Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Final Report Summary - WATEUR (Tackling European Water Challenges)

Executive Summary:
Water is a critical resource for the European society. Beside its main life function, freshwater also provides many other functions essential to our economy such as transport, energy provision, heat exchange, cleaning, washing, and constitutes a necessary raw material for many industries. Water availability in sufficient quantities and adequate quality is an issue of highest priority and represents a pan-European and global societal challenge.
Water challenges cannot be successfully tackled through the isolated effort of individual national research and innovation programmes. A significant share (more than 70%) of public spending in water research and technology development is programmed, executed and evaluated at national level. Joint Programming Initiatives (JPI) aim at a coordinated and strategic approach to public national and regional research and innovation funding in Europe. Ten critical societal challenges have been identified in Europe and are being addressed through Joint Programming. “Water Challenges for a Changing World” (the Water JPI) is one of them. The Water JPI aims at achieving sustainable water systems for a sustainable economy in Europe and beyond.
The Coordination and Support Action “Tackling European Water Challenges” (CSA WatEUr) supported the successful development and implementation of the Water JPI. WatEUr permeated the structures of the Water JPI to impulse progress towards JPI objectives. With the Water JPI Vision and Management Structure developed, actions were needed to sustain the these structures and to fasten progress in joint activities between national/regional programmes in Europe with the objective to make the Water JPI instrumental to the Research, Development and Innovation community, and effective in tackling European water challenges. Examples of such joint activities included the recurrent mapping of national and regional RDI funding, institutions, programmes and projects, the iterative production of two Strategic Research and Innovation Agendas, the undertaking of joint activities including the coordination of joint RDI agendas, two joint call(s) on a variable geometry, coordination with water RDI activities within and outside Europe and joint dissemination.
The support to the implementation of the Water JPI currently continues through three subsequent projects: ERA-NET Cofund WaterWorks2014, ERA-NET Cofund WaterWorks2015 and CSA IC4WATER.
CSA WatEUr and the Water JPI have benefited researchers, policy-makers, water authorities, utility operators, industry, farmers, and citizens by developing new solutions to water challenges such as safe supply of clean drinking water, improved protection against new emerging water pollutants or pathogens and water hazards like floods and droughts, and supporting a progressive shift towards a more water-efficient economy in Europe.
Water knows neither political nor administrative borders. As a matter of fact, most of the European territory falls within transboundary watersheds. WatEUr will assist the Water JPI in addressing fragmentation, preventing duplication of efforts and guaranteeing sufficient critical mass.

Project Context and Objectives:
The Joint Programming Initiative “Water Challenges for a Changing World” (the Water JPI) aims at achieving sustainable water systems for a sustainable economy in Europe and beyond. This grand challenge is being tackled through a coordinated and strategic approach to public national and regional research and innovation funding. A multi-disciplinary approach is required in order to address the different aspects of this societal challenge:
• Economic challenges. The European water business has an annual turnover of 72 G€, representing one third of the world market. It provides jobs for 0.6 M Europeans and exploits valuable assets: 3.5 Gm of drinking water networks, 2.2 Gm of wastewater networks and almost 70,000 wastewater treatment plants.
• Ecological challenges. Anthropogenic pressures, such as overexploitation and degradation of the biotic structure, alter ecosystem processes. Consequently, ecosystem ability to provide resources and services to society is decreased. Aquatic ecosystems constitute a crucial asset for sustainable development in Europe and beyond.
• Societal challenges. Access to water is a basic need. Its quantity and quality affect citizens’ health and well-being, and this is of course strongly related to economic strength. Raising awareness amongst water users is an important issue.
• Technological challenges. The current development of water technology is insufficient to meet the grand challenge of achieving sustainable water systems. Consequently, major scientific and technological breakthroughs are needed in all areas of water use and management.

The Water JPI Vision document established a set of six objectives to be accomplished by 2020:
1. Involving water end-users for effective Research, Development and Innovation (RDI) results uptake;
2. Attaining critical mass of research programmes. The goal is to involve at least two-thirds of the public National water RDI investment in Europe;
3. Reaching effective, sustainable coordination of European water RDI;
4. Harmonising National water RDI agendas in Partner Countries. The water RDI agendas of Partner Countries and the Water JPI Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA) will show effective harmonization;
5. Harmonising National water RDI activities in Partner Countries. The budget of joint programming activities will amount to at least 20 % of the total water RDI budget of partner Programmes; and
6. Supporting European leadership in water science and technology. The target is to maintain the current European world leadership in water related scientific publications (29 %) and PCT patents (35 %).

The main objective of the WatEUr project (Coordination and Support Action under FP7) is to support and accelerate the implementation of the Water JPI. WatEUr was designed to actively assist the Water JPI in addressing fragmentation, preventing duplication of efforts and guaranteeing sufficient critical mass.
The specific objectives of this project were set to:
1. Strengthen the JPI Management bodies and Task Forces, and coordinating with related European organisations and initiatives (WP1);
2. Iteratively produce a comprehensive map of National and Regional RDI funding Institutions, projects and infrastructure in Europe (WP2);
3. Iteratively produce a SRIA for the Water JPI through internal and external consultations (WP3);
4. Launch the Implementation of Water Joint Programming through a set of activities and coordination in line with the Water JPI SRIA (WP4);
5. Seek coordination with water RDI activities outside Europe (WP5); and
6. Communicate and disseminate the activities of the Water JPI (WP6).

