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Water Works 2016-2020 in Support of the Water JPI (WaterWorks2015) - Sustainable water use in agriculture, to increase water use efficiency and reduce soil and water pollution

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - WaterWorks2015 (Water Works 2016-2020 in Support of the Water JPI (WaterWorks2015) - Sustainable water use in agriculture, to increase water use efficiency and reduce soil and water pollution)

Reporting period: 2016-01-01 to 2017-03-31

Water is a critical resource for society. Beside its main life function, freshwater provides other essential functions to our economy. Due to the nature of the water related grand challenges, they cannot be tackled through the isolated effort of national Research and Innovation (R&I) programmes. In this sense, the ERA-NET Cofund WaterWorks2015 project supports and accelerates the implementation of the Joint Programming Initiatives (JPIs) on “Water Challenges for a Changing World” (Water JPI) and on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change (FACCE-JPI). Both initiatives are inter-governmental R&I collaboration networks that tackle ambitious interconnected challenges in Europe and abroad.

WaterWorks2015 addresses the grand challenge of “sustainable management of water resources in agriculture, forestry and freshwater aquaculture sectors” through transnational and trans-disciplinary R&I actions. Specifically, WaterWorks2015 aims at integrating the efforts and Strategic R&I Agendas (SRIA) of funding organizations by: i) pooling financial resources towards the definition and implementation of a Joint Transnational Call for proposals, and ii) developing activities to further support the implementation of Joint Programming, in order to reduce current fragmentation and to seek synergies between R&I programmes / projects / partners.
"WaterWorks2015 has implemented in 2016 a Joint Transnational Call for proposals on ""sustainable management of water resources in agriculture, forestry and freshwater aquaculture sectors"". The Call theme covered some of the priority themes described in the SRIAs of Water & FACCE JPIs, through 3 challenges:
1. Increasing the efficiency and resilience of water uses;
2. Monitoring and reducing soil and water pollution; and
3. Integrating social and economic dimensions into the sustainable management and governance of water resources

21 transnational collaborative R&I projects were selected for a total funding of 17.97 M€. The projects' funding involves 24 Funding Partner Organisations (FPOs) from 22 countries (including 9 associated and third countries) and the European Commission.

Guidelines for funded projects reporting and monitoring were produced, in line with national and Horizon 2020 criteria and building on experience of previous Water JPI Joint Calls. A Follow-up Group of Experts was set-up to perform the Mid-Term and Final Evaluation of funded projects.

Based on the Water JPI Communication Strategy, the engagement with the research community, companies, other relevant stakeholders and society will facilitate the dissemination of knowledge and tools delivered by the projects. The prototype enforcing Open Access and Open Data (Open Water JPI) has been completed.
Water JPI webpage displays the different activities and results of Water JPI and its supporting projects, which is also linked to Water JPI social networks and newsletters.

All the activities for developing Joint Programming actions have started during the first reporting phase (January 2016 – March 2017):

The Work-Plan for the development of a Common Vision between Water and FACCE JPIs was detailed. The first step is to set-up a top-scientists Working Group (WG) to develop a framework and an action plan for building the Common Vision. The WG's first Workshop will be held on 21 June 2017 in Bonn.

Two Workshops are planned for the development of international cooperation in the water field. The first Workshop in Africa/Mediterranean was held in Tangier on 31 March 2017, with participants from 15 countries and several international initiatives. The second Workshop in America is planned in Montréal on 26-27 April 2017.

Regarding the Knowledge Hub (KH) on emerging pollutants in water resources, the first Workshop (22 March 2017, Dublin) gathered 24 funding bodies, Water JPI Advisory Board members and existing KHs.

Preparatory work was also conducted to identify existing platforms on Mobility and Infrastructure and to set a draft survey for collecting feedback and needs of end-users.

Three alignment case studies are in progress to be presented at the alignment Workshop (4 April 2017, Stockholm):
• Water JPI Thematic Annual Programming (TAP) – procedure and logistics.
• Role and added value of JPI Mirror Groups for facilitating alignment of national water related research activities.
• Presentation of JPI activities and results to a low-aligned country.

A quality and risk control plan has been prepared to ensure an effective monitoring of the project realization."
WaterWorks2015 addresses water challenges in agriculture, forestry and freshwater aquaculture sectors through its support of the Water & FACCE JPIs. The following impacts are observed:

1. Better use of scarce human and financial resources in the area of water R&I:
WaterWorks2015 effectively exploits synergies and nurtures transnational R&I teams to strengthen the coordination between regional, national, European and international water & food security R&I programmes. The Joint Call for R&I proposals enabled to fulfil objectives of both SRIAs, while avoiding duplication of work, sharing operational costs, and increasing efficiency. Additionally, impacts include knowledge sharing, networking between researchers, and enlarging Water JPI international cooperation.

2. Reduced fragmentation of water R&I efforts across Europe:
Fragmentation of efforts has been addressed at the JPI level through consultation and collaboration of Water & FACCE JPIs partners and stakeholders and a Joint Transnational and trans-disciplinary Call. The actions contribute to update their SRIAs.

3. Improved synergy, coordination and coherence between national and European Union (EU) funding in the relevant R&I fields through transnational collaboration:
All WaterWorks2015 activities are opportunities for developing harmonised practices in R&I programming and implementation of both Water & FACCE JPIs.

4. Improved implementation of R&I programmes in these fields through exchange of good practices:
WaterWorks2015 develops activities on sharing of good practices among national and regional programmes, like development of KH allowing researchers to share experiences, expertise and good practices. Two platforms on Mobility and Infrastructure will be also developed allowing researchers to access information. The alignment activities will foster the sharing of good practices between funding partners through the 3 case studies.
WaterWorks2015 will also impact society through dissemination and exploitation of funded projects, enforcing Open Access and promoting Open Data.

5. and 6. Contribution to Water and FACCE JPIs:
WaterWorks2015 will make relevant contributions to both JPIs strategies and implementation plans through the development of a Common Vision and several alignment case studies. The experience of FACCE-JPI in setting-up a KH (cf. MACSUR) and furthering alignment (cf. Soil TAP action) will be particularly relevant. Additionally, the development of Water JPI will benefit from the development of international cooperation, the launching of a KH, and the development of platforms on Mobility and Infrastructure.

7. Achievement of a critical mass:
WaterWorks2015 consortium consists of 31 partners for a durable cooperation in water & food security R&I (6 organisations belonging to both JPIs, 15 from Water JPI and 3 from FACCE-JPI, and major players from Tunisia, Egypt, South Africa, Canada, and Taiwan).
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