The young European water professionals had initiated training online, and in the week of 25 – 29 September, this newest EJWP group 5 gathered live in Croatia for the first time in collaborative sessions on leadership training, projects and local knowledge.
The iMERMAID Horizon Europe project also joined the hybrid workshop “Creating New Impact Driven Opportunities” at the University of Split in Croatia on 29 September, as part of the Training Week. The week was hosted by partner organization, the University of Zagreb, for both the 4th and new 5th EJWP groups, along with EU-funded project participation.
“The feeling of collaboration and development was instant from the training week. It has given me a lot linked with personal development but also linked with networking and knowledge transfer and now that strengthens the impact of work completed,” said Victoria (Tori) Collier, with Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water in Wales, participant in the new EJWP 5 group.
iMERMAID aims to improve water quality in the Mediterranean Sea by reducing chemical pollution in its waters. The project aims to develop, deploy and demonstrate advanced, reproducible solutions to prevent, monitor, and remedy toxic chemical pollution in the Mediterranean sea basin, in compliance with the European Zero Pollution Action Plan, the Convention for the protection of the Mediterranean sea against pollution and the Chemical Strategy for Sustainability, 2030 Climate Target Plan.
This was the first iMERMAID gathering following the June 2023 launch, and representatives from the project joined in with the EJWP groups for the Training Week experience. Instruction included Master Classes on the local water ecosystem, with focus on the karst ecosystem of Croatia and the National Park Krka. Field excursions during the week took participants up close to the natural resources and charm of the region.
Training highlights during the week for EWJP groups and iMERMAID participants included:
- personal leadership,
- reflections on personal/professional choices and the drivers of motivation
- interactive “voice” dialogues in a range of professional situations
- and “walking” through plans for the coming years.
The iMERMAID group’s experience was enhanced by synergies with other EU projects and actors during the week and in the workshop. These included the WatNex project, and the EJWP groups 4 – 5 members affiliated with institutions outside of the iMERMAID consortium, including the University of Zagreb.
H2O People, the parent organization of EJWP, is a project partner and work package leader on societal impact for iMERMAID. Among the consortium activities, H2O-People is also responsible for creating and implementing a capacity development programme, based on the principles and format of EJWP.
The aim of the societal impact is to provide a toolkit, aiming at capturing contributions of the project for a diversified range of stakeholders. Among the objectives of the work package is to influence the social perceptions and behavior of key actors toward marine pollution. The challenge relates to the change of consumers’ use of products that increase contaminants of emerging concern (CoEC). The work package will also monitor impact over time through using social media platforms and campaigns focusing on new knowledge and good practices, along with assessing the new state of affairs after dissemination of knowledge gained.
The project comprises 26 organizational partners from 14 countries, working in research, innovation, and industry. ITCL Technology Centre is the coordinating organization, and the project is supported by CINEA – the European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency.