The implementation of the Water Framework Directive (WFD) and its daughter directives, as well as the Floods Directive, is not a “Business-as-usual approach” and constitutes an exceptional challenge to water managers and governments across Europe. Assessments of the current status of implementation have shown that less than 40% of water bodies will meet the Good Ecological Status in 2015.
Meeting these objectives in the long run will require additional knowledge and know-how in terms of designing measures and management approaches. This knowledge is however to a large extent generated by EU-funded research, but insufficiently applied to address the challenges occurring in the context of WFD implementation.
This concern is shared by many stakeholders, water managers and researchers alike, who have a strong interest in boosting the transfer of research outputs to the real life, like it is shown by the initiative led by some members of the CIS group (WFD Common Implementation Strategy) to run a dedicated SPi (Science-Policy interfacing) working group.
But when looking at the impact of research on water management practices, it is demonstrated that the connection between research and the policy process is not efficient. As stated by FUNDETEC, a FP6-project, final report in Dec.2007, “the typical length of time needed to complete the development cycle (in the water sector) is 10 years” ; this means that research commissioned today will impact water management practices within about 12 years, far after the next milestones of the Water Framework Directive (2015, 2021).
The general objective of the project is to speed-up the transfer of research outputs to water management institutions (a basin authority or a city) with a targeted time lag of only 3 - 5 years. In addition to the time lag, another issue is the way research outputs are promoted : for example it is stated in the ex-post impact assessment of the FP6 (area Water and soil), that : “The number of high-level publications was sufficient (score 3 out of 5) with some very good projects (e.g. the EUROLIMPACS Integrated Project, although not yet completed, has already more than 450 publications)”.
And at the end EuroLimpacs issued some 800 papers : if it is indeed a necessary step for further research works, with peer-reviewing a key for validating the quality of works, it offers a too large wealth of information from the practitioners point of view ; “Too much information kills information”: it is obvious that policy-making professionals will not have the time, nor even the willingness, to read this mass of papers, and to extract useful information.
The work plan is built around the main steps of the project:
- Assessing of the identified FP research projects outputs as seeds for further research or innovation (WP1)
- Designing Individualised Dissemination Strategies and the ad’hoc tools (WP2)
- Marketing those results to the appropriate target groups (WP3)
- The permanent internal evaluation of the project and its efficiency, with an eye on the future of this initiative (WP4)
- The project management; including the liaison of the project with its environment (WP5)
Dissemination is in-built in the workpackages, both when collecting information, and when marketing the results ; specific activities are also foreseen as a Liaison issue.
WP1. Identify and analyse relevant EU-funded projects on environmental technologies focusing on water, and involve the coordinators:
Task 1.1. Data gathering, questionnaires and individual interviews of coordinators
Task 1.2. Analyze the dissemination impact of the projects already ended
Task 1.3. Participatory stakeholders’ meeting to review the proposed methodology
Task 1.4. Analysis of potential uptake of the results of the projects
Task 1.5. Preliminary validation of SPi research needs
WP2. Design the methodology for the Individual Dissemination Strategy of project results
Task 2.1. Description of the relevant social actors (target groups)
Task 2.2. Preparation of the dissemination events
Task 2.3. Development of the web infrastructure
WP3. Dissemination of the results of the reviewed EU projects, targeted to different categories of social actors;
Task 3.1. Annual planning of Dissemination Strategies join activities
Task 3.2. Operation of social networking
Task 3.3. Brokerage and training events: booths, summer schools, seminars…
WP4. Assessment of the impact of the activities
Task 4.1. Quality control - Definition of indicators - evaluation framework
Task 4.2. Assessment of the dissemination performed by the project
Task 4.3. Guidelines for future EU projects dissemination and uptake strategy