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Water Works 2014-2019 in Support of the Water JPI

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - WaterWorks2014 (Water Works 2014-2019 in Support of the Water JPI)

Reporting period: 2015-02-01 to 2016-02-29

Water is a critical resource for the European society. Beside its main life function, freshwater also provides many other functions essential to our economy. Due to the nature of water challenges they, cannot be successfully tackled through the isolated effort of individual national research and innovation programmes. The ERA-NET Cofund WaterWorks2014 project supports and accelerates the implementation of the Joint Programming Initiative “Water Challenges for a Changing World” (Water JPI), an inter-governmental collaboration intended to tackle the ambitious challenge of achieving sustainable water systems for a sustainable economy in Europe and abroad.

WaterWorks2014 addresses this grand challenge through the development of transnational and trans-disciplinary research and innovation actions. Specifically, this ERA-NET Cofund aims at integrating the efforts and Strategic Agendas of European Water Research and Innovation funding organizations and at pooling financial resources towards the definition and implementation of a joint transnational and multi-disciplinary Call for research and innovation proposals.

In line with the project aims, WaterWorks2014 has implemented a joint transnational Call for proposals on research and innovation for developing technological solutions and services for water distribution and measurement, waste water treatment and reuse, desalination, floods and droughts. The call is a contribution to support the implementation of EU water policy.

WaterWorks2014 also performs activities contributing to Water JPI strategy and implementation, which are intended to bridge the gaps and fragmentation of European water-related research and innovation activities. Activities contributing to strategy include the development of new versions of the Water JPI Strategic Agenda and the Implementation Plan. Activities contributing to implementation include sharing good practices on Water research and innovation funding and management, exploratory workshops, alignment of on-going research projects in the field of water and the monitoring and evaluation of Water JPI Calls with or without cofunding.

The results of WaterWorks2014 will be of benefit for researchers, policy-makers, water authorities, utility operators, industry, farmers, and citizens by developing new solutions to water challenges.
The WaterWorks2014 project has fulfilled all the goals and has accomplished the milestones planned for this reporting period, with all the work packages (WP) active and running. Cooperation between consortium members was crucial to succeed in the planned activities in line with the specific project objectives:

- The coordination and management activities under WP1 have ensured the integration between WaterWorks2014 and the Water JPI and accommodated the synergies with the CSA WatEUr, also in support of Water JPI. The required closeness between the WaterWorks2014 Era-Net Cofund project, Water JPI and CSA WatEUr has been ensured by tight collaboration of the respective lead partners to avoid duplication of efforts and at the same time extending the coordination to the Water JPI partner countries not taking part in WaterWorks2014, to the European Commission and to a large number of European actors in water Research, Development and Innovation (RDI). A quality and risk control plan has been prepared to ensure an effective monitoring of the project realization.

- A major project milestone under WP2, the joint transnational call for RDI proposals was successfully implemented in a bid to improve the coordination of European Water RDI. The Call theme “Research and Innovation for Developing Technological Solutions and Services” partially covered some of the five priority themes described in the Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA) of Water JPI. The scope of the call covered Research and Innovation for Developing Technological Solutions and Services:
1. for Water Treatment, Reuse, Recycling and Desalination;
2. for Water Resources Management; and
3. to Mitigate Impacts of Extreme Events (Floods and Droughts) at Catchment Scale.
A total of 16 transnational collaborative research projects were selected for funding under the criteria promoting excellence in RDI and impact on the Water JPI societal challenge. The funding of these projects involves all 17 Funding Partner Organisations (FPOs) from the 15 different countries participating in the call, including the European Commission participation. The total funding invested in the projects amounts to 13.9M€.

- In close collaboration with the WP2, the first activities for the definition of the monitoring and evaluation framework were being carried out under WP3 in order to prepare for the follow-up of the RDI projects selected for funding. The Guidelines for project reporting and monitoring were produced, in line with a common set of project monitoring indicators and reporting procedures that fulfil both National and Horizon 2020 criteria and building on the experience of the monitoring and evaluation framework of the Water JPI 2013 Joint Pilot Call. A Follow-up Group of experts who will be evaluating the funded projects in their mid-term and final evaluation was set up.

- The WaterWorks2014 dissemination and communication activities started under WP4. Based on the Water JPI Communication Strategy, these activities are intended to ensure the uptake of project outputs by specific communities. The direct engagement with the research community, companies, other relevant stakeholders and society at large will facilitate the dissemination of knowledge, applications and tools delivered by the projects.
Additionally, a first prototype for Open Access and Open Data has been set up.
The main dissemination tool used is the Water JPI website (www.waterjpi.eu) displaying all the activities developed within the Water JPI and its supporting projects, along with their progress and results. Linked to the website are the Water JPI social networks (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook), as well as a monthly Newsletter and a calendar of events. Additional dissemination tools are continuously used to promote the Water JPI and WaterWorks2014 project, such as leaflets, posters, videos, press releases, etc.