WatEUr and the Water JPI were planned to benefit society by developing new solutions to water challenges.

Project Results:
At the completion of the project, WatEUr has fulfilled all the goals and has accomplished the all the planned milestones. Strong cooperation between consortium members was crucial to succeed in the planned activities described in the following paragraphs.

The mapping of national and regional RDI institutions, their programmes, projects and funding schemes constitutes one of the key instruments in making the Water JPI instrumental to the RDI community and augmenting the effectiveness of tackling European water-related challenges.
A mapping exercise was successfully developed in WP2 and resulted in three iterative mapping reports. The aim was to gather relevant information on water related RDI at national and regional levels. Building on the preliminary mapping survey developed by the Water JPI and the complete mapping effort focused only on programmes funding RDI projects, the mapping exercise went further and more in-depth than its predecessors. Attention was paid to mechanisms facilitating policies and strategies, funding schemes and Water RDI performance.
The information resulting from the mapping exercise was critical for the rest of work packages, especially in providing key information and meta-information to the WP developing the SRIA (WP3).
Three key instruments were selected to carry out the exercise:
1. Four internet based questionnaires, whose contents were organised under the following four main themes: thematic priority areas, governmental strategies, funding schemes and performing in Water RDI. The questionnaires targeted to key water RDI agents (policy makers, funding agencies, research performers, etc.);
2. A set of interviews with stakeholders and leaders of relevant initiatives; and
3. Desk research including bibliometry and patents on Water RDI.

The construction of this internet-based instrument was initiated in the beginning of 2013. After careful analysis within the WP2 team and other relevant WatEUr partners, the single questionnaire was divided into four separate documents according to the themes addressed. The goal was to make the questionnaire more manageable by the different types of respondents: policy makers, funding agencies, program owners, public and private research organisations and companies. The results of the first year mapping exercise throughout 2013 and the first questionnaire analysis are gathered in the First Year Mapping Report (December 2013). These results served the purpose of building the foundations and basic agreements to develop additional mapping activities in 2014 and 2015.
In December 2013 the structure of the four questionnaires was finally concluded and opened to the Water RDI community in February 2014 in the SURVS Platform ( These questionnaires comprised a key basis of the mapping exercise, representing a standardised instrument in order to facilitate the compilation and statistical analysis of the data. The data sought in the questionnaires comprehended a period spanning from 2007 to the end of 2013, in order to cover most of FP7. The survey started in February 2014 and the final deadline considered for submission of responses was September 2014. The period was finally extended until the end of October 2014. A total of 110 respondents participated in the mapping exercise, representing 16 European countries and 108 organisations/institutes. This represented 13 Water JPI / WatEUr CSA partner countries (68% of total). Within Water JPI Observers, only one country participated (Sweden), which corresponds to 20% of the group. Regarding the non-member European countries of the Water JPI (EU Member States, other associated countries and non-EU countries), two countries participated (12%, Czech Republic and Switzerland). France, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Spain and Finland had a survey response rate between 10% and19%. Results were published in the Second Year Mapping Report (December 2014).
Additional data was collected for the Third Year Mapping Report (June 2016). In September 2015 a new dissemination effort was conducted. Partners who did not participate in the first mapping exercise were contacted again. Additional contacts were sought to assemble contact lists in countries not mapped in last year's exercise or to enlarge previous lists. Questionnaires were opened until the end of 2015. The total number of respondents increased to 167. The geographical coverage also increased, with the respondents representing 25 European countries.

It was established that interviews would be conducted as an integral part of the mapping reports. Target respondents were selected in accordance with the DoW, namely “stakeholders and leaders of relevant initiatives” in Water RDI in Europe, both at a national and international level.
In general, the thematic basis for the interviews followed the mapping components, but emphasis was given to the information contained in the questionnaires. This allowed acquiring a different approach relative to the governmental strategies, funding schemes and performing organisations in Water RDI, including the set priorities in each of these levels. Interviews were customised to the interviewees’ profile in order to make them unique, personal and distinct from the standardised instruments. Each set of questions allowed reaching different points of view, opinions and even realities insufficiently captured or undetected through the use of questionnaires and desk studies. More than an additional source of information, the interviews promoted the enlargement of the mapping focus, highlighted several problems, barriers and expectations, and consequently contributed substantially to an enrichment of the material contained in this exercise.
During 2014, six interviews were accomplished:
1. Laura Burke (Director-General of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA))
2. Durk Krol (Director of the WssTP - European Technology Platform for Water Research and Innovation. Deputy-Secretary General of EUREAU)
3. Seppo Rekolainen (Director Freshwater Centre of the Finish Environment Institute (SYKE).Vice President of SAG of the Water JPI)
4. Robert Schroeder (Policy Officer at the European Commission, Directorate General for the Environment, Unit C.1 Protection of Water Resources and presents the European Innovation Partnership on Water)
5. Jean-Philippe Torterotot (Deputy Director of Research, Development and Innovation of the Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy. Former President of EWA - European Water Association)
6. Marina Villegas Gracia (General Director of Scientific and Technical Research Ministry of Economic Affairs and Competitiveness. President of the Water JPI GB).
In 2016 an interview was performed to Dominique Darmendrail (Scientific Responsible in Ecotechnologies at Agence Nationale de la Recherche, France; Water JPI Coordinator) in coordination with Padraic Larkin (Environmental Consultant, Ireland; Vice-Chair of the Water JPI) and Maurice Héral (Representative of the Agence Nationale de la Recherche, France; Chair of the Water JPI).

