COVID-19 pandemic forced the water to digitalize. But water always finds its way.
The OPTAIN project conducted its kick-off meeting from September 8th to 10th, 2020 with 66 participants from 21 partners organizations.
Due to the pandemic COVID-19 crisis, the meeting was decided to be held partly virtually (via WebEx) and live at the UFZ conference venue in Leipzig.
Three days meeting was devoted to discussing the objectives, expectation and expected results to be achieved during the next five years. Roles and responsibilities to be carried out were explained by Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, project coordinator, and the leaders of the different work packages. Meeting was opportunity to bring all partners to the same level of understanding how each of the WPs will be implemented, what are the challenges and open issues and to be clear on concrete next steps that are taking place until the next proejct plenary meeting.
Partners welcomed the collaboration with WATERAGI which was presented on one of the sessions. WATERAGRI is a twin proejct funded under the same call by the EU Commission as OPTAIN. The idea of special working groups focusing on different aspects of the NWRMs (NSWRM in general; Actor involvement in research; Indicators; Data; Modelling; Dissemination, Communication and Exploitation; Synthesis and policy recommendations) was presented.
Final day of the meeting was reserved for smaller group discussions dealing with challenges and open issues of the first OPTAIN activities: How to establish and nurture Multi-Actor Reference Groups (MARG) ARG for constructive engagement; How to make Communication and dissemination effective; How to systemize current NSWRM experience and potential; how to beast implement Data collection, harmonization, common working environment, performance indicators and modelling protocols.
In summary, all participating partners appeared highly committed to the project. Kick-off meeting served successfully to all the purposes it was designed for and supported a very smooth start of the project. Strong collaboration networks were established across all 21 partners.