- The WP 5 and 6 on Additional activities on Water JPI strategy and implementation successfully kicked-off.
The Water JPI Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA) is a key document that presents water RDI needs grouped in thematic areas and prioritised according to their urgency and importance. Under WP5, the planning principles for developing of the Water JPI strategy were set up to update the SRIA (SRIA2.0 i.e second iteration, released in April 2016). The planning principles include reviews of emerging research needs, review of methodologies used for previous versions and/or by other EU-Initiatives, networking with EU-projects and initiatives via Water JPI Task Force on Interactions with H2020, increasing the input from the consultative bodies in the process of updating and the strengthening of dissemination mechanisms. Based on the contents of the SRIA v2.0 a revised Implementation plan 2017-2019 is under preparation, providing a roadmap to implement the SRIA and to achieve the overall objectives of the Water JPI Vision. To resume the significant Water JPI achievements including strategy and implementation, the “Water JPI Key Achievements 2011-2016” documents has been drafted.
WP6 aims at improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the Water JPI community and at developing activities in the Water JPI Implementation Plan. This includes the planning of the first Good Practices workshop on Water RDI funding, which took place in April 2016. Additionally, the planning and structure for exploratory workshops targeted at emerging scientific and technological developments and the meetings for the alignments and networking of on-going RDI projects have been set. In parallel, the monitoring and follow-up activities are being carried out for the projects selected for funding through the 2013 Water JPI Pilot Call.
WaterWorks2014 addresses the water challenges in Europe through its support of the Water JPI, which aims to coordinate individual water research agendas of participating countries with a European-wide strategic research agenda on common research questions, increase cooperation between European water professionals through sharing resources and building networks, and make better use of Europe’s public Research, Development and Innovation (RDI) funding. Since the Water JPI responds to a societal challenge, impact needs to reach society at large.
The following impacts are observed:

1. Better use of scarce human and financial resources in the area of water R&I
WaterWorks2014 effectively exploits synergies at all levels and nurtures transnational research and innovation teams with the objective to speed up the progress in the cooperation and coordination between national and regional European Water RDI programmes.
The promotion of water RDI coordination was fostered by launching a cofunded transnational and multidisciplinary call for research and innovation proposals on the topic “Research and Innovation for Developing Technological Solutions and Services for Water Systems” using funds from 17 institutions in 15 countries and the EC cofund to reach a committed budget of 14.9 M€. 16 transnational projects with a total budget of 13.9M€ were selected for funding with criteria promoting excellence in RDI and impact on the Water JPI societal challenge.
Additionally, contribution to Water JPI strategy implementation through the planning and execution of thematic meetings, aligning of on-going RDI projects and supporting a Call without EC cofunding will also obtain impacts resulting from knowledge sharing in RDI management and in RDI, from the networking of nationally funded projects, and from contributing to the Water 2013 Joint Call.

2. Reduced fragmentation of water research and innovation efforts across Europe
The fragmentation of efforts and the execution of RDI activities at a higher level of integration has been continuously addressed at the Water JPI level through consultations, collaboration and consensus of a broad base of Water JPI partners and stakeholders, resulting in the 2nd iteration of the Water JPI SRIA. The actions developed under WaterWorks2014 facilitate the continuous progress of the SRIA and the Implementation Plan as a roadmap for its delivery by laying down their planning and updating principles. The joint Cofounded Call launched under WaterWorks2014 which thematically addresses some of the five key RDI themes in Water JPI SRIA has also taken a transnational and trans-disciplinary approach bringing together different funding bodies across Europe and beyond to support excellent water research and innovation.

3. Improved synergy, coordination and coherence between national and EU funding in the relevant research fields through transnational collaboration
WaterWorks2014 plays a major role in the implementation of the Water JPI by interfacing national and EU funding and bringing together National Programmes to a higher dimension through transnational collaboration. WaterWorks2014 is implementing activities to identify gaps and overlaps in the agendas of the National Programmes through effective exchange of knowledge and good practices, as well as strengthening linkages to Horizon 2020 through the Cofunded Call, linkages with projects funded under the H2020 Water Call topics, and through a strategy implemented in cooperation with the EC.

4. Improved implementation of research and innovation programmes in these fields through exchange of good practices
Activities and thematic meetings on the sharing of good practices on funding and management among national and/or regional programmes have been developed under WaterWorks2014. The 1st Good practices workshop on Water RDI funding will be held in April 2016. The purpose of this workshop on water RDI funding is to analyze good practices in selected participating countries, as well as the main difficulties and barriers in policy and/or implementation, with the final objective to make recommendations and boost progress in the implementation of Water JPI strategies. WaterWorks2014 will also impact society through dissemination and exploitation of the projects resulting from the Cofunded Call, enforcing Open Access and promoting Open Data on the Water JPI website.

5. Achievemnt of a critical mass
The WaterWorks 2014 consortium consists of 25 partners (20 programme owners and managers, 1 programme owner and 4 programme managers). These are major European players in water RDI, in terms of Ministries, Government Agencies, and funding Programmes. The consortium has a strong representation in the Water JPI (18 full partners and 1 observer).
WaterWorks2014 Cofunded Call is the second Call of the Water JPI. WaterWorks2014 will, in collaboration with researchers from both past JPI calls and those from the on-going WaterWorks2015 Cofunded Call and other EU and H2020 projects, establish and strengthen a durable cooperation by a number of alignment and networking activities intended to strengthen future collaboration in water RDI.

6. Dissemination of the project activities and results
Dissemination of Water JPI activities and results is crucial to keep society informed of the latest news on water RDI and policies. The implementation of current communication technologies (newsletter, social networks, website) is effectively contributing to disseminate results in a effective and immediate way, maximizing impact.
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