Desk research
Desk research was conducted through a bibliometric analysis compiled from the Web of ScienceTM. This included the analysis of several key scientific productivity indexes, namely publications, and the most relevant research and funding institutions involved. The Patents analysis covered patents registered under The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), obtained from WIPO database (World Intellectual Property Organisation) and downloaded from ESPACENET.
The desk research was performed in an iterative way with Water JPI partners. The methodology and results of desk research was discussed in specific meetings. Partners’ inputs greatly improved the quality of the mapping exercise. A key hypothesis was made to produce the Second Year mapping Report: publication statistics were used as an indicator for research, while patent statistics were used as an indicator for innovation.
Country fiches were elaborated with the key results of these analyses: indicators for research and innovation, plus lists of key national RDI funders and performers. Thematic maps of Europe were produced, focusing on publications and patents, including their standardization per population and Gross Domestic Product.

Significant results
The questionnaires were disseminated in 28 European counties, and responses were received from 25 countries:
• 19 Water JPI Partner countries (Austria, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Moldova, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom);
• 1 Water JPI observer country (Belgium);
• 3 EU Member states (Czech Republic, Luxembourg, Slovenia);
• 2 Associated Countries (Albania, Switzerland).
The comprehensive mapping exercise developed by the JPI has been key in achieving the following results:
• Better understanding of the European water-related RDI activities;
• An inventory of national and regional research strategies, policies and programmes;
• Increased knowledge of funded research projects, infrastructures and mobility schemes in Water RDI;
• Information on multi-national coordination activities taking place in Europe;
• Evaluation of the European scientific publications and patents generation, and identification of relevant performing organisations;
• Preliminary strategic analysis of the current water research strengths, weakness, gaps and barriers to cooperation as a key input to WP3 (developing the SRIA).

The Water JPI Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA) is:
• a guide to where water-related RDI funding should be focused at EU- and national-level. It is a commonly agreed vision and a reference for all of the Water JPI activities;
• a reference document for decision making, which is aligned & responsive to key policy directives and strategies related to water use and management;
• An instrument for co-design and co-development of knowledge and solutions, which helps to identify potential research outputs that could support or enable innovation and competitiveness.
The work package dedicated to the development and update of Water JPI SRIA was WP3. The core objectives of WP3 include:
• Sustaining a permanent dialogue between RDI programme owners and managers, the Water JPI Advisory Boards, and a wide variety of societal stakeholders on water RDI needs, gaps and priorities; and
• Producing and updating a SRIA in an iterative fashion, releasing versions 1.0 (May 2014) and 2.0 (April 2016).

Activities regarding the preliminary Water JPI SRIA 0.5
A preliminary version of the Water JPI SRIA (SRIA 0.5) was adopted in May 2013 and released in June 2013. The adoption of the Water JPI SRIA 0.5 was not initially planned but followed a specific need for coordination with Horizon 2020. The release of SRIA 0.5 has led to:
• better informing society at large of the progress made within the Water JPI; and,
• guiding the European Commission in the preparation of the 2014/2015 work programmes of Horizon 2020 – Societal Challenge 5.
The Water JPI SRIA 0.5 is structured around five core themes: Maintaining Ecosystem Sustainability; Developing Safe Water Systems for the Citizens; Promoting Competitiveness in the Water Industry; Implementing a Water-wise Bio-based Economy; and Closing the Water Cycle Gap. The Vision document of the Water JPI was a key source of information for the selection of themes. For each theme, SRIA 0.5 listed a number of RDI needs, RDI objectives (specific RDI activities for the identified RDI needs) and implementation instruments.
SRIA 0.5 offered a complete overview of potential Water RDI needs and activities in the years to come. However, these needs and activities were not prioritised in the document. The contents of the Water JPI SRIA 0.5 were based upon the review of ad hoc “fiches”, brief documents expressing desiderata for RDI topics and the most appropriate instruments for their eventual implementation. “Fiches” were prepared by the Advisory Boards of the Water JPI shortly after the launching of the initiative.

