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Water innovation in action: €50 million for new research projects

Biotechnology to treat heavy metal pollution in waste water; new 'Aquaponic' systems combining aquaculture and hydroponics in agricultural production; smarter management of water distribution networks. These are just three of 11 new projects approved for EU research funding, aiming to promote innovative solutions for water-related challenges (see MEMO/14/34). The projects involve 179 partners from research organisations and private companies (including more than 70 SMEs), across 19 European countries.

European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Mire Geoghegan-Quinn said: "Water is probably our most precious resource and managing it is one of our greatest challenges. These projects will help find innovative solutions to some of today's most pressing problems, such as maintaining water quality and tackling water scarcity."

The 50 million in funding comes from the 2013 'Environment' call of the EU's Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7). This brings total funding for water-related projects under FP7 (2007 to 2013) to more than 1 billion.

Securing safe and plentiful water supplies will remain a key objective under Horizon 2020, the new EU research and innovation funding programme launched on Jan. 1. Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn added: "Horizon 2020 is more than any previous EU research programme focused on research issues that make a real difference in people's lives. At the same time, the goal is to develop technologies that also create new market opportunities for industry."