Focus - England

The Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) Department of the Government of the United Kingdom pursues global excellence in science and research to help the UK maintain economic prosperity and address key global and domestic challenges, such as climate change and security. Innovation helps BIS deal with complex challenges and drive growth by improving productivity and R&D. The BIS Department coordinates scientific efforts in the country. Responsibilities for water related research are also distributed across devolved governments (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) and between different departmental interests (e.g. environment, international development). The largest funders of water research are the Research Councils and The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). Each year the Research Councils invest around 3,500 M€ in research covering the full spectrum of academic disciplines from the medical and biological sciences to astronomy, physics, chemistry and engineering, social sciences, economics, environmental sciences and the arts and humanities. The focus is on excellence with impact. While each of the seven Research Councils is to some extent involved in water research, some of them are highlighted below.

TheNatural Environment Research Council (NERC) mission is to gather and apply knowledge, improve understanding and predict the behaviour of the natural environment and its resources. It was established in 1965. NERC funds and manages research and training in earth system science, advancing knowledge of planet Earth as a complex, interacting system. Its work covers the full range of atmospheric, earth, terrestrial and aquatic sciences.  Current research programs most related to this JPI include: Changing Water Cycle (€12m over 4 years 2011-17); Storm Risk Mitigation  (€6m over 5 years 2010-15) and the Water Security Knowledge Exchange Programme (1.5€ over three years 2011-14). New research programmes related to flood and drought extremes are also just beginning.
The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) funds research and training in engineering and the physical sciences, investing around 600 M€/yr in a broad range of subjects. EPSRC operates to meet the needs of industry and society by working in partnership with universities to invest in people and scientific discovery and innovation. Their research programs most related to this JPI include: water system resilience; the waste, water and land management cluster; the Water for All grand challenge; and cold water cleaning.
The human dimensions to water use are addressed by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), water use in agriculture and biotechnological aspects are addressed by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), while the health aspects are addressed by the Medical Research Council (MRC).
DEFRA makes policy and legislation, and works with others to deliver policies in areas such as: the natural environment, biodiversity, plants and animals; sustainable development and the green economy; food, farming and fisheries; flood and coastal erosion risk management; and environmental protection and pollution control. DEFRA funds a large number of research projects every year. Projects are funded in a number of ways, including competitive calls for proposals and through partnership with others. Water-related research is carried out under a number of different programmes within the Department and wider DEFRA “family” (including the Environment Agency and Natural England). The Water Availability and Quality Programme delivers the Government’s policy priorities in the areas of water quality and supply. The Drinking Water Inspectorate R&D Programme provides credible and authoritative information on the health aspects of drinking water quality to ensure that standards and regulations protect public health. The Food and Farming Group funds a significant R&D programme on water quality and use in farming, through the Sustainable Water Management Programme. The Department also funds a significant Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management R&D programme.
Regulation of the water environment lies primarily with the  Environment Agency for England (EA), Natural Resources Wales (NRW), Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) in Scotlandand Department for the Environment in Northern Ireland.
The UK Water Research and Innovation Partnership (UKWRIP) brings together representatives of industry, regulation, policy and research to facilitate the co-ordination and exchange of information relating to UK water research and innovation. The goals are to improve UK and global water security, encourage innovation and increase the uptake of UK research by business and other users. UKWRIP has a number of action groups which work on targeted time-limited tasks. The groups focus on different aspects of water, including agricultural use, urban water management, sanitation and health, natural hazards and climate change.

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published on 2015/02/10 09:36:41 GMT+0 last modified 2018-07-16T12:37:16+00:00