By Enrique Playan, Coordinator, European Joint Programming Initiative “Water Challenges for a Changing World”, Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, Government of Spain
In 2008 the European Commission presented a new policy challenging countries to develop initiatives on joint programming with the purpose of increasing the efficiency and impact of national public funding in strategic areas. Joint programming targets public research programmes first and foremost, which means public-public cooperation in the direction of the definition and implementation of common research agendas with jointly agreed-upon multi–annual activities and funding mechanisms. The Joint Programming process is to pool national efforts at a large scale and to make better use of Europe's RDI resources to tackle major challenges effectively. It is a strategic process whereby Member States agree, on voluntary basis and in a partnership approach, on common visions and strategic research agendas. National resources are put together on the basis of collaboration between national programmes.
The JPI “Water challenges for a changing world” deals with research, development and innovation in the field of water and hydrological sciences. The availability of water in sufficient quantities and adequate quality is indeed a public issue of high priority and addresses a pan-European and global environmental challenge.
The Joint Programming Initiative will actively cooperate with the European Commission to provide the European society with the maximum return of these investments. The Initiative responds to the grand challenge of “Achieving Sustainable Water Systems for a Sustainable Economy in Europe and Abroad”. No single European country can address this challenge by itself, due to the magnitude of the needed operations and to the geographical variation of the water problems. Responding to the grand challenge requires a joint multi-disciplinary approach, since outstanding economic, ecological, technological and societal challenges are to be addressed.
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