Water Innovation: Boosting its value for Europe

Specific challenge

Sustainable water supply and sanitation is fundamental to the food security, health, survival, societal well-being and economic growth in developing countries, especially in Africa. Developing countries are also particularly vulnerable to water-related problems which are expected to be exacerbated in the future by more frequent and severe floods and droughts due to climate change. A prerequisite for tackling these challenges is a profound analysis of water resources at cross-boundary catchment scales, pressures on water resources and conflicts in water use that require sound approaches to water management, taking into consideration broader socio-economic factors and greater gender balance in decision making. International cooperation can play an important role in mitigating negative effects. 

At the same time, the EU should aim to strengthen international cooperation also with emerging economies, especially China and India, through strategic partnerships in the field of water. This will allow for joint development of technological solutions that, capitalising on the mutual knowledge and experience of the water industry in EU Member States and these countries, have a great potential for further replication and market uptake. Building on its leadership in international water-related negotiations, the EU will promote its experience in water policy and river management in order to share best practices.


Proposals shall address the following issue:

A coordination platform for scientists, decision makers, practitioners and other key stakeholders representing a number of African countries throughout the duration of Horizon 2020 to identify opportunities and constraints for the sustainable management of water and other natural resources and ecosystems and for the development of cost-effective climate change adaptation and mitigation measures in Africa. In line with the EU's strategy for international cooperation in research and innovation international cooperation is encouraged, in particular with Africa.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU in the range of EUR 3 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected impacts

 Better preparedness in Africa to address water and climate change vulnerabilities, with less fragmentation of efforts, better monitoring and forecasting tools, and enhanced knowledge sharing and technology transfer.

Application date
Social sciences
Humanities : Anthropology & Ethnology