Innovation for Increased Climate Resilience: Successfully concluding the BRIGAID project
The BRIGAID project created impact by improving the technological and market readiness of 60 solutions to droughts, floods and extreme weather. Ecologic Institute contributed by training 21 innovators on strategic decision-making; developing an online system for remote collaboration; and establishing a Community of Innovation with researchers, practitioners, entrepreneurs and local authorities from Berlin.
The EU is pledging public investment to trigger breakthrough innovations in climate adaptation and disaster risk reduction. It recognises that while innovations could significantly increase Europe's climate resilience, most fail to reach the market. Often, this is due to insufficient consideration of social acceptability, wider environmental impacts, and end-user needs.
BRIGAID aimed to bridge this gap by developing an integrated support program for climate-adaptation innovators. On the technical end, this entailed expert guidance, funding and infrastructure for prototyping and testing their ideas. On the strategic planning end, it included personalized training and infoproducts to build innovators' strategy and communication skills.
BRIGAID also established "Communities of Innovation" across Europe to identify local challenges and drive adaptation action. In Berlin, Ecologic Institute initiated one which ran from July 2019 to March 2020 and focused on the city's resilience to heatwaves and extreme variations in rainfall patterns. The group's work contributed to wider community events including the Global Goals Jam and Climate KIC's Climathon.
Ecologic Institute: Building the strategic skills of climate-adaptation innovators
Ecologic Institute led BRIGAID's strategy support activities, with the Market Analysis Framework (MAF+) as its key feature. The framework is an online collaboration system conceived to train inventors, engineers and scientists to conduct methodical assessments of the market for climate-adaptation solutions. The project team used it to upskill 21 innovators from Albania, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania and Spain. Interdisciplinary BRIGAID research on Europe’s adaptive capacity, hazard potential and exposure to climate-related disasters informed these trainings.
The organizations supported through our training program are all SMEs or university spin-offs. Their innovations ranged from physical infrastructure elements to digital solutions. Some examples are:
- Bluebloqs – a nature-based solution to address heavy precipitation and drought. It is a visible, scalable and customizable solution to collect, treat and retain urban run-off at building, street or neighborhood level. Bluebloqs was designed by Field Factors, a Dutch SME founded in 2016.
- FireAd – an ICT-desk solution that informs forest managers regularly on wildfire risk. The tool generates maps of wildfire (or ignition) risk probability based on the retrieval and analysis of meteorological and drought indices, landscape metrics, and vegetation loads. FireAd was developed by the Centre of Applied Ecology (CEABN), a research unit of the University of Lisbon.
- GM4W – an integrated system that uses low-cost global positioning receivers to gather continuous, local-level water vapour data to predict heavy rainfall events. GM4W was created by Geomatics Research & Development (GReD) srl, a spin-off of the Politecnico di Milano.
Innovators positively evaluate Ecologic Institute's training program and framework
Surveyed innovators found the Market Analysis Framework fit-for-purpose and the BRIGAID training program impactful. Respondents scored the usefulness of the online collaboration system at an average of 4.3 out of 5. They signalled that the personal support from Ecologic Institute helped them to structure their thinking and further develop their strategy. All respondents would recommend the program to others.
Ensuring life beyond BRIGAID: Relaunching the Market Analysis Framework
The BRIGAID Market Analysis Framework remains freely open to climate-adaptation innovators wanting to develop their strategic skills. Building on user feedback, Ecologic Institute has relaunched the online collaboration system to improve its functionality and usability beyond BRIGAID. Its continued exploitation is now secured via two new Horizon 2020 projects (Digital Water City and BE-Rural). These projects use the system to assess digital water solutions and devise regional bioeconomy strategies, respectively. Access the revamped tool here.
Register for the BRIGAID final conference
The BRIGAID final conference on climate-disaster resilience and innovation, which is free of charge, is planned to take place on the 25 and 26 June 2020 in Delft (the Netherlands). For more information, please visit the Brigaid final conference website.