Tackling one of the biggest challenges for Southern Europe through innovation

Water plays a central role in how societies mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change. A holistic approach considering water, the biosphere, and the anthroposphere is required to provide sustainable agricultural and economic systems that will allow us to decelerate climate change, protect us from extremes events and adapt to the unavoidable at the same time. 

The EIT Innovation Communities (KICs) are launching a call for experts to create a task force – the Body of Knowledge – working on finding innovative solutions for water scarcity in Southern Europe. 

The overall objective of the project, involving EIT RawMaterials, EIT Food, EIT Climate-KIC and EIT Manufacturing, is finding innovative solutions to prevent and mitigate water scarcity and drought situations, as well as the over usage of water, with the aim to move towards a water-efficient and water-saving economy, focusing on raising awareness, learning to save water, and managing the available resources more efficiently. Among the key objective of the project, there is the ambition to create a multi-sectoral network of at least 50 stakeholders engaged in water scarcity. 

The project aims to work on this key challenge for Southern Europe starting from the discussion with experts and practitioners across the region that – through system innovation methods and facilitated by the KICs team – are able to set up the work based on concrete territorial needs and engaging the demand. As for that, EIT RawMaterials and the other EIT Communities involved in the project are calling for the support of a Body of Knowledge (BoK) for Water Scarcity in Southern Europe to help us in defining the key challenges and priorities for the territorial context and enable the work through the innovation of start-ups and training design.  

As to make sure we have a wide representation of knowledge, expertise and needs understanding, we are inviting representatives from different sectors, including policy, industry, civil society and research & innovation to participate in the process of developing a Body of Knowledge (BoK) to support in the knowledge sharing and through innovation across Southern Europe. Therefore, we are looking for professionals ready to support on an individual basis, coming from different field of expertise in entrepreneurship, innovation, policymaking, civil society engagement, industry, research and academia in order to support the EIT Innovation Communties in defining the needs, opportunities and impact of innovation in Southern Europe. The creation of a network of the network is envisioned, therefore we would welcome synergies with initiatives such as – among others – PRIMA initiative, H2020 Focus Area on water and the H2020 clusters of innovation projects on water and Smart Specialisation Strategies. 

All players that can give a valuable contribution to the multi-stakeholders’ perspective that we need to tackle such societal challenge are welcome to apply. 

Scope of the experts involved: 

  • Participate in up to four meetings throughout the year in Greece, Italy and Spain (some of those might be online) in which – through participatory methods and system innovation tools to analyse the current state of the art and identify needs assessment in which innovation can intervene to support tackling this challenge.
  • Collaborate with KICs on the design and delivery of the challenge Labs and education training for professionals developed in this programme.  
  • Collect and propose six ideas/challenges/issues directly relevant to water scarcity that will be used as topics, to engage start-ups and entrepreneurs in 3 challenge labs.  
  • Contribute to the production of a report including workshops results, best practices, find links and study other potential connections, opportunities and upcoming possibilities with KICs to continue the work of the group in the future.
  • Support and contribute actively to the establishment of a Partnership agreement with at least 1 initiative either national or regional activities and policy instruments related to water scarcity (S3, H2020, or other European or National/regional and regional/social funds). 
  • Act as multipliers to build the network of stakeholders on water scarcity in Southern Europe.

Who we are looking for

 Experience and qualifications include – but are not limited to – candidates that have: 

  • Required education to post-graduate degree level in a relevant field or at least five years of experience within sectors (agriculture and food, climate change, manufacturing, raw materials) connected to Water Scarcity. 
  • Required experience in working/understanding/analysing Southern European regions.
  • Required fluent in English.
  • Desirable experience with international programmes and organisations related to water.
  • Availability to attend the four meetings (first 1 online + 3 in person as scheduled above).

 Other desirable experience and knowledge: 

  • Experience in innovation, business creation and modelling  
  • Experience in Knowledge Triangle Integration model and working with knowledge triangle stakeholders (education, research, business)  
  • Actively participate in other networks connected to Water topics (PRIMA initiative, H2020, S3, Interreg, NEXUS, etc.) 
  • Good understanding of EU regional policy framework, EU programmes supporting regional transitions, S3 and other initiatives  

Considering the first workshop online participation, ability to connect and access an online meeting on a stable internet connection and ability to interact will be the candidate’s responsibility. 

Award criteria

Candidates will be assessed on their CV and online form provided at the link below. 

Applications will close on 29 March 2020 at 23:59 CET.  

Selected candidates will be informed by 7 April 2020 in case of success and requested to attend the first online session on 15 April 2020. 

Up to 16 candidates will be selected to represent diversity in areas of expertise and relevant experience. 

We will be looking to appoint individuals with expertise in the area of water scarcity and Southern Europe challenges with a balance representation of expertise in climate change, food and agriculture, raw materials and manufacturing. We will look to include a balanced number of researchers, individual experts, industries, civil society representatives, public authorities and policymakers. It will be a requirement for candidates to attend the online meeting and the three in person events 

EIT Innovation Communities value diversity and welcomes applications from all suitably qualified candidates regardless of age, gender, race, disability, sexual orientation, religion or ethnic background. 

The KICs will assess candidates’ profiles based on the following documents: 

  • Send an updated CV to eitris@climate-kic.org with Subject: [Application for the Body of Knowledge on Water Scarcity in Southern Europe] 
  • Filling in the online form below:  
Apply for the call!

All personal data of the involved experts will be processed in compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). More information can be found in the form.  

The candidate experts will be selected by the four involved KICs members Team based on the provided information and will receive upon selection another invitation, followed by the relevant materials and more precise guidance.  

EIT Regional Innovation Scheme strengthening the capacity of their innovation enablers and actors and linkages among them

The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) is an EU body created by the European Union in 2008 to strengthen Europe’s ability to innovate. The EIT is an integral part of Horizon 2020, the EU’s Framework Programme for Research and Innovation.  

Although we share one continent, European countries are divided because of disparities in innovation performance. This has resulted in the classification of European countries in two main groups—innovation leaders and strong innovators versus moderate and modest innovators. One reason for lower innovation performance is weak linkages among the key players—businesses and research institutions and academia, as well as between the private and public sectors, including a systematic approach towards innovation. As a response to this challenge, the EIT Regional Innovation Scheme (EIT RIS) was introduced. The EIT RIS is designed for EU Member States and Horizon 2020 Associated Countries in Europe who are modest and moderate innovators, and where Innovation Communities have few or no partners. Strategically, the Scheme is an additional offer to these countries to facilitate their engagement with the EIT Innovation Communities. The Scheme’s aim is to facilitate the access to services and programmes offered by the EIT Innovation Communities.  

Each Innovation Community cooperates with local innovators – individuals such as students, researchers, entrepreneurs, and organisations such as SMEs, universities, research labs, regions, NGOs and cities. The EIT Innovation Communities involve the local players in education, business creation and acceleration activities, as well as innovation-driven research.