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Knowledge Inventory for hydrogeology research

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - KINDRA (Knowledge Inventory for hydrogeology research)

Reporting period: 2016-07-01 to 2018-03-31

"Groundwater covers a wide spectrum of research areas at EU and national levels, due to the intrinsic nature of the ""water"" topic, representing a key-aspect of the modern society, as exemplified by the water-food-energy-climate nexus. Groundwater management brings additional challenges to the implementation of the WFD and climate change adaptation, representing the ""hidden"" part of the water cycle, difficult to evaluate, communicate and appreciate. The importance of groundwater inside the WFD has been reinforced by the daughter Directive on Groundwater. Though, whilst the European knowledge-base is widespread and developed in a large number of projects, plans and actions, much of the available resources are realised at (sub-)national level or are partly hidden in wider programs generally related to water, environment or ecology, which prohibits easy access and use.
To have a comprehensive understanding of groundwater, it is necessary to create a “snapshot” of our scientific knowledge covering as many European countries as possible. Such comprehensive coverage will result in an accurate assessment of the SoA in hydrogeology research in various settings, allowing for comparison, identification of gaps and trends and exploitation of synergies.

To this end, KINDRA aimed to create an inventory of this knowledge-base and then use it to identify critical research challenges in line with the implementation of the WFD and new innovation areas within integrated water resources management.

Project specific objectives:
1. Create a harmonised categorisation approach/terminology for reporting groundwater research and knowledge
2. Carry out EU-wide assessment of existing practical and scientific knowledge, using the developed classification, focusing on EU, national, regional, international and EU-third party scientific activities
3. Create a European Inventory of Groundwater Research and Innovation, supported by a web-service that is searchable by key-words and supports users with query functions
4. Use the data in the register and the developed analytical tools 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 existing recommendations and position papers on groundwater related research requirements and with outcomes of the Project's own workshops
6. Define research gaps and trends and corresponding suggestions for research agendas in line with WFD.
7. Deploy the Inventory 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."
"Firstly we created a harmonised classification system called “HRC-SYS” for reporting groundwater research and knowledge in Europe. To this end, we reviewed academic, industrial and research classification schemes, created a hierarchical structure and selected a list of 284 keywords, derived from programmes, papers, projects and reports, considered fundamental to identify relationships and intersections between three main categories, named Research Topics, Operational Actions and Societal Challenges (which represent the interface of the research & knowledge with the EU society). This classification, based on a 3D visualisation related to these categories, is supported by a web-service repository of metadata: the European Inventory of Groundwater Research (EIGR). Advanced search and query functions for statistics, diagrams and data mining were implemented to support users in data upload, search and analyses.

Secondly, a EU-wide assessment of existing practical and scientific knowledge on hydrogeology research and innovation in Europe was performed, with the help of 19 national member associations of EFG, using the previously developed classification system and identifieddata sources. To facilitate them, an orientation workshop was organised and a manual and checklist for data entry delivered. The associations shared their tasks and the KINDRA objectives with stakeholders in their respective countries organising workshops. These associations and KINDRA partners have uploaded into the EIGR more than 2.000 metadata related to groundwater research and knowledge in Europe, following the classification criteria, including materials from universities, research centres, government bodies, territorial administrative and private sector. After their validation, the EIGR was made publically accessible in spring 2017.

Lastly an analysis was performed on collected metadata from the EIGR and from scientific databases, to identify research gaps and trends in hydrogeology research and test the EIGR potential. The analyses resulted in recommendations regarding policy development and implementation, with particular attention to the WFD and GWD and taking into account the Societal Challenges.

In parallel, the needs for a sustainable exploitation of the EIGR were assessed and led to a long-term plan for up-scaling and a short-term plan that currently guarantees full public access for the entire groundwater community to search and upload records and to analyse contents.

Alongside the technical activities, a broad visibility of KINDRA has been pursued with the aims to 1) increase societal understanding of the importance of groundwater and 2) raise awareness on the classification system and the inventory amongst practitioners and scientists to facilitate future exploitation. A project image, website, Facebook, Linked-in page and You tube channel were created and kept updated. For the 1st objective, 2 ""Did-you-know?"" brochures and 2 video’s were published and distributed to inform young people, a.o. at 8 Researcher’s Nights. For the 2nd objective, 4 brochures were released; KINDRA was presented at more than 35 sector conferences, workshops, congresses, exhibitions or working groups; 16 articles and abstract were published; the European Geologist journal dedicated an edition to the project and many news items have been diffused by partners, EFG members and IAH amongst European geologists. A panel of 10 experts has been actively involved to give feedback and advice and a final conference was organised in Brussels."
Progress beyond the state of the art:
A harmonized classification on groundwater has not been developed before, but classifications are available in the wider field of water and in other geosciences, like raw materials. Inventories containing metadata on groundwater are also available, in particular by IGRAC-UNESCO, referring to hydrogeological maps and GIS systems. Differently, the EIGR inventory features a combination ofa classification system with a geo-databaseand includes all kinds of knowledge sources, interfacing them with societal challenges.

Expected potential impact:
KINDRA expects to better integrate the groundwater community of researchers and practitioners offering a knowledge inventory that enables them 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.