Activities regarding the Water JPI SRIA 1.0
SRIA 1.0 set out and prioritised Water RDI needs and associated objectives by taking into account their scientific and societal importance. Water RDI needs and associated objectives were classified as “short-term” priorities (i.e. RDI activities were recommended to be funded and started over the 2014-2016 period), “medium-term” priorities (i.e. RDI activities were recommended to be funded and started over the 2017-2020 period) or “long-term” priorities (i.e. RDI activities were recommended to be funded and started beyond 2020). Unlike the Water JPI SRIA 0.5, SRIA 1.0 did not establish possible implementation instruments for the identified research needs and objectives.
SRIA 1.0 built upon the SRIA 0.5. No modifications – other than slight reformulations of some of the Water RDI needs and objectives for understanding purposes – were made to the document structure. New RDI needs and objectives were identified through a comprehensive literature review of sources including national RDI agendas, the strategic agendas of partnering initiatives (WssTP, EIP), policy documents (Water Blueprint, European roadmaps) and foresight studies. Relevant foresight studies were found in bibliographic databases, foresight consultancy websites, the websites of funding councils and search engines.
In order to make a critical review of Water RDI needs and to prioritise them, the first stakeholder consultative workshop was organised. The workshop, held on the 3 and the 4 April 2014 in Lyon (France), was a very useful consultation exercise to
• gather further information on scientific & technological outputs, trends, gaps and priorities;
• obtain participants’ feedback on the contents of the Water JPI SRIA; and,
• prioritise Water RDI needs according to their scientific and societal importance.
The Workshop Proceedings document contains comprehensive information about the event and its input to SRIA 1.0.
The first online public consultation was also launched in order to reach out to society at large and to have a better understanding of society’s views on the prioritisation of Water RDI needs. The consultation was meant to be a key source of information for the development of the Water JPI SRIA 1.0. The public consultation, in the form of an online questionnaire, was completed by more than 630 respondents. A majority of responses came from – in this order – Italy, Spain, Portugal and France. However, the results of the public consultation were not taken into account in the Water JPI SRIA 1.0 due to time constraints. The complete analysis of the public consultation was part of the ongoing SRIA update process.

Activities regarding the Water JPI SRIA 2.0
SRIA 2.0 classifies RDI needs as high, medium and low according to the following criteria: a) Contribution to safeguarding water resources and aquatic ecosystems; b) contribution to improving the well-being of our society (e.g. public health); and, c) contribution to generating growth and jobs. As a rule of thumb, it was decided that high priorities would refer to RDI actions that could contribute to these three criteria; medium priorities would refer to RDI actions that could contribute to any two of the criteria listed above. Finally, low priorities would correspond to RDI actions that could only contribute to one of the criteria. This methodology was meant to better reflect the impacts of RDI actions at the socioeconomic, policy and environmental levels. Furthermore, the terms ‘urgency’ and ‘importance’, previously used for the SRIA 1.0, did not prove to be sufficiently clear and easy to understand, and were not included in SRIA 2.0.
As a result of this prioritisation process, it was decided to differentiate the strategic agenda for scientific guidance from the action plan for implementation guidance: while SRIA 2.0 identifies and sets out an integrated vision of Water RDI priorities at regional, European and global level, the upcoming Implementation Plan will establish how some of those RDI directions and priorities will be implemented through Water JPI instruments or under the scope of other European and international initiatives. However, a chapter “Next Steps: Future Joint Activities and the Way Forward for the Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda, Version 3.0” was also added at the end of SRIA 2.0.
For the production of SRIA 2.0, WP3 reviewed the strategic documents developed by most relevant European actors. The review of all these documents permitted to develop a complete understanding of the Water RDI context and Water RDI needs. Overall, SRIA reflects the analysis of more than 130 relevant information sources. All literature findings were kept in a number of fiches. Such fiches provide information on the identified RDI needs, their timeframe, and the geographic scale to which the document refers to (international, European, national, regional).
The Water JPI Advisory Boards, external experts in Water RDI and stakeholders were invited to cast their opinion on SRIA development via two consultative actions.
The second web-based public consultation was launched at the end of April 2015. The link to the consultation reached out a large community of researchers, public administrations, end-users and stakeholders in general. The public consultation gathered around 400 responses and it shed some light on high RDI priorities. No questions on medium and low priorities were included. Most responses came from Spain (30% of responses), Portugal and France. In terms of activity sectors, most of responses came from research organisations (68% of responses).
The second stakeholder consultative workshop was held in Orléans (France) on the 8 and 9 October 2015. The workshop gathered the members and observers of the Water JPI and its Advisory Boards. Discussions focused on Water RDI trends, gaps and priorities, using the new methodology for prioritisation of RDI needs.
The final version of the SRIA 2.0 is available under two formats:
• A detailed technical version;
• A non-technical, public-friendly version (under the title “An Introduction to the Strategic Research & Innovation Agenda 2.0”).

