Report of the 1st FowariM Summer School
FOWARIM’s first summer school was implemented in Malta at the MCAST Institute from September 4th to 7th, 2017.
The course was attended by 15 speakers and about 30 students and it has been broadcasted live on streaming during all days. During the courses, FOWARIM’s social pages have been continually updated, to provide a seamless stream of contents, both pictures and quotes.
The social contents have been shared and re-launched by participants and external observers, which contributed greatly to the dissemination. The hashtag #fowarimsummerschool was the “theme sign” of the event; it was used for all the communications on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
On September 4th, the Summer School was opened by Marco Dimech (Ministry for Sustainable Development, the Environment and Climate Change, Malta) with an overview to the agricultural sector in Malta as strategic priorities for sustainable development.
Malcolm Borg, FOWARIM project Coordinator and Deputy Director at Institute of Applied Sciences at Malta College of Arts, Science & Technology, illustrated the objectives and the general achievements of FOWARIM H2020 project
After this general introduction, the school entered more scientific themes and practical aspects of water resource.
The lesson of Durk Krol, Executive Managing Director at Water Supply and Sanitation Technology Platform “WssTP” (Brussels, Belgium), provided an overview of the European Water Platform and gave examples of research projects supported and/or inspired by the European Water Technology Platform. The lesson was an interesting overview of integrate solutions for rural end-user needs.
Richard Tavares, International Scientific Project Manager at Water Joint Programming Initiative, JPI, (Paris, France), talked about the activities of the Joint Programming Initiatives FACCE, Water on water and agriculture challenges. He announced that a new call will be open in September 2017 and there will be others in 2018.
After that, it was the turn of Dr Lola Rey, Lecturer in Water Policy and Economics, Cranfield Water Science Institute (Cranfield, UK). She addressed the audience on the topics of economic instruments, water charges, subsidies and trading, which are contributing to solve water allocation issues in different contexts and which are very important for water management in agriculture.
The afternoon session had the contribution of Dr. Kevin Gatt, Lecturer at the University of Malta, who talked about Water Governance as a “foundation” for Sustainable Water Resources Management. The aim, he said, is: “to understand what water governance is about, in order to put forward a model for its implementation”.
Manuel Sapiano, Chief Tecnical Officer at Energy and Water Agency (Luqa, Malta) introduced the analysis of Malta’s 2nd Water Catchment Management Plan (WCMP) and identified aspects of interest to the agricultural sector. “Such aspects – he said – will tackle issues such as water demand and availability assessments, water resources status assessments“. He underlined the needs of increased synergies between the WCMP and the development of strategic plans for the agricultural sector.
A general overview on Water Research Infrastructure in Malta was presented by Dr. Alex Rizzo, Head of University College at Malta College of Arts, Science & Technology (Paola, Malta), followed by “New Water” description made by Stephan Zammit, Professional at Water Services Corporation (Luqa, Malta).
The 2nd Day of the Summer school started with the presentation of Egle Juospaityte, Project Manager of Europe for Business Ltd. Egle described the e-learning course developed under the FOWARIM project and related to water management and research. Dedicated resources for every lesson, summaries, interactive material, course contents for each module; everything can be found on the e-learning platform “Moodle” (available at the following link: http://www.fowarim.eu/moodle/). For example, all the presentations and videos of the FOWARIM Summer School are uploaded there.
The 2nd lesson of the day was carried out by Dr. David Haro Monteagudo, research fellow in agriculture management at Cranfield University. He spoked about drought risk indicators and monitoring for agriculture. Then he introduced an OPEN DISCUSSION for the definition of drought. His own definition is: “Drought is an emergent risk to agriculture, due to different types of drought: meteorological, hydrological, agricultural, socio-economic. There is a need to integrate drought indicators in agribusiness decision making”.
Then, it was the turn of Dr. Lucila Candela, Professor at the Technical University of Catalonia (Barcelona, Spain), specialist in water resources. During her presentation, she illustrated several examples of water reuse, which is becoming increasingly important all over the world. The objective of water reuse is to increase the available water resources, also through non-conventional water. Today, the water reuse is part of the Water Framework Directive (EC, 2016), and the European Union is working on a new regulation.
In the afternoon, students were brought to visit the “MCAST Water Research and Training Centre”, a professional and high-level laboratory that focuses its activity on the issues of water quality, water systems control, and water efficiency and innovation.
The first speaker of the 3rd day was Dr. Philippe Ker Rault, MENA Africa Coordinator at Wageningen University (The Netherlands), who presented a lesson focused on the need to live together respecting nature, considering socio-economical global aspects and taking into account the relation between water, energy and food. Following Dr. Ker Rault’s speech, there are 3 priorities for green growth: different business, different policy and different paradigm. He thinks that we have to “redefine problems, rephrase solutions, find new codes to disseminate and build trust“.
The second lesson of the day was carried out by Daniela D’Agostino, PhD, Scientific Consultant and Researcher at CIHEAM-Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Bari (Italy), about the application of hydrological modeling tool in a semi-arid region for agricultural water management. “The concept of water balance is one of the greatest advances in understanding the response of crops in water limited environments”. – she explained during the lecture – “Water balance components can be quantified through field experiments but it is very expensive in terms of time and money. Hence simulation models are being increasingly used in soil-water-crop relationship research”.
How do you communicate a scientific project? That was the focus of the presentation carried out in the afternoon by Valentina Zoccali (Communications expert of European Policies) and Paolo Nouvion (Communications consultant) from ID Consulting (Brussels, Belgium). Tips to carry our effective scientific communications were showed: “Just as in the relay race, cooperation and team effort are needed in communication” said Paolo Nouvion. Valentina Zoccali reminded that “Science communication needs planning and monitoring, but also creativity and stories“. At the end of the presentation, students were invited to write their own story to communicate their experience at the Summer School to a wider audience.
The 4th and last day of the Summer School started with the presentation of Nicola Tucci, Vice-President at INNOLABS Srl (Italy). His presentation was focused on business models and H2020 proposals. Nicola asked the students