Water and Innovation: Ecologic Institute at the SWITCH-ON Final Conference and EIP Water Conference
In the final week of September, Ecologic Institute and its partners in the FP7 Research Project SWITCH-ON were in Porto (Portugal) to celebrate the final General Assembly of the project and showcase its results at the EIP Water Conference of the European Commission.
Highlighted by the European Commission as one of the success stories of the Decade in Earth Observation Research and Innovation, SWITCH-ON (Sharing Water-related Information to Tackle CHanges in the Hydrosphere - for Operational Needs) came to a close in October 2017 after four years of fruitful collaboration. The General Assembly in Porto was a final opportunity for consortium members to discuss the project’s last open tasks, its outcomes and outputs. A key focus of the assembly was to ensure the impact, exploitation and sustainability of the project’s results.
SWITCH-ON has explored and exploited the potential of open environmental data to address water challenges. As well as furthering collaborative hydrological water research, a key output of the project has been the development of fourteen new water-focussed online tools and applications that re-purpose open environmental data into commercial products and services. Ecologic Institute led the assessment of new markets and societal impacts for such products and services and supported their innovators through personalised consultancy on business development issues. Ecologic Insti-tute also investigated European policy- and decision-makers' perceptions of open environmental data products and services, uncovering technical, financing, and awareness and ability barriers.
The two-day EIP Water Conference brought together 1252 attendees to discuss innovative solutions to water problems in the EU and abroad. This provided an excellent opportunity to present SWITCH-ON’s results to a broad audience of regulators, local and international political leaders, researchers, innovators, SMEs, entrepreneurs, and investors. On day one, a talk on how SWITCH-ON has contributed to make open innovation a reality was presented on the main stage (slides available online). Consortium members hosted a booth in the EIP Water Exhibition to share project results with conference participants, which also offered a site for the SWITCH-ON innovators to pitch their products and services to potential clients.
Given the conference's broad focus on water, innovation, agriculture, science, and policy, it also offered access to contacts and networks related to Ecologic Institute’s broader research programme. Aside from SWITCH-ON, a number of research projects where Ecologic Institute takes part were also represented, including BRIGAID, AQUACROSS, and DESSIN.