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News article3 April 2024Joint Research Centre2 min read

Exploring Water Resilience with Labs across the EU

 A design-driven, participatory initiative

EU Policy Lab

What we are doing

In an exciting collaboration between the Joint Research Centre and the Directorate-General for Environment, the EU Policy Lab Water Resilience Experiment is exploring different approaches on this complex policy issue. This design-driven participatory initiative aims to integrate scientific evidence and knowledge from citizens, the media, stakeholders, and local initiatives related to water to inform innovative policymaking at the European Commission.  

Over the course of one year, this project focuses on collective intelligence, participatory sense-making and moving between systemic and local insights. What sets this initiative apart, is its collaboration with five participant labs from various Member States. Each lab brings a different perspective and set of experiences to the table, helping us bridge the gap between multiple layers of insights on water resilience back to the Commission, particularly their capacities, capabilities and resources to manage a multitude of responsibilities, interlinking the levels of water governance (municipal, regional, national, EU). 

The Participant Labs

EU Policy Lab

Our 5 partner labs, selected following a call for interest, bring in a range of experiences, format and scale: NGO Urbani Separe (HR), Water Valley Denmark (DK), Rio Neiva, Neiva Community Lab (PT), Design Policy Lab, Politecnico di Milano (IT) and Co-Atelier Viktorija, Vilis & Co (LT). 

Each Lab has been invited to identify and explore water-related topics through a participatory approach involving citizens, local communities, and key stakeholders. What we want above all, is to understand local considerations specific to the Member States' regions, communities, water sources and infrastructures, and feed them back into the discussion at EU Level. Their research will cover a range of topics, including the food-water nexus, revitalization of rivers, and effective governance to foster innovation and community engagement in local interventions. Through this multi-country and multi-situation research project, we are aiming to better frame the maturity of the system for the scale of the challenge Member States are going to have in the future. 

EU Policy Lab

What's next

Thanks to the local, regional or national perspective of our partner labs, as the EU Policy Lab, we will be able to use these crucial insights to run internal sessions with policy makers reflecting on the Member States' level learnings and preparedness regarding different aspects of water resilience. The insights will contribute directly to the discussion on current and future policy interventions at Commission level. 

The Water Resilience Experiment is not only exploring participatory research on water resilience, but is also experimenting on a more collaborative and innovative approach to policymaking with Member States. With the potential to improve the way water-related policies are developed, this initiative is one to watch for design professionals and policy makers alike. 

Find out more


Publication date
3 April 2024
Joint Research Centre
Directorate-General for Environment
EU Policy Lab tags