European Innovation Partnership on Water

The Europe 2020 Flagship Initiative for an Innovation Union proposed the concept of European Innovation Partnerships (EIPs). DG Environment, in close cooperation with DG Research and Innovation and other DG’s, has launched a proposal for a European Innovation Partnership on Water.

The EU Member States, through Environment Council Conclusions on June 11th 2012, have endorsed the launch of the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on Water.

The EIP on Water was proposed by the European Commission on the 10th of May 2012 (Commission Communication on the European Innovation Partnership on Water).

European Innovation Partnerships, proposed by the Europe 2020 Innovation Union flagship initiative, aim to speed up innovations that contribute to solving societal challenges, enhance Europe’s competitiveness and contribute to job creation and economic growth. EIPs help to pool expertise and resources by bringing together public and private actors at EU, national and regional level, combining supply- and demand-side measures.

The overall objective of the EIP on Water is to support and facilitate the development of innovative solutions to deal with the many water related challenges Europe and the world are facing, as well as to support economic growth by bringing such solutions to the market. At the same time, innovations are considered to be an important tool to develop adequate and state of the art European water policy.

The EIP on Water will centre on removing barriers to innovation and connecting the supply and demand sides of water related innovations. The activities of the EIP on Water will be structured around challenges in the areas of urban water management, rural water management and industrial water management, as well as addressing cross cutting themes. The EIP on Water will be based on a multidisciplinary approach, identifying in which areas innovations are needed to develop solutions – research, technology, governance, ICT, financial or others. This approach will ensure a maximum coordination with and use of the activities and outputs of existing European or national initiatives, such as the Joint Programming Initiative on Water, European Technology Platforms, Eco-Innovation Action Plan etc.

The EIP on Water will be driven by a bottom-up approach to identify the priorities for action and to identify the bottlenecks and needs to facilitate innovation.

Anticipated outputs of the EIP on water include:

– innovation sites to identify barriers to innovation; develop, test and demonstrate concrete activities, actions,

– prototypes and solutions in relation to particular water challenges

– dissemination of breakthroughs and innovative solutions

– removal of water innovation barriers – regulatory, financial, standardization, technical, social, etc. – which hamper the successful delivery of innovations to the market; and

– a water innovation ‘market place’ to promote interaction between those facing water problems and those who can provide potential solutions, regardless of their geographical location.

The EIP on water is expected be fully operational in early 2013 and to start delivering first results within one year. Next steps:

– Kick off meeting of the EIP on Water High Level Steering Group (September 2012, date to be confirmed). The High Level Steering Group will give the mandate to develop the Strategic Implementation Plan and appoint a Task Force to develop the Strategic Implementation Plan. Members of the High Level Steering Group will be invited in a personal capacity by Commissioner Potočnik, taking into account wide stakeholder involvement and geographic representation.

– Development of the Strategic Implementation Plan by the Task Force, between September and December 2012. The Task Force will reflect the High Level Steering Group inclusion of relevant stakeholders and geographic balance.

– Endorsement of the Strategic Implementation Plan by the High Level Steering Group in December 2012.

– Start of the operational phase of the EIP on Water by 2013.

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