2014 UN-Water Annual International Zaragoza Conference. Preparing for World Water Day 2014: Partnerships for improving water and energy access, efficiency and sustainability. 13-16 January 2014

Case study: European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on Water

By Mr. Robert Schröder, Policy Officer, European Commission, DG Environment, Unit C.1 Protection of Water Resources


The water sector is highly fragmented and there are many links with other sectors. Furthermore, there are many existing organizations that primarily focus on activities regarding one of the elements of the innovation value chain (research, technology development, and marketing). The European Innovation Partnership on Water (EIP Water) is an initiative within the EU 2020 Innovation Union. The EIP Water is an initiative based on a bottom up approach. It centered around challenges and opportunities in the water sector, focusing on eight (8) priority areas. It aims to drive innovation actions that will deliver the highest impact.

Relevant stakeholders have determined the priority areas on which the EIP focuses, the European Commission facilitates the process but the stakeholders are the key actors. The stakeholders are all those involved in the field of water and innovation. This includes demand and supply actors in water innovation, public and private bodies, water industry as well as NGO's, water using industries and agriculture, but also for example the financial sector or the ICT sector. Through Action Groups, stakeholders are invited to work on specific innovative solutions to deal with water challenges. These innovations should be able to be applied and where relevant, commercialized. Action Groups should be composed of both demand and supply side actors in innovation. Furthermore, the EIP water works on identifying key barriers to innovation in the field of water and implementing action plans to remove these barriers.

Key impacts of the EIP are to create a platform, connecting all relevant stakeholders in the field of water and innovation, driving partnerships among them and to deliver innovative solutions to deal with water challenges while creating market opportunities.