European Commision


EIP Water News 10 / December 2013, 12. December 2013
EIP Water | Boosting opportunities - Innovating water

Dear Reader,

Welcome to the end-of-the-year edition of the EIP Water monthly newsletter!

We are pleased to report back to you from a highly-interactive and innovative inaugural EIP Water Conference held at the EU Parliament in Brussels on 21 November 2013. Almost 500 participants from over fifteen EU and non-EU countries participated by sharing, networking, and voting; delegates had an enriching day exchanging new insights on water innovation from across the world. All the presentations made at the Conference are now online, and a Conference Report and short film will be available on the EIP Water Market Place by the end of the year. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all the speakers and the participants for making the Conference a success!

The EIP Water Steering Group and the Taskforce recently held respective meetings in Brussels and made a decision to extend the deadline of the second call for Action Group proposals to 31 January 2014. The first call for Action Groups in April this year drew over sixty proposals out of which nine were selected. The current Action Groups are already reporting on their ongoing activities. We look forward to receiving your submission by the end of January next year!

We are also pleased to inform you that the unprecedented € 80 billion European research and innovation program Horizon 2020 was formally adopted. Water and innovation is a focus area for 2014 and 2015 with direct links to the EIP Water. The calls for 2014 and 2015 are available now, so you can identify funding opportunities for your water innovation projects.

Please look out for our next newsletter in early February 2014.  We take this opportunity to send you our best wishes for the festive season after a very successful year.

The EIP Water Secretariat


EIP Water News and Updates

4th EIP Water
Steering Group meeting

The EIP Water Steering Group met on 6 December 2013. Janez Potočnik, European Commissioner for the Environment, as well as Research and Innovation Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn both attended the meeting, underlining the close collaboration among different Commission services in the context of EIP Water.

The Steering Group welcomed the rapid pace and efficient implementation of the Partnership in its first year. The continuity of EIP Water until 2020 was discussed and corresponding actions outlined. The Steering Group addressed various other topics and agreed on EIP Water's work plan for 2014, which will include the further implementation of its communication strategy and the development of actions to remove (water) innovation barriers.

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EIP Water Marketplace growing into a virtual hub for water innovation

Within three months, over 500 individual users have registered on the EIP Water Online Marketplace. The main objective of the EIP Water Online Marketplace is to “match-make” users from across the innovation value chain. A short video about the EIP Water Marketplace, how it works and its objectives can be viewed here.

Users who aim to be visible on the prominent presented water innovation map do have the opportunity to ensure their own visibility – the map shows "active" users together with their projects and organisations. An "active" user is someone with some activity on the Marketplace in the preceding 30 days. The newest feature of the Marketplace is a Virtual Forum for those who wish to apply for a new EIP Water Action Group. In order to apply, a user must register with the Marketplace first.  This will also allow the user to access the new forum as well the EIP Water Action Groups Guidelines and Application Form. The Virtual Forum provides features for users to post and reply to messages, such as “who has access to … ?”, “Does anyone know a company/specialist in the technical field of … ?”, “Who can help me with … ?”

User questions should only be related to the submission of a new Action Group initiative.  The forum gives new Action Group applicants the opportunity to seek support or feedback from a specialist group of over 500 Market Place users - a large group focussed on water innovation which provides an excellent platform for producing the best possible Action Group submission! Please note that the Virtual Forum is in its beta version; we welcome your feedback for further improvements!

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4th EIP Water
Taskforce meeting

At its fourth meeting on 20 November 2013, the EIP Water Taskforce analysed the latest developments of EIP Water and its work program for 2014. Particular attention was paid to the analysis of existing Barriers and Bottlenecks to Innovation in the water sector; a Taskforce member also presented a working document with five priority actions for further development namely, funding instruments, regulations, public-private partnerships, showcases, and procurement.

The Taskforce received an update on the status of the nine Action Groups’ on-going activities and the second call for expressions of commitment for Action Groups. The draft EIP Water framework for Monitoring and Evaluation was discussed and it was agreed that further impact indicators be developed.