Significant results
The most significant results arising from this work package are:
• Adoption of the Water JPI SRIA 0.5 in May 2013 – being an additional milestone of the project;
• Adoption of the Water JPI SRIA 1.0 in May 2014;
• Adoption of the SRIA2.0 in April 2016.
• Release of Proceedings of SRIA Workshop I and Proceedings of SRIA Workshop II.
• Permanent dialogue with the Water JPI Advisory Boards, experts and stakeholders. The Advisory Boards were invited to contribute to the identification of RDI needs and to the drafting of the SRIA on various occasions. Comments from the Advisory Boards were integrated in the SRIA.
• The SRIA was used to develop the Water JPI Joint Calls, and as a basis to make recommendations to EU Funding Programmes including Horizon 2020.
A new version of the SRIA (3.0) is expected to be delivered within the framework of the WaterWorks2014 ERANET Cofund currently under implementation by the Water JPI.

The main purpose of WP4 was to implement the Water JPI Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA). A light touch high level management was used, incorporating variable geometry, flexibility and responsiveness. The overall aims were to improve water services to European citizens, to sustain European scientific and technological leadership, to make European water businesses more competitive and to support European policies.

Definition of activities and instruments
The activities of the Water JPI have been classified into three types:
• interfacing with society;
• empowering RDI actors; and
• Improving the efficiency of RDI programmes.
A set of flexible, open and adaptive instruments, suited to collaboration between partners working together, in variable geometry, were identified and defined in the Joint Action Implementation Plan (JAIP 2014-2015) and Implementation Plan (IP 2014-2016) for the implementation of the above activities:
• Strategic knowledge exchange events
• Webinar and Infoday
• Sharing good practices on funding and management
• Exploratory workshops
• Calls for proposals in Collaborative projects
• Alignment of National Programmes

Implementation of pilot activity
One of the key instruments to implement the Water JPI SRIA is to launch Joint Calls for proposals, in order to stimulate and facilitate multi-national, collaborative RDI projects and increase synergies on crosscutting issues. The Joint Transnational Call for proposals was launched as a Pilot activity of WatEUr project and the Water JPI. The Pilot Call for projects on theme “Emerging water contaminants – anthropogenic pollutants and pathogens” was opened with a pre-announcement on 20 September2013 and the actual launching was on 1 November 2013.
The Call resulted in the recommendation to fund seven consortiums, including 44 consortium partners, with total budget of 7.9M € contributed by 10 funding partners. The kick-off meeting was held in Brussels on the 11 March 2015. The follow-up process for the Pilot Call continues within the WaterWorks2014 ERA-Net Cofund.

Implementation of joint activities
A set of joint activities was performed, representing the onset of regular Water JPI activities. Activities were selected, listed and scheduled to be launched during the period of 2014-2015 in a Joint Activities Implementation (JAIP), including:
• WatEUr’s First Consultative Workshop on SRIA 1.0;
• Proposal for WaterWorks2014 ERA-NET Cofund;
• Launching of SRIA 1.0 and the Water JPI Implementation Plan 2014-2016;
• Workshop for Horizon 2020 Interaction;
• Kick-off event of the projects resulting from the Pilot Call of the Water JPI;
• Webinar and Infoday for the Second Call for proposals of the Water JPI (derived from WaterWorks 2014);
• Second Call for proposals of the Water JPI (derived from WaterWorks 2014);
• Workshop on Sharing Good Practices on funding and management;
• WatEUr’s Second Consultative Workshop on SRIA 2.0;
• Proposal for WaterWorks2015 ERA-NET Cofund;
• Exploratory workshop on selected topics.
It should be noted that not all the joint activities planned in the IP 2014-2016 and JAIP 2014-2015 had their implementation included in the work plan of the WatEUr CSA.

Alignment of national programmes and research agendas
Alignment of national research agendas is a crucial priority enabling the optimal use of national research funds. Success of the Water JPI is dependent upon the willingness to share and to proactively encourage alignment of existing and future national research agendas. Several joint activities took place to increase the alignment.
The First alignment workshop in October 2014 considered the ways in which the cross JPI GPC Working Group recommendations might be taken forward and also considered experiences across four other JPIs and the Belmont Forum, including good practice and lessons learnt. The Second alignment workshop in November 2015 was also used to continue to learn from other initiatives, especially FACCE and the ERA-LEARN2020. However, the main focus of the second workshop was also more orientated towards building upon knowledge from the Water JPI partners themselves, through selected national case studies, and building on the results of the Alignment Survey. This Survey, led by the Environmental Protection Agency of Ireland in summer 2015, was a wider consultation of partners. Recommendations from the workshop were then prioritised through the Alignment Task Force. Actions are in place to advance the most urgent of the ten recommendations within 2016. The others are integrated within the medium and longer term (2-5 year) planning of the JPI.

Benchmarking and Monitoring of Water JPI Activities and Agendas
In addition to the joint activities implementation, a framework to measure the success of the Water JPI was set up, based upon the six objectives of the Water JPI listed in the Vision Document (2011). Two surveys addressing JPI members were used as sources of information, as well as continuous monitoring of Water JPI activities.
A continuous benchmarking with similar initiatives in Europe was carried out, to identify novel approaches and best practices, while implementing the Water JPI. Adapted to the needs of the Water JPI, comparisons were concentrated upon the nine other Joint Programming Initiatives and selected similar initiatives in Europe (e.g. by adapting evaluation methods or call procedures and documents from them).

