Creating solutions in collaboration Annual report 2013

Research at global level 

Networks form the basis for many international projects

21 March 2013Networks

KWR develops and implements knowledge for a safe, sustainable and cost-effective water cycle. More and more, the research activities are becoming internationalised. KWR’s extensive European project portfolio and participation in several European and global networks testify to this.

In its European projects, KWR works together with water companies, knowledge partners and technology companies in practically every region of the continent. Many of these projects come about thanks to KWR’s active role within networks such as WssTP, ARC and GWRC. For outsiders it is sometimes difficult to see the forest for the trees. Fortunately, this is not a problem for Gerard van den Berg, KWR’s Europe team leader. “In Europe, working together and tackling concrete problems is fundamental,” he says. “This suits KWR well. Both within and outside our organisation everything also revolves around collaboration: between researchers, with water companies, and with other partners in the public and private sector. And we, too, deal with concrete problems: we translate science to practice. To work beyond our frontiers is to do little more than what we’ve long done: applied research in the water cycle, working with partners who matter.”

“European research is increasingly oriented toward the demonstration and marketing of innovative knowledge”

From networks to joint research

Van den Berg explains how his team operates in Europe. “We participate in various European and global networks. We therefore know the partners, they know us, and we know what is going on. Drawing on these networks we form consortia, through which we respond to European calls for research proposals. An example of such a network is the water technology platform WssTP, which was set up ten years ago for the purpose of uniting the water sector. Up until that time, it consisted of hundreds of small islands working completely separately from each other. Partly thanks to WssTP, research institutes and end-users are collaborating much more, and consortia are being formed and succeeding in winning large European research commissions.”

European research money well invested

Despite the increased collaboration, the European Commission (EC) has noticed that the research results regularly end up “on the shelf”: they don’t always reach the market, far from it. The goal of the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on Water – an EC initiative – is therefore to pool the expertise and resources that currently exist in the public and private sectors, with a view to speeding up innovation at end-users. For Van den Berg “KWR is well represented at the strategic level: CEO Wim van Vierssen is a member of the EIP Steering Group, and Programme Manager, Theo van den Hoven, is part of the EIP Taskforce on Water.” Action Groups have been set up to bring the research results to market. “There, too, KWR is represented: we’re the leaders of two Action Groups – the City Blueprint and ARREAU, which deals with resource recovery – and we’re involved in a number of the other Action Groups. All this must ultimately lead to European research money being well invested, and to actual innovations and their implementation by end-users.”

Shift toward demonstration and marketing

In 2013, KWR and its partners – including foreign research institutions, but also Dutch water companies – have a total of four European research project proposals approved (DESSIN, SOLUTIONS, DEMOWARE, SmartWater4Europe). At the end of 2013, the first call for proposals is issued for Horizon 2020, the successor to the EC’s FP7 research programme, for which a number of proposals are being submitted – again, in partnership with others. When he looks at the European research programmes, Van den Berg sees a significant shift: “The programmes are increasingly oriented toward the demonstration of innovative knowledge – you can see this in ongoing projects like PREPARED and DEMEAU – and marketing this knowledge. This is at the heart of Horizon 2020, and dovetails perfectly with KWR’s ambitions as an applied research institute.”

 

Watershare Dutch watercompanies PREPARED SOLUTIONS DESSIN DEMOWARE SmartWater- 4Europe Click on a name for more information. Collaboration in Europe EWI Fund European Water Innovation Fund FP7 / Horizon 2020 European Research Programmes WssTP Water supply and sanitation Technology Platform EIP on Water European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on Water ARC Aqua Research Collaboration (5 European Knowledge Institutes) IWA International WaterAssociation GWRC Global Water Research Coalition (12 Knowledge Institutes)

© 2017 KWR Watercycle Research Institute

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