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"Horizon 2020": the EU research and innovation programme 2014-2020: First call on “Water”

The new funding programme will have a budget of EUR 77 billion in current prices for the seven-year period, thus making Horizon 2020 the world's largest research programme. Horizon 2020 will replace the EU's 7th Research Framework Programme (FP7), which runs until the end of 2013. Compared with FP7, this new programme is expected to further eliminate fragmentation in the fields of scientific research and innovation. On 11 December, the first call has been published, with significant investment options for water innovation, in line with the priority areas of the EIP Water. Please check here for the work program including the EIP Water related calls.

Kurt Vandenberghe, Director in the  Directorate General Research and Innovation, presented “Horizon 2020 as an opportunity for innovation in water” at the recent EIP Water Conference.

The new programme will underpin the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy for growth and jobs, as well as the goal of strengthening the scientific and technological bases by contributing to achieving a European Research Area in which researchers, scientific knowledge and technology circulate freely. Horizon 2020 focuses on three priorities, namely generating excellent science in order to strengthen the Union's world-class scientific excellence and make the Union research and innovation system more competitive, fostering industrial leadership to speed up the development of technologies that will support businesses and innovation, including for small companies, and tackling societal challenges in order to respond to the priorities identified in the Europe 2020 strategy by supporting activities covering the entire chain from research to market.

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EIP Water Action Group News

Deadline of 2nd call extended
31 January 2014

Action Groups are at the core of the EIP Water. These voluntary, multi-national, multi-stakeholder groups collaborate around themes related to one of the eight EIP Water priority areas; their activities form the foundation EIP Water's implementation phase.

EIP Water is looking forward to new Action Group proposals through its second call for expressions of commitment. The objective for Action Groups is to develop, test, scale up, promote, disseminate and stimulate the uptake of innovative approaches and solutions to major water-related challenges by the European and global markets. EIP Water is looking for Action Groups to work on both technical and non-technical innovations which can be applied and implemented. The European Commission will not directly fund any Action Group activities.

All Action Group Proposals are evaluated by the European Commission, based on predetermined evaluation criteria and excellence of the proposals. The first call in April this year attracted over 60 proposals out of which nine were selected as Action Groups. The second call will close on the 31st of January 2014. We look forward to receiving your applications fo which you may make use of the before-mentioned Forum!

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City Blueprints
growing stronger

The EIP Water Action Group City Blueprints is growing stronger and continues disseminating its activities proactively. City Blueprints calls for an innovative and sustained European effort to deal with the challenges of urban water management in the continent’s cities. By conducting studies of city blueprints in cities of Europe and beyond, it aims to share best practices between cities by organising a bottom-up response to overcome barriers in the water-related governance systems.
The Action Group recently published its first proof of concept in Water Resources Management:  ‘City Blueprints: Baseline Assessments of Sustainable Water Management in 11 Cities of the Future’. City Blueprints is planning to publish the first report on urban water management with blueprints of 24 cities in February 2014. The Action Group also plans to provide an update with city blueprints and best practices for at least 30 cities by May 2014.
One flagship activity to look forward to in 2014 is the publishing of a City Blueprints Atlas. The Atlas - to be produced by KWR, Netwerch20 and the Joint Research Centre - is intended to explain to citizens and other stakeholders the 24 indicators of a City Blueprint, demonstrate best urban water management practices and visualize technologies and solutions for specific problems. The launch of the Atlas is envisaged for the Opening of the EXPO 2015 in Milan, Italy.

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EIP Water's got talent

In what turned out to be one of the most interactive sessions of the 1st EIP Water Conference, four candidates presented their innovation ideas to conference participants and a high-level jury in a session dubbed “EIP Water’s got talent”. CeesBuisman, Member of the Executive Board of Wetsus, Bernard Guirkinger, Senior advisor to the CEO of Suez Environnement, and Harald Schölzel, Senior Engineer and Deputy Technical Advisor at the European Investment Bank made up the jury. Fiona Griffith from Isle Utilities moderated the session after presenting her company’s work on bringing innovation to the market. The jury selected "VERDYGO – A New Standard in Wastewater Treatment Plants” and “Integrated Photocatalytic Wasterwater Treatment Systems” as the winners. The presentations on “Energy and Water works: energising Sustainable Deltas” and  “An Integrated Approach on Hydric Efficiency Recovery of Nutrient in Buildings” also received a lot of attention.