Significant results
• The Pilot Call provided a valuable testing ground for future calls, with extensive knowledge exchange on funding practices and policies between the countries. The Pilot Call also clearly raised the awareness level of the European RDI community on the Water JPI.
• The Implementation Plan is a key milestone for this initiative. It informs policy makers, RDI programme owners and managers, Water RDI performers and society at large on how the water JPI will tackle water challenges in the period 2014-2016. It provided a guide for researchers and innovators interested in participating in Water JPI activities and demonstrated the maturity and capacity of the Water JPI to address and tackle European Water Challenges.
• An improved understanding of how water research agendas are developed is a fundamental building block towards successful harmonisation. This has been achieved through both the provision of case studies and the broader picture attained from analysis of the Alignment Survey 2015 across all Water JPI partners. The results of the case studies and Alignment Survey provided additional evidence, confirming the significant impact of the SRIA in assisting the process of developing at national strategies. For example, 14 out of the 22 partners who responded indicated that the SRIA was used to inform their National RDI agendas. The timing of WatEUr has paralleled the early stages of alignment activities in most of the JPIs. The workshops have involved the active participation of EC officers, other JPI programmes (including FACCE, Climate, AMR and Oceans), GPC Alignment Working Group, ERA-LEARN and Belmont Forum representatives, in addition to Water JPI technical advisors and Governing Board members. This has enhanced the profile of the Water JPI in the development of alignment across the JPIs. The “Degree of National Alignment” was one of eight indicators used in the assessment of JPI Excellence in the report by the EC Expert Group on Evaluation of Joint Programming to Address Grand Societal Challenges produced in April 2016. Overall, the alignment indicator score in the report suggests that the Water JPI is performing as well as the other JPIs in this respect (with only the Joint Programme on Neurodegenerative Diseases, which is the longest running JPI, receiving a higher score).
• Continuous benchmarking and monitoring of Water JPI Activities and Agendas led to the elaboration of recommendations for future consideration by the Water JPI.

Activities outside Europe were coordinated in WP5. Even though the primary remit of the JPIs is to promote cross-border collaboration of European Member States, international cooperation has rapidly emerged as a priority key activity, given the nature of water as a global resource.

Mapping water RDI activities run by JPI partners outside Europe
A mapping exercise of countries outside Europe was developed, gathering information about their RDI programmes, agendas, activities, instruments, investments and the impact of such activities.
In the first step, the information was gathered by a questionnaire that was sent to all JPI partners asking them to prioritise the countries outside Europe related to water RDI. This resulted in a list of 27 countries outside Europe and a short-list of countries that were seen by most Water JPI partner countries as key for cooperation outside Europe. Some of these countries also had relevant connections with the Strategic Forum for International S&T Cooperation (SFIC). A strategy and approach for international cooperation within the Water JPI was elaborated in order to maximize the added value of these efforts. A preliminary choice of countries for further cooperation was made. Based on scientific publications, relation with SFIC, geographical spread, and the characteristics of the local water RDI landscape (i.e., degree of fragmentation), Brazil, Canada, South Africa, India and China were chosen for further analysis in order to provide additional insight on the status of their water RDI programmes, water market perspectives and the opportunities for identifying collaboration opportunities.

Development and sustaining strategic alliances outside Europe
Further contacts were established with Horizon 2020 associated countries and third countries. The consortium of ERA-NET Cofund WaterWorks2014 includes five organisations from associated countries, including the Water Research Commission (WRC) of South Africa, the first cooperation outside Europe of the Water JPI.
The second ERA-NET Cofund coordinated by the Water JPI, WaterWorks2015, was launched in January 2016. The WaterWorks2015 consortium includes six organisations from associated countries, including Egypt (Academy of Scientific Research & Technology), South Africa (WRC) and Tunisia (Institut de la Recherche et de l’Enseignement Supérieur Agricole), and two organisations from third countries, Taiwan (Ministry of Science and Technology) and Canada (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council).
To build on the first contacts and work on the identified challenges, a proposal for a Coordination and Support Action (IC4Water) was submitted to the European Commission in March 2016 to implement joint activities in a dedicated effort to reinforce international cooperation in the area of water challenges. IC4Water received letters of support from seven associated and third countries (Brazil, Egypt, South Africa, Taiwan, Thailand, Tunisia, and Vietnam), international initiatives, associated European partners and regional initiatives.

