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Research & Development Request

UK research institute and water company seeking lead partner for water-related Horizon 2020 project

Country of Origin: United Kingdom
Reference Number: RDUK20190109001
Publication Date: 9 January 2019


A UK research institute and water company are seeking a lead partner for H2020-SC5-04-2019, Building a water-smart economy and society. The research institute is home to one of the main centres for transdisciplinary water research in Europe and can contribute expertise in working with water industry, economics analyses, circular economy and nature-based solutions. The water company can provide access to demonstration sites in Scotland. A research partnership is envisioned.


The research institute and water company are interested in joining an existing consortium for Work Programme 5, H2020-SC5-04-2019, Building a water-smart economy and society, a two-stage Innovation Action, closing 19 February 2019. 

The research institute connects research and policy and delivers objective, robust and transdisciplinary research and provides expert opinion to support the development and implementation of national water policy and to provide evidence in topics such as circular economy, management of natural capital and other parts of national economy. The organisation has the experience of producing excellent research and participating in numerous H2020 and other international projects in cooperation with academic and non-academic partners. It has implemented multi-stakeholder approach for best stakeholder engagement in various past and on-going projects and has established close working links with key industries including water utilities. This would facilitate the institute supporting a consortium to find industry partners from UK.

The institute also offers social science know-how required in the call in addition to its main expertise in economic analyses, sustainability, implementation of nature-based solutions and natural capital. It has the institutional capacity to lead a work package that will address the regulatory and institutional barriers that could impede the wide application of developed innovative solutions.

The institute has a research group that focuses on behavioural change and innovation. The group can identify the complex challenges related to human behaviour and attitudes towards water taking different aspects, such as gender, and explore the inter-linkages between policy and implementation, and acceptance of the solutions developed by both the public and other water users.

The research organisation works closely with a regional water company, who provide water and wastewater services to 5 million people across Scotland. The water company has an active programme of research and innovation focused on delivering resilient, reliable and sustainable water and wastewater services. They have demonstration facilities for water and wastewater treatment and can provide access to water and wastewater networks for testing of potential solutions.

The research institute and water company have previously collaborated successfully.


Official deadline for the call: 19 February 2019
Deadline for Expressions of Interest: 15 February 2019
Project duration: 2-3 years

Advantages and Innovations

The research organisation is interested in participating in a consortium for either subtopic A and B. 

Subtopic A
- Developing a business case for recovery and use of recycled resources using a total value framework
- Performing cost benefit/feasibility analysis of implementation and evaluation of innovation proposed and develop a framework relevant water industry to complement EU Environmental Technology Verification Pilot (ETV) programme
- Driving capital and operation costs down with inclusion of nature-based solutions in the modelling of water supply networks and wastewater treatment facilities and reducing the inherit uncertainties in the outcomes of nature-based solutions

Subtopic B
- Investigation of how the full cost recovery principle endorsed in the EU WFD (Water Framework Directive) can be applied to manage water demand and efficient allocation of water to its competing uses
- Estimation of total value added, and cost avoided in the operations of multiple (urban, industrial, rural and agricultural etc.) end users resulting from innovation deployment and use of nature-based solutions
- Estimation of total value added via prevention of water pollution and degradation of the aquatic environment and soil resulting from possible gains in terms of recycling and reuse of water; recovery of energy and materials; contributing to wider sustainability assessments
- Developing cost-effective management strategies of the water system and infrastructure and compiling best practices around the world in marketing and financing for attracting investment to water sector

The water company can provide demonstration capabilities for either subtopic.

Requested partner

The research organisation and water company are seeking a lead partner from industry or academia that would take on the below responsibilities:

1. Developing digital solutions for the monitoring, control and optimisation of data and processes and for data collection that would enable documentation, dissemination and verification of performance and feasibility of the innovation

2. Providing a technological, modelling or governance innovation ready to be deployed and carried out at least to the TRL 5-7 within the timeframe of the project.

3. Market take-up partners and/or end users from a wide range of different European regions to assure applicability and wide deployment of the innovation in different conditions such as different water resources, economic, social and regulatory settings.

Cooperation offer is closed for requests