The University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC) and WATERGY s.l., represented by Dr. Daniel Fernández Hevia, will propose its approach to the before-mentioned Integrated Photocatalytic Wastewater Treatment Systems as a new Action Group on photocatalytic systems for large -scale applications. The Action Group would aim to target the integration of UV-LED irradiation, advanced photocatalyst materials, and efficient photocatalyst immobilisation techniques, in an effort to foster real-life applications of the photocatalytic technology to arsenic removal, selenium removal and pesticide degradation in wastewaters or naturally contaminated groundwater and surface water. WATERGY s.l. is a start-up that will partially exploit the photocatalytic technology developed at the Photocatalysis Group of the ULPGC.

For more information, you may contact Dr. Daniel Fernández Hevia directly.

Read more about the other winner, VERDYGO, in the following sections.

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Action Groups present their work

Representatives of the nine inaugural EIP Water Action Groups presented their ongoing work at the 1st EIP Water Conference held in Brussels on 21 November 2013.

The audience of over 500 participants followed the presentations attentively and many took the opportunity to find out more during the coffee and lunch breaks for networking and information exchange.
The Action Groups’ presentations are now online on the EIP Water slideshare account and have already been viewed almost one thousand times in total!

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Selected Water Innovation News

New wastewater treatment concept by Limburg Waterboard

Guus Pelzer, CEO of the Waterschapsbedrijf Limburg WBL, a Dutch water board, presented a new wastewater treatment concept based on existing technologies and methods, at the recent EIP Water Conference. The innovation enables the modular flexible construction of wastewater treatment plants for communal wastewater with a high level of standardisation. Even better, the innovation does this at a cost that is twenty percent lower than traditional wastewater treatment plants.

Major components can be replaced while the plant is in operation using a simple “plug and play” design. The construction time for the device is also considerably shorter than that for conventional ones, and all plant components can be transported by road. Changing circumstances, such as the need to process more or less wastewater, can be accommodated by simple scaling the plant up or down. This concept also offers opportunities to work together with industry and agriculture in the area of energy and the supply of process or irrigation water.
The WBL intends to build two plants within its area in 2014 and a further two in 2017/2018. Before going ahead with this plan, WBL requested a second opinion from seven captains of industry and education. In addition to an overall positive response on the concept, WBL was advised to continue developing the concept with other key industry players, and to consider marketing it on a global level.
If you are interested in collaborating on this project, please contact Twan Houtappels, programme manager Verdygo.

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Smart specialization Platform: several regions focus on water

Following the Communication 'Regional Policy contributing to smart growth in Europe 2020', the European Commission has established a “smart specialisation platform” to provide professional advice to EU countries and regions for the design of their research and innovation strategies for smart specialisation - RIS3 in short. An interactive map has been developed, which allows searching for regions that have indicated water as a potential focus area to use their innovation funding under the European Regional Development Fund.  The smart specialization platform services include:
  • Providing guidance material and good practice examples
  • Organising information sessions for policy makers and participating in conferences
  • Providing training to policy-makers
  • Facilitating peer-reviews
  • Supporting access to relevant data
  • Participating in high quality research projects to inform strategy formation and policy making
What is Smart Specialisation?
Smart specialization is a strategic approach to economic development through targeted support to Research and Innovation (R&I). It will be the basis for European Structural and Investment Fund interventions in R&I as part of the future Regional and Cohesion Policy's contribution to the Europe 2020 jobs and growth agenda. More generally, smart specialisation involves a process of developing a vision, identifying competitive advantage, setting strategic priorities and making use of smart policies to maximise the knowledge-based development potential of any region, strong or weak, high-tech or low-tech.
The smart specialisation platform offers a unique resource and platform for regional development policy-makers and professionals developing such strategies as well as their partners from business, academia and the civil society.

The S3 Platform provides information, methodologies, expertise and advice to national and regional policy makers; furthermore it promotes mutual learning, trans-national co-operation and contributes to academic debates around the concept of smart specialisation.

