NEWAVE Kick-Off Meeting: Launching an innovative network of scientific excellence with the ambition to play a central role in the global water governance debate

March 19, 2020

The EU-funded Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network (ITN) NEWAVE ‘Next Water Governance’, officially launched its activities and started the recruitment of 15 Early Stage Researchers/PhD which will be trained to become future water governance leaders

Prof. Jampel Dell'Angelo presenting NEWAVE's vision and overarching aims
Prof. Jampel Dell'Angelo presenting NEWAVE's vision and overarching aims

AMSTERDAM, March 19, 2020 - On February 25 & 26, 2020, the NEWAVE project funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme was officially launched. Hosted by the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the two-day event brought together representatives from the European Research Executive Agency (REA), beneficiaries, partner organizations and members of the Advisory Board. The objective of the Kick-off meeting was to discuss key aspects regarding the project implementation, the forthcoming hiring and training of 15 fellow Early Stage Researchers (ESRs).

NEWAVE vision and mission

The event restated NEWAVE’s commitment to

  • Bring together an excellent trans-national and transdisciplinary network of water governance organisations;
  • Develop and implement a cutting-edge actionable research agenda on the key water governance priorities and insights for future directions; and
  • Train a new generation of water governance early stage researchers (ESRs) and ensure that they have the trans and interdisciplinary skills to make significant contributions to both the academic and extra-academic water governance world.

The NEWAVE members bring together a distinctive transnational and transdisciplinary network including leading scholars in the field and many of the most prominent water governance organizations. The NEWAVE networks includes 29 organizations, from the academic and non-academic dimensions and is open to new collaborations. “Our network is at the core of the international water governance debate. We have partners worldwide, from local to global scale, both from academic and non-academic sectors, and we look forward to expanding it!”, stated NEWAVE Principal Investigator and Network Coordinator Prof. Jampel Dell’Angelo.

NEWAVE motivation

The shared motivation of the network participants is to work together to address some of the grand sustainability challenges that revolve around water issues. Water is central to ecosystems, human wellbeing and socio-economic progress. Water is one of the main socio-environmental pillars of sustainable development. Water is at the centre of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda, as it affects most dimensions of sustainable development, including governance. NEWAVE builds on a growing awareness amongst experts, academics, policy and decision makers and representatives from the civil society and social movements that governance plays a critical role in attempts to address water problems. As stated by the 2011 OECD water governance report ‘The world water crisis is largely a governance crisis’. “The NEWAVE kick-off meeting had great energy and very much showed the significant potential that we have. We desperately need new paradigms in water governance, I am hopeful that NEWAVE will provide a spark in this debate”, said Prof. dr. Dave Huitema, NEWAVE Principal Investigator and Network Co-Coordinator. “I am keen to invite early stage career researchers to join us in our mission now that we have opened our recruitment”.

Additionally, renowned experts in the water governance field and members of the Advisory Board provided inputs and suggestions on the project coordination and implementation. Among them, Giorgio Cancelliere, Technical Advisor on water management for governmental agencies, elaborated on the international water governance debate and stressed the need for a shift in the paradigms: “Re-think the paradigms of water governance with a focus on the equity dimension becomes essential. It is relevant to consider the social aspect of water-related issues, from an interdisciplinary perspective"

Reinforcing the message on NEWAVE’s vision and mission, Prof. Margreet Zwarteveen, NEWAVE Director of Training, concluded “Wisely governing water requires developing new ways of understanding water-society relations. Water governance importantly entails actively questioning and transforming socio-natural orders which rely on depletion and exploitation of both water and people as the basis of wealth creation or ‘development’. By bringing together and training a group of young water scholars, NEWAVE is uniquely positioned to mobilize the intellectual and political energy needed to effectively engage in this task.”

NEWAVE’s ESR recruitment

Brought together by this ambitious challenge the NEWAVE programme will develop a unique trans- and interdisciplinary training for 15 competitively selected early stage researchers (ESRs) which will be enrolled in the different host  Universities of the network. The NEWAVE project fosters the integration of social and hydrological sciences and will equip the young researchers with a variety of methods and skills, in order to creatively tackle current and future water governance challenges. “The ESRs and partners will transform our understanding of global water challenges and explore innovative governance pathways”, said Prof. Dustin Garrick, NEWAVE Director of Research. “The diversity of the network is its strength, bringing together world-class researchers with the next generation to chart a common agenda. The kick-off meeting confirmed that we have a special opportunity to make breakthroughs that would be impossible without working together”.

Kick-off meeting activities

The activities conducted during the kick-off meeting engaged all the participants in discussions on the implementation phases of the project. The Research Executive Agency project officers presented best practices of Innovative Training Networks projects implementation; the Network communication, dissemination and outreach strategies were illustrated; the Network budget and financial management architecture was discussed and approved; a timeline and plan for ESRs recruitment was confirmed; key programming aspects addressed such as the organization of the future training activities and events; the project deliverables and milestones programming were reviewed.  The meeting revealed particularly important as it gave the chance to the participants of the network to have a clear understanding of timelines and responsibilities and to lay strong foundations for effective communication and collaboration.

NEWAVE Network participants during the project's Kick-off Meeting
NEWAVE Network participants during the project's Kick-off Meeting

About NEWAVE:  

NEWAVE is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network (ITN) on the ‘Next Water Governance’. The aim of the project is to equip a new generation of future water governance leaders with fundamental knowledge, advanced skills, and adequate tools to address current and future water governance challenges. The exceptional and diversified scientific experience of the NEWAVE Consortium, the interdisciplinary approach and the prominence of the partner organisations guarantees the ESRs exposure to the latest scientific concepts and methodologies from fundamental to applied research.

Do you want to be part of NEWAVE?

NEWAVE offers 15 highly skilled candidates, who are in their first four years of research or will graduate soon, the possibility to join this unique opportunity and complete a PhD degree at one of its 10 prestigious host institutions, in collaboration with 19 partner organizations. The various positions are moving between science, policy and practice in order to qualify for successful careers in research, consulting, industry or governance. Moreover,  NEWAVE will offer to external PhD candidates the opportunity to join selected NEWAVE training activities. More information about the training activities will be available soon on the website.

What can you expect from NEWAVE?

ESRs will learn trans- and interdisciplinary skills needed to make significant contributions to both the academic and extra-academic water governance world. Each ESR will be supervised by two academic supervisors and one non-academic co-supervisor. The selected candidates will be primarily located at the host institution but will also have the opportunity to conduct relevant field research in a variety of countries. Candidates will receive a solid and innovative combination of training and practical experience making NEWAVE researchers highly attractive to potential employers in all sectors concerned.

When and where to apply?

Applications for this 3 year ESR/PhD program are open until May 24, 2020 (extended deadline). You can apply via the online application form available at NEWAVE’s website.

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