1. Water Research Horizon Conference
New Initiatives in Water Research
JULY 13-14th 2010 | BERLIN
Aim of the Conference
Water in its quantity and its quality is growingly recognised as one of the great, globally relevant challenges. As a response, water research in Germany has brought forward many innovative technologies which are renowned in many countries of the world. The national Scientific Community shows a wide range of competences in the field of water research, including leading developments in integrated water management at the catchment level (e.g. with respect to the EU Water Framework Directive), water quality and aquatic ecotoxicology evaluation and regulation (e.g. REACH), observation and early-warning systems, as well as, amongst others, in the field of hydrological modelling.
In view of the pressing water problems worldwide and an increased need in practical solutions to concerns arising from global and climate change, however, we need to rethink what science can contribute, in order to adequately face the emerging issues related to water as a resource. Is the water research community in Germany adequately equipped and structured to meet the grand challenges of today and the future? In order to answer this question we need to ask ourselves, whether we are actually working towards adequate solutions and what are the grand scientific challenges involved?
The Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ has started some time ago to develop a concept called the "Water Science Alliance", which aims at bundling and strengthening the existing competences in water research in Germany. At the core of this concept lies the conviction that - under the given circumstances in Germany - a reliable bundling of competences with conceivable output can only be achieved, if the respective partners develop a common understanding of some of the most relevant challenges.
This conference will serve as a driver of ideas and a forum of dialogue to discuss some of the grand challenges and state-of-the-art scientific themes in the water field. Six overarching research fields, which are currently being formulated in form of "White Papers" have been identified by a preparatory committee comprising representatives from the two Ministries, the DFG, the relevant Federal Agencies and several scientists from a range of research institutions. Presentations on each of these fields by national and international experts shall stimulate the discussion during the conference.