River-Sea Systems (RSS), covering whole river basins and the coastal waters that they in¬fluence, are of major importance for food and energy production, transport, and societal wellbeing. Complex and dynamic, they are experiencing natural and anthropogenic pressures – at local, regional and global scales – through pollution, hydraulic engineering, water supply, energy, f¬ood control and erosion. Improved understanding of their functioning is essential to avoid irreversible degradation and for restoration. RSS in Europe are among the most impacted globally, after centuries of industrialisation, urbanisation and agricultural intensification. European researchers are pre-eminent in addressing these problems but research – including the transitional zone between freshwaters and the marine environment – has been largely discipline- specific, not addressing the system as a whole. Current Research Infrastructures (RI) are inadequate for urgently needed interdisciplinary research. DANUBIUS-RI, named after the world’s most international river, is a developing pan-European distributed RI supporting interdisciplinary studies of RSS, drawing on existing research excellence across Europe. It will enhance the impact of European research while maximizing investment efficiency. It will enable and support research addressing the confl¬icts between society’s demands, environmental change and environmental protection in RSS. DANUBIUS-RI is on the ESFRI Roadmap (European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures) and is a Flagship Project of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region. The lead in developing DANUBIUS-RI has been taken by Romania, which has committed land and resources, with the advice and support of scientists and stakeholders from institutions in more than 15 countries across Europe.
DANUBIUS-RI’s Mission is to facilitate excellent science on the continuum from river source to sea; to offer state-of-the art research infrastructure; and to provide the integrated knowledge required to sustainably manage and protect River-Sea Systems.
DANUBIUS-RI’s Vision is to achieve healthy River-Sea Systems and advance their sustainable use, in order to live within the planet’s ecological limits by 2050.
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.
From DANUBIUS-PP to DANUBIUS-RI
DANUBIUS-RI is now in the final stages of its Preparatory Phase. DANUBIUS-PP was a three-year project, started in December 2016, funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under Grant Agreement No 739562 aiming to raise DANUBIUS-RI to the legal, financial and technical maturity required for successful implementation and development.
DANUBIUS-PP brought together key stakeholders through a process of wide engagement. The Consortium was led by Romania and was composed of 30 partners from 16 countries, with expressions of interest and support from the scientific community in many other countries in Europe and worldwide. The Consortium provided a well balanced mix of competencies required to build DANUBIUS-RI, in terms of both scientific and administrative domains, as well as geographical coverage.
DANUBIUS-PP aimed at developing the structures and processes to ensure that the RI strengthens scientific performance by providing a sustainable basis for future operation, delivering key services to the different user communities.