Significant results
A more coordinated and consistent approach in international water RDI cooperation not only helps to build a greater critical mass, but is also needed to provide an effective response to major societal challenges. It also enables Europe to participate more effectively in agenda setting in international water fora and to convey consistent messages.
The promotion of International Cooperation in WatEUr has led to:
• Mapping of RDI activities (from funding to execution) in Brazil, Canada, China, India, South Africa, the United States and Vietnam.
• Development of information on the degree of water RDI, water market perspectives and the opportunities for collaboration in different third countries.
• Attracting international partners to the Water JPI Joint Calls in 2015 and 2016. WaterWorks2014 has a South African funder joining the transnational Call. WaterWorks2015 includes eight organisations from Horizon 2020 associated and third countries, in an effort to reinforce international cooperation in the area of “Sustainable management of water resources in agriculture, forestry and freshwater aquaculture sectors”. These international organisations joined the transnational call, as well as some Additional Activities carried out to support the strategy of the Water JPI.
• Submission of an Horizon 2020 Proposal in March 2016. The Horizon 2020 Proposal IC4Water is a coordination support action aimed at supporting and accelerating the successful development and implementation of the Water JPI at the international level, in coherence with the overall objectives of the Water JPI.

The communication and dissemination activities were defined and implemented under WP6. The general objectives of this communication and dissemination work package are to:
• Raise awareness about present and future water challenges, providing user-friendly knowledge to citizens, the RDI community and policy makers;
• Encourage the cooperation of European public and private stakeholders (including industry) in the water sector, establishing regular information exchanges;
• Improve coordination of water RDI through adequate information on the developments and results of the Water JPI and WatEUr; and
• Contribute to the creation of cooperative science and policy interfacing networks.

In order to achieve these objectives in the most effective way, a Communication and Dissemination Strategy was developed in March 2013. The strategy identified the best internal and external tools to reach the targeted audiences. The Water JPI and WatEUr webpage is the most relevant dissemination channel, targeting society at large. All the activities developed within WatEUr, its progress and results, were openly published in the website. Apart from that, the webpage gives access to the Newsletters produced during the life of the project. These include the latest news on European water issues, as well as information of the progress of Water JPI activities. The Newsletter also contributes to disseminate upcoming events related to water. Additional dissemination tools are continuously used to promote the Water JPI and the WatEUr project: leaflets, posters, videos, etc.
Such an approach also supports the principle of “Responsible Research and Innovation” (RRI) and helps ensure that the Water JPI is responding to the needs of society. The outreach activities are intended to ensure that the Water JPI is communicating its vision, activities, achievements and impacts.
The most important outreach event under the WatEUr Coordination and Support Action was the Final Conference, organised in Rome on 19 May 2016, with and additional objective to launch the new and updated version of the Water JPI Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA 2.0) and to present the key achievements of the Water JPI. This international event was targeted to a wide range of stakeholders and aimed at discussing with experts themes and subthemes highlighted in the SRIA 2.0, times and modalities of its implementation and to analyse the benefits of international cooperation in three different round tables. More than 200 stakeholders from research centres, ministries, universities, environmental agencies, private and public water utilities attended the conference.

Significant results
Communication and dissemination activities contributed to give a great visibility to the initiative and to improve the internal cooperation as a team aiming at common objectives. Information exchange and dialogue among all possible actors in the water RDI domain are key elements in developing a common vision for the water sector in Europe and beyond. Effective outreach has enabled efficient knowledge transfer, by encouraging the cooperation of European public and private stakeholders through regular information exchange. Communicating the best available science and information on water challenges to key stakeholders and the general public supports the establishment of the Water JPI as the primary source of water research data and information for Europe. Significant results include:
• Development of a Communication & Dissemination Strategy 2013. The Water JPI Communication & Dissemination Strategy aims to reach a vast range of water-related research and innovation stakeholders in Europe and abroad through various communication channels.
• Development of a dedicated Water JPI website - The website has attracted c. 168,000 visitors (counted as website hits) in 2015.
• Distribution of monthly newsletters to 5,079 newsletter recipients The main audience for the newsletters include representatives from government funding agencies and researchers performing Water RDI and/or environmental activities.
• Communication via social media such as LinkedIn Researchers’ Discussion Forum, Facebook page and Twitter account.
• A wide range of information and promotion material was produced and made available through the website. This material can be downloaded at any time and to be distributed to national and international stakeholders to involve them in the progress of the initiative.
• News on the joint calls were circulated punctually, and researchers showed large interest in these funding opportunities enabling the development of transnational collaborative projects.
• The monthly Newsletter has provided updated information on programmes, projects and initiatives in the European and global water sector.
• Many presentations at national and international level have contributed to raise the general awareness on the benefits brought by the Water JPI.
• The final conference was an important event which involved a very large audience of stakeholders who have shown a deep interest for the SRIA 2.0 and the Water JPI main achievements reached so far.

Potential Impact:
The WatEUr project has made a major contribution to tackle water challenges in Europe through intergovernmental cooperation within the framework of the Water JPI. A key project result is the establishment of effective Water JPI governance supporting its structure, management and financing schemes, laying down the foundations for accomplishing the Water JPI objectives and for ensuring its sustainability. The Water JPI Advisory Boards: Scientific and Technological Board (STB) and Stakeholders Advisory Group (SAG) were established to extend its partnership and involve multi-stakeholders. A significant contribution was made to the strengthening of the EU leadership regarding water RDI activities through publishing several position papers, interacting with other EU initiatives, and creating synergies between them.

