DANUBIUS-PP aims to support the further development of DANUBIUS-RI. It aims to bring DANUBIUS-RI to such a level of maturity that it is ready for implementation as a pan-European distributed RI.
The need for an RI addressing River-Sea Systems
Freshwater and marine systems are central to societal wellbeing, yet they face multiple and confounding pressures from climate change, eutrophication and other natural and anthropogenic environmental perturbations of varying intensities at local and global scales (MEA, 20051; IPCC, 20072). The International Centre for Advanced Studies on River-Sea Systems (DANUBIUS-RI) will be a distributed research infrastructure (RI) that brings together world leading expertise and provide access to a range of river-sea (RS) systems, facilities and expertise, to provide a ‘one- stop shop’ for knowledge exchange, access to harmonised data, a platform for interdisciplinary research, education and training and hence provide answers to questions regarding sustainable management and environmental protection of the RS continuum. There is a widely recognised need to consider the RS system as a single continuum, spanning traditional disciplinary silos (including JPI Water and JPI Oceans) and overcoming the gaps between the existing European environmental policies (e.g. Water Framework Directive 2000; Floods Directive 2007; Marine Strategy Framework Directive 2008; Natura 2000). DANUBIUS-RI will have the capability of providing the evidence base required for a more comprehensive framework for future European environmental policy making.
From DANUBIUS-PP to DANUBIUS-RI
In order to advance the better-informed and holistically engaged management of river-sea systems, world-leading science and research from across Europe needs to be collected and managed, as well as implemented in a consistent, quality assured framework. This is how the concept of DANUBIUS-RI was developed.
The DANUBIUS-RI Preparatory Phase (DANUBIUS-PP) will develop the structures and processes to ensure that DANUBIUS-RI can deliver an integrated understanding of the functioning of RS systems. Furthermore, DANUBIUS-PP will bring together the world’s best science and research projects, in order to provide solid knowledge, understanding and innovation which will then help to address the River-Sea system challenges and opportunities.
Finally, DANUBIUS-PP will provide the framework through which a much needed step change will be delivered in the knowledge triangle (Research-Education-Innovation). Through its activities, it will help to identify the solutions to both research and policy challenges that society is currently facing in ensuring environmental sustainability in the era of growing man-made impacts.
The overall objective of this DANUBIUS-PP is to support the further development of DANUBIUS-RI, i.e. to bring it to such a level of maturity that it is ready for implementation as a pan-European distributed RI. This will be achieved through the following specific objectives:
(i) Establish the political and financial commitments from nations and national stakeholders to deliver the key operational components of the RI. The budgetary requirements for the development and implementation of the RI will be defined within the context of the social and economic impacts and benefits for nations individually and Europe as a whole. This will be used as the evidence-base to secure sustainable income streams for the developing RI.
(ii) Grow the reputation and linkages of the RI within Europe and internationally. Outreach and growth of the RI are core to its sustainability. Growth is considered here at two levels: a) wider engagement within the European scientific communities, including other ESFRIs; and b) international outreach and growth, maximising the impact of DANUBIUS-RI as a world leading RI, drawing upon recent interest expressed by countries of the Mekong River Basin.
(iii) Further detail and develop the DANUBIUS-RI science and innovation agenda and, where appropriate, leading the state-of-the-art science and technological developments. This objective will put in place an innovative and progressive looking science programme to meet existing and emerging societal challenges. The evolving science and innovation agenda will feed initiatives to secure national and European funding to support research and innovation initiatives.
(iv) Further development of the architecture of the organisational and administrative components of the RI and its legal identity. The respective roles of the Hub, the Nodes, the Supersites, the Technology Transfer Office and the Data Centre will be defined, including development of elements of the infrastructure, formulation of the digital and non-digital data management strategies and development of the administrative agreements, among others.
(v) Agree upon the operational requirements of DANUBIUS-RI and its legal identity, including: a) a well- defined access policy that facilitates the advancement of science and innovation both within the public and private sectors, including blue growth, and promotes societal engagement in environmental stewardship; b) common scientific standards and operating procedures to facilitate data comparability within and between existing and new Supersites; and c) translation of the scientific programme, policy and procedures into the DANUBIUS Commons.
Fundamentally, the rationale for DANUBIUS-PP is to complete the preparatory work required to develop DANUBIUS-RI to enable the infrastructure to address the key societal challenges associated with, and opportunities of, River-Sea systems.