16 Aug 2012
Getting scientists, policymakers and industry professionals to talk the same language can be a challenge for water policy development that stands in the way of environmental progress. In Europe, the challenge is being tackled head-on by the pioneering STEP-WISE initiative.
Science and research is crucial role to underpinning water policy formulation and implementation across the EU. But the large number of water research and implementation projects created over the past decade could become a veritable tower of Babel without the right systems in place to enable effective cross-fertilisation of ideas between the three pillars of science, policy and industry. The vast repository of information available includes guidance documents, synthesis reports, IT tools, methodologies and case study experiences.
Hydro International is part of a European Consortium actively working to break down the communication barriers through its participation in the STEP-WISE project, an EC FP7 funded project, which builds on previous EC funded projects to further develop and enhance the WISE-RTD Water Knowledge Portal.
The WISE-RTD Water Knowledge Portal links to a vast repository of EU policy information, policy implementation guidance documents, research results, case studies and demonstration project reports and access to information on various industry tools and technologies.
Unlike a simple internet search, WISE-RTD uses intelligent keyword linking algorithms to connect policies to research results and industry tools; or research results to related industry technologies and policy guidance documents; or industry tools to the policies that these tools are helping to deliver.
The policies are presented in simple terms, with a user-guided route through the intricacies of EU water-related policy directives as well as the US Clean Water Act (coming soon). Similarly research results are presented through layman’s reports that provide an easily accessible overview of the research project. The latest information regarding the STEP-WISE project and the WISE-RTD Water Knowledge Portal can be accessed via the 2nd STEP-WISE Project Newsletter and 1st STEP-WISE Policy Brief.
The newsletter contains the first announcement and open call for the STEP-WISE project final conference which will be held in Brussels, Belgium on 3-4 December 2012. This conference will be free to attend and will consist of presentations and workshop sessions on 3rd December which will be followed by a panel discussion at the European Parliament on the 4thof December. The full conference programme will be announced in September 2012.
The importance of water resources within the European Union (EU) is emphasised by the 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7), which awarded €2 billion for environmental research between 2007 and 2013, whilst LIFE+, the main European financial instrument for the environment, has a budget of around €2.143 billion for the period of 2007-2013, of which at least 78% must be spent on co-financing projects. Since 1992, LIFE has co-financed some 3115 projects throughout the EU. As the stakes are high and the issues transcend national boundaries, a concerted action at the level of the EU is necessary to ensure effective protection.
Further news and updates from the STEP-WISE project and important developments regarding the WISE-RTD Water Knowledge Portal will appear on the Engineering Nature’s Way website in due course.