The key WatEUr results and their impact at different levels are:
• The mapping of RDI activities across Europe has provided a global overview of water-related actions, actors and capacities, and their spatial distribution. Mapping information has revealed critical for the development of the SRIA and for progress in other WatEUr areas.
Related Water JPI Vision Objective:
o Attaining critical mass of research programmes

• The SRIA is the Water JPI backbone, leading to the implementation of Joint Programming and to the achievement of common strategic objectives. This is an iteratively updated, comprehensive document identifying the most urgent and relevant water research and innovation gaps and needs in Europe.
Related Vision Objectives:
o Involving water end-users for effective RDI results uptake
o Harmonising national water RDI agendas in Partner Countries

• SRIA implementation – including the development of specific activities and the harmonization of the water RDI agendas of partner countries – was designed to maximize impact. Through the WatEUr project, the Water JPI launched two joint Calls for proposals, mobilizing National and European funds to address European water challenges. Progress has also been made in the harmonization or alignment of National Water RDI agendas in Europe.
Related Vision Indicators:
o Attaining critical mass of research programmes
o Harmonising national water RDI activities in Partner Countries
o Supporting European leadership in science and technology

• Collaboration with other countries outside Europe is leading to fruitful synergies resulting from common efforts and from the sharing of knowledge and good practices on water RDI. The participation of these countries in the joint activities of the JPI is reinforcing good international relations and boosting global technological development.
Related Vision Indicators:
o Attaining critical mass of research programmes
o Supporting European leadership in science and technology

• Dissemination of Water JPI activities and results was crucial to keep society informed of the latest news on water RDI and policies. The implementation of current communication technologies resulted in effective and immediate dissemination, maximizing impact.
Related Vision Indicator:
o Involving water end-users for effective RDI results uptake

The Water JPI is modifying different aspects of the way European society faces water challenges:
• Water users. Water safety and security are being promoted through research and knowledge-based innovation. An effective dissemination strategy is reaching out to water users to communicate the benefits brought by Water Joint Programming to the living standards of European Water citizens. This includes the improvement of the natural environment, the quality of urban water supplies and the protection from water hazards. The international outreach of the Water JPI is extending progress in water management to citizens outside of Europe. Specific developments target the needs of different regions of the world where the contributions of European scientists and technologists can make a difference.
• Science and technology. The Water JPI is reinforcing the current European leadership in water science through effective exchange of knowledge and good practice, ambitious trans-national projects, and the development of programmes for the European mobility and breakthrough infrastructure. Excellent science and technology are required to meet the needs of water users, create high-quality jobs and spread innovative European policies.
• Businesses. Water JPI activities are also targeting researchers and technologists leading innovation in European companies. This is contributing to sustain their competitiveness and is supporting the development of greener, smarter economies in the water sector.
• Policies. The interaction between research and policy has long been nurtured by Framework Programme efforts. The CIS-SPI has promoted science-policy interfacing in the scope of the Water Framework Directive. The Blueprint to Safeguard Europe's Water is the EU policy response to old and emerging challenges on our water resources. In addition to water policies, the Water JPI is responsive to Innovation policies deriving from the Europe 2020 Flagship Initiative Innovation Europe. The Water JPI laid out an intense cooperation with DG Environment in the frame of the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on Water. Bidirectional flow between the Water JPI and European policies is ensuring impact of JPI activities in the policy arena.

List of Websites:
CSA WatEUr Secretariat:
Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad
+34 91 603 73 45

Water JPI Secretariat contact:
Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR)
+ 33 1 78 09 81 20


MINECO = Ministerio de Economia y Competitividad (Spain) - Coordinator
FCT = Fundacao Para a Ciencia e a Tecnologia (Portugal)
IRSTEA = Institut National de Recherche en Sciences et Technologies pour L'environnement et L'agriculture (France)
NERC = Natural Environment Research Council (United Kingdom)
NL Agency = Ministerie van Economische Zaken (The Netherlands)
ISPRA = Istituto Superiore per la Protezione e la Ricerca Ambientale (Italy)
DN = Miljoverndepartementet (Norway)
AKA = Suomen Akatemia (Finland)
EPA = Environmental Protection Agency of Ireland (Ireland)
UEFISCDI = Unitatea Executiva pentru Finantarea Invatamantului Superior, a Cercetarii, Dezvoltarii si Inovarii (Romania)
RPF = Idryma Proothisis Erevnas (Cyprus)
ONEMA = Office National de L’Eau et des Milieux Aquatiques (France)
SUEN = Turkiye Su Enstitusu (Turkey)
RCN = Norges Forskningsrad (Norway)
BRGM = Bureau de Recherches Geologiques et Minieres (France)
MoE-IL = Ministry of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water (Israel)
JUELICH = Forschungszentrum JUELICH GMBH (Germany)
ANR = Agence Nationale de la Recherche (France)

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