Integrated catchment management through SMART Rivers: Indian and UK delegates discuss the way forward

Warwick Workshop UK Update

The IUKWC workshop at the University of Warwick, having been delayed by a day due to unforeseen flight delays from India, had to be squeezed into two days to make up for the lost time. This, however, did not dampen the value and depth of discussions, nor the level of engagement and networking between the delegates.

Led by Mr Ant Parsons from ICE Blue, and Dr Kapil Gupta of the Department of Civil Engineering, IIT Bombay, the workshop aimed to explore and build on existing knowledge and research on integrated catchment management to enhance collaboration and identify pathways to impact (including relevant NERC – MoES Science). The workshop attracted thirty six delegates, including five water-related NGOs/institutes (4 from India and 1 from the UK) and six early-career researchers, including PhD students. The workshop was delivered with the support of partners from the INTCATCH Horizon 2020 project (www.intcatch.eu funded by European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 689341-2), which is demonstrating innovative monitoring solutions for catchments.

In response to the delay in the flight from India, the UK leads organised the UK delegates on 8th May, to discuss critical and common catchment management problems, challenges, and possible solutions that could result in potential funding proposals in collaboration with their Indian colleagues. The workshop began in earnest on the 9th of May, with delegates presenting their work through curtailed talks to ensure there was sufficient time for discussion and for a poster session. On the 10th of May, the delegates were asked to think of specific problems they would like to study further, or they thought needed to be tackled. They were given 1-minute to present their ‘pitch’, after which the delegates split into groups based on the ‘pitch’ they most identified with. Group-work led to draft proposals or ideas for proposals being developed. The entire workshop, therefore, has not only resulted in knowledge being shared, but working groups being developed that can quickly turn around a proposal when the next relevant funding call arises.

The workshop was closed following a discussion on training needs, where the early-career researchers were asked for their ideas going forward. This type of workshop and exposure where students and early-career researchers could freely share, as well as gain from the experience in the room, were considered key training opportunities.

In light of the delays and continually changing agenda, all the delegates must be commended for remaining engaged and considerate; and the leads must be thanked for their quick thinking and flexibility. The workshop outputs, which will include a report and at least one water brief, will be available here: reports (please log in/register to the Open Network); Water Briefs, in the near future.

For more information on the workshop see https://iukwc.org/iukwc-workshop-science-and-innovation-catchment-management (which includes a link to the presentations and posters)

Lead Institutions -

IIT, Mumbai: https://www.civil.iitb.ac.in
Ice Blue: https://www.iceblueedge.co.uk