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Water Science Network for the future

The theme of water is central to many research projects relating to climate change, the growing global population, energy supply and health matters. The main focus lies on improving water quality and access to water, and ensuring sustainable water resources management, both on a regional level and worldwide. In the new portfolio theme Helmholtz Water Science Network, five Helmholtz Centres are working together with numerous university partners to contribute to solving these major challenges. The Helmholtz Association will provide over €21 million in funding for the project until 2015.

"There is already great scientific expertise in the field of water research in Europe," says Prof. Jürgen Mlynek, president of the Helmholtz Association. "But we need to create further forms of strategic cooperation with scientific networks. Water research needs to take a more systemic approach in the future in order to pool existing know-how and resources. By establishing the Helmholtz Water Science Network, the Helmholtz Association is assuming a key role in helping German science consolidate its leading position in the field of water research, which is of such importance for the future."

Helmholtz Association boosts research in key areas The funding provided by the Joint Initiative for Research and Innovation will enable the Helmholtz Association to drive progress in water research along with strong university partners. Together, they will support long-term research on the following key topics:

~ Documenting hydrological and material cycles on a regional scale ~ Creating integrated observation and exploration concepts to document long-term trends and developments ~ Developing models and integrating data for large-scale, long-term prognoses ~ Analysing the impact of global change on water resources; developing scenarios ~ New forms of sustainable water resources management ~ Developing strategies for alleviating water shortages in the circum-Mediterranean region

These thematic alliances will enable urgently needed scientific foundations, modelling approaches, monitoring concepts, technologies and political instruments to be developed. Thus the Helmholtz Water Science Network is making an important contribution to improving water resources management in an ever changing world with ever greater demands on water resources.

Partners in the Helmholtz Water Science Network Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ (spokesman Prof. Georg Teutsch) Forschungszentrum Jülich Helmholtz Zentrum München - German Research Center for Environmental Health Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) Helmholtz Centre Potsdam - GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences

TU Dresden Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen RWTH Aachen University University of Bonn University of Cologne Technische Universität München University of Bayreuth KIT (university area) University of Potsdam

Background: The portfolio process in the Helmholtz Association Within the Joint Initiative for Research and Innovation, the German federal government increased annual funding for research organisations to enable them to address issues of direct relevance to the future of society, promote talented young scientists, and make research in Germany even more competitive and productive. The Helmholtz Association is using part of these additional funds to finance a number of portfolio themes that a panel of experts from all the Helmholtz Centres had identified as particularly promising during a comprehensive evaluation process. The Association's university partners will benefit from the increased funding as well, and from the next funding period, work on the portfolio themes will be continued within regular research programmes.

Further information: <http://www.helmholtz.de/en/research/portfolioprozess/>

The Helmholtz Association contributes to solving major challenges facing society, science and the economy with top scientific achievements in six research fields: Energy, Earth and Environment, Health, Key Technologies, Structure of Matter, Aeronautics, Space and Transport. With 31,000 employees in 17 research centres and an annual budget of approximately €3.3 billion, the Helmholtz Association is Germany's largest scientific organisation. Its work follows in the tradition of the great natural scientist Hermann von Helmholtz (1821-1894).

idw :: 22.11.2011