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Risks posed to human health and the environment by pollutants and pathogens present in water ressources

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - AquaticPollutants (Risks posed to human health and the environment by pollutants and pathogens present in water ressources)

Reporting period: 2020-01-01 to 2021-06-30

European Water Framework Directive (WFD), the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), the European Green Deal as well as the European One Health Action Plan against AMR require the Member States of the European Union to reach a good environmental status of aquatic ecosystems (freshwater, groundwater and marine). On a global scale the UN Sustainable Development Goals demand human health, safe water and sound marine and freshwater ecosystems from the international community. Despite these transnational ambitions, huge risks derive from the occurrence of emerging pollutants and pathogens, especially antimicrobial resistant bacteria, in water bodies and the oceans. The ERANet Dofund AquaticPollutants faces these challenges in a comprehensive way thrugh the collaboration of the JPIs on Water, Oceans and Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR). The joint transnational call carried out under AquaticPollutants provides multidisciplinary solutions for a safe and healthy aquatic environment and thus for human health.
The overall objective of the ERA-NET Cofund AquaticPollutants is to strengthen the European Research Area (ERA) in the field of clean and healthy aquatic ecosystems and to leverage untapped potential in the collaboration between the freshwater, marine and health research areas.
Within the framework of AquaticPollutants, the JPIs on Water, Oceans and AMR are working together closely for the first time at action level. A multidisciplinary approach has already been set up when the proposal was developed, which brings together the research needs of the freshwater sector, the marine sector and the health sector to carry out the Joint Transnational Call and complementing Additional Activities. The call makes the research communities of those three research fields from 25 countries work together and create synergies for joint approaches. Through the commonly developed strategy based on the three JPIs objectives, and incorporating the Joint Transnational Call and the Additional Activities, a real impact will be generated at European and international level and the visibility of the JPIs will be increased. The added value of AquaticPollutants is thus to connect scientific disciplines addressing three important challenges on European and international level that have not worked so closely together before.
AquaticPollutants started on the 1st January 2020. Until 30th June 2021 an efficient management structure for the overall legal, contractual, financial and administrative issues as well as for the communication between AquaticPollutants partners, the JPIs and the EC and for the external communication (via webpages, newsletters, social media etc.) has been implemented.
At the beginning of the project a joint strategy based on the three participating JPI´s objectives has been developed to create a common approach for linking the three research topics for the lifetime of AquaticPollutants.
The main outcome of AquaticPollutants in the period was the implementation of the Joint Transnational Call on the topic “Risks posed to human health and the environment by pollutants". In February 2021 18 excellent research projects were selected for funding with a total funding volume of approximately 20 Mio. €. The list of these 18 projects can be found here:
In parallel to the Joint Transnational Call a further call for a "Scientific Networking and Transfer Project" was announced in February 2020. The objective of this Transfer Project is to support the three JPIs to strengthen the European research area in the field of clean and healthy aquatic ecosystems by facilitating networking between researchers, knowledge hubs and the dissemination of scientific data into the public and administrative sectors. In November 2020 the project "AquaPollutantsTransNet" was selected for funding with a total funding volume of 1 Mio. €. The consortium is composed of four partners: DECHEMA (Germany/coordinator), IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute (Sweden), BRGM (France), ACTeon (France). The project started on 1st June 2021 and is currently involved in the preparation of the kick-off meeting of the 18 research projects, which will be held online on 30th September 2021.
The implementation of a Thematic Annual Programming (TAP) as a third call under AquaticPollutants began in 2021. The TAP is a tool of alignment of national RDI programmes and projects related to AquaticPollutants. It consists of the selection of national projects from new or already started calls in order to partner them, make them share results and enhance the leverage effect. The kick off meeting of the TAP is planned for January 2022.
Further Additional Activities on on impact and visibility of the JPIs, taking the form of a PhD Forum (directly connected to the Joint Transnational Call) and a best-practice Roadshow will start in the second half of 2021.
In general, the transnational collaboration of the JPI member countries has started via the Joint Transnational Call, the Transfer Project and the TAP (all activities started in 2020). This is expected to result in increased synergies between the research fields of the three participating JPIs. The respective research questions described in the SRIAs/SRA of the JPIs are directly being addressed by the call. This aims at combining research from the fields of freshwater, marine and health, which has not been done before on the European level. The 18 research projects selected for funding are dealing with at least two of the three research fields, most of the projects are dealing even with the three of them. Thus, the JPIs´ research needs are combined through the research projects by moving away from three distinct disciplines to a cross-sectoral and transdisciplinary approach.

Through the Additional Activities on impact, the JPIs will be supported to involve end users for effective RDI results uptake. The Transfer Project is already in progress and further activities will start in the next period to pursue these goals. A science-policy interface is planned to be built up with the help of the recently started Transfer Project. This will also support the JPIs to reach the European and global community (especially stakeholders and policy makers) with the policy recommendations resulting from AquaticPollutants. Starting from autumn 2021 the implementation of a best-practice Roadshow will be established to make the ERA-NET Cofund outputs and further excellent research approaches public. This will further strengthen links to the European and global community.
Furthermore, the TAP will lead to better alignment between the relevant JPIs SRIA/SRA RDI needs with national research agenda priorities.

In AquaticPollutants five partners from associated countries and four third countries are committing financial and human resources. Via the funding agency SIDA, the African countries Uganda, Mozambique and Mali are also participating in the Joint Transnational Call. This will help to make the European Commission a privileged and attractive partner for global cooperation in research and innovation. On the international scale AquaticPollutants is contributing to the agenda 2030 by supporting the SDGs 3, 6 and 14.
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