AquaticPollutants Joint Transnational Call awards funding to eighteen R&I projects

In an unprecedented collaboration, the three Joint Programming Initiatives (JPIs) on Water, Oceans and Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) in collaboration with European Commission are pleased to announce eighteen research and innovation projects on risks posed to human health and the environment by pollutants and pathogens present in the water resources.

Furthermore a Scientific Networking and Transfer Project (in short Transfer Project) will be funded to strengthen the European Research Area (ERA) in the field of clean and healthy aquatic ecosystems, to fund research and development of methods for supporting knowledge transfer, scientific networking and public engagement as well as to support networking of the eighteen scientific projects of AquaticPollutants.

The eighteen projects were selected for funding in response to the Aquatic Pollutants joint call on risks posed to human health and the environment by pollutants and pathogens present in the water resources. In total the projects have 103 applicants involved and will be awarded with 20M€ in requested funding. The projects revolve around three themes:

1: Measuring – Environmental behaviour of contaminants of emerging concern (CECs), pathogens and antimicrobial resistant bacteria in aquatic ecosystems

2: Evaluating – Risk assessment and management of CECs, pathogens and antimicrobial resistant bacteria from aquatic ecosystems (inland, coastal and marine) to human health and environment

3: Taking Actions – Strategies to reduce CECs, pathogens and antimicrobial resistant bacteria in aquatic ecosystems (inland, coastal and marine)

The list of the selected projects is available here.

After an initial 184 pre-proposals involving 1065 partners were submitted in the first step, the second step closed in November 2020 with a total number of 53 full-proposals submitted including 301 partners. In both steps the proposals were assessed for eligibility by the Call Steering Committee and evaluated by a panel of scientific experts. The projects are about to start in September 2021.

For more information about the Aquatic Pollutants


JPI Oceans:

Water JPI:



The occurrence of pathogens and emerging pollutants in water resources is one of the most serious risks in our environment and is considered a major factor particularly in the degradation of water quality. Anti-microbial resistant organisms and genes are now found widespread throughout the environment and pose a serious emerging threat for human health and well-being. Anti-microbial resistant bacteria enter the aquatic ecosystems through effluents from wastewater treatment plants, hospitals, pharmaceutical production and stock farming including aquaculture.

To reduce or, even better, avoid the input of pollutants and pathogens into the environment, a holistic catchment approach to better understand the ecological and human health effects is necessary. The whole water cycle, from sources through the river basins and eventually, for some of them, to the estuaries and oceans, has to be considered. This approach has to include soil and groundwater transport as well as potential atmospheric pathways that these pollutants may take. The effects on human health, the transport and transmission of harmful substances, in particular those generating anti-microbial resistance, from the freshwater and marine environment to organisms via the food chain also need to be taken into account.

Therefore, the Water JPI, JPI Oceans, JPI AMR and European Commission have jointly developed the ERANet Cofund AquaticPollutants to support and connect their research communities to address these challenges.