on existing solutions. The project represents today a meta-cluster where PACA SMEs and the research centers may look for international partners.
* The WE@EU joint action plan will serve as a reference document for the regional water authorities as the Ea éco-entreprises cluster is invited to the Water working groups for Smart Specialisation Strategy. The cluster will also be able to share the projects outputs during workshops organised by SOURSE and AGORA. Thus the WE@EU Declaration and the Joint action plan will serve as reference documents for the Regional water orientation and future funding opportunities.
* The events undertaken in order to strengthen the cooperation between the water SMEs and PACA regions public procurers are also a good initiative as the regional SWOT analyses identified this feature as a regional weakness. Several workshop were organised within the project for diminuating this weakness(Regional Meeting for Eco-Innovation and Public Procurement in PACA region (28/01/2016), A day around circular economy (10/06/2016). Certainly, it is necessary to continue working on this issue for the sustainable results.
* Ea created in 2015 a scientific committee for boosting businesses and ACADEMIA collaboration: “Application of Nanotechnologies in Water Treatment”.
* Excellence in water efficiency is a result of strong triple helix collaboration and Ea cluster in Partnership with the Pôle Eau (the Water Cluster) accompanied PACA actors to form such partnerships. The successful RD&I projects will create several jobs but also aim to brink added value to PACA territory. The SMEs which belong to Ea éco-entreprises or to the Pole Eau (the Water Cluster) won about 6 research and development projects Ex: Duranet, Paris, Syrhius, but also a Life+ (BioSolware, Life+). All these projects can potentially generate new jobs and economic value at regional level.

Despite the large number of dissemination activities made during the project (total 135: 10 Articles published in the popular press, 12 Exhibitions, 28 Flyers, 9 Interviews, 5 Oral presentations to a scientific event, 9 Oral presentations to a wider public, 16 Organisations of Conferences, 22 Organisations of Workshops, 16 Press releases, 3 Videos, and 5 Web sites), main dissemination activities of the project have been the following:
* Clusters for water efficiency in European regions (Back to Back EIP-Water Conference), 06/11/2014, Barcelona (Spain).
* Malta Water Week 2015, March 2015, Malta.
* Water Connect 2015, July 2015, Peterborough (United Kingdom).
* Exhibitions in the WATEC 2015 Exhibition and Conference, October 2015, Tel-Aviv (Israel).
* WE@EU Booth at EIP-Water Conference 2016, 09/02/2016, Leeuwarden (The Netherlands).
* International Cooperation and Regional Clusters: Innovation in Water Efficiency, May 2015, Brussels (Belgium).
* Video of the Water efficiency in European Urban Areas Final Event. Available at

List of Websites:

Main contact :
F. Javier Zarazaga-Soria,
Project Coordinator


Aled Jones,

Cristina Casian,

Uri Marchaim,

Dan Levanon,

Steve Bowyer,

Anton Theuma,

Eddie Schoseev,

F. Javier Zarazaga-Soria,

Marisa Fernández,