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Professional and Investment Opportunities

Horizon 2020 evaluations: Water innovation experts needed

The European Commission invites applications from individuals with a view to establishing a database of independent experts who could be called on in connection with the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. Water innovation experts are specifically needed to help ensure that Horizon 2020 project proposals under the 'water innovation' focus area can be well assessed on their innovation potential as these new calls are on demonstration and market replication, not only on research.

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Recommended Reading

Water innovation report by the CleanTech Group

In September 2013, the Cleantech Group hosted its second annual Water Innovation Summit which brought together leaders from across the water sector - including venture capital firms, corporates, startups, and municipalities - who discussed the technological, financial, and social challenges related to water innovation.

The Cleantech Group defines “water innovation as the technologies, business models, and partnerships that increase water supply and decrease demand throughout the water delivery and use cycle.” The two-day Summit focused on “examining opportunities for maximizing efficiency at each step”; the report explains however that “our greatest learning was that innovation will require rethinking of our often linear and sometimes cyclical approach to water distribution and use. At the core of innovation needs in this sector lie fundamental issues such as data transparency, financing, and infrastructure adaptation.”

The report of the Summit was sponsored by "energy recovery" and GRUNDFOS.

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OOSKAnews reports about
EIP Water Conference

"Watergy and verdygo share European Innovation Prize" titled OOSKAnews, a specialised newswire service which "produces daily and weekly email subscription-based newsletters covering vital water news and intelligence, deploying more than 160 correspondents in over 70 countries", on 11 December. An OOSKAnews correspondent attended the 1st EIP Water Conference on 21 November 2013 and produced a number of stories about the event. On 21 November itself, OOSKAnews published the article "European Innovation Partnership on Water Hails Horizon 2020”; subsequently the OOSKAnews correspondent conducted interviews with participants as well as further research on water innovation related topics. A further article that resulted covers the EIP Water Action Group "W4EF: Framework for evaluation and reporting of the energy impacts on water" and is titled "Energy Framework Action Group Reports to European Innovation Partnership on Water".

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Announcements and Events

1st EIP Water Conference a big success

The first Conference of the European Innovation Partnership on Water themed “Networking – Interacting – Innovating” was held on 21 November, at the EU Parliament in Brussels. This highly-interactive event brought together almost 500 participants to share insights on water innovation development and discuss the future of water innovation in Europe.

EIP Water stakeholders took stock of milestones in helping to increase the opportunities for collaborating on water innovation in Europe and globally. All presentations from the Conference are now available on the EIP Water slideshare account. A report as well as a video on the Conference will be published soon on the EIP Water Online Marketplace.
EIP Water would like to thank all the delegates for their participation and great contribution to making the event a success.

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All you wanted to know about financing innovative SMEs but ...

On 24 January 2014, WssTP and ERRIN will organise an info day on public funding opportunities for SMEs in the water sector. The session is also organised through the EIP Water Action Group FINNOWATER. The information day will give a comprehensive overview of funding schemes available for SMEs in 2014 and will be of interest to all stakeholders wishing to gain an overview of the current funding opportunities. Funding opportunities addressed will include, amongst others, EIB, Eco- ovation, Horizon2020, the SME instrument, COSME, Eurostars,  Acqueau, crowdfunding, and business angels.

The event will be followed by a networking cocktail and may also be web-streamed (tbc).The EIP Water strongly supports this event, and will include the outcomes in a practical guide for European water innovation funding opportunities which will be developed in the coming months.For more information of pre-registration, please check the websites of WssTP or ERRIN.

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EIP Water at UN Water Annual International Zaragoza Conference

EIP Water will be presented at the forthcoming United Nations Water Conference on “Partnerships for Improving Water and Energy Efficiency and Sustainability: Preparing for WWD 2014” to be held in Zaragoza, Spain, from 13 to 16 January 2014. The Conference will focus on water and energy - one of EIP Water’s priority areas. The EIP Water Action Group W4EF: Framework for Evaluation and Reporting of the Energy Impacts on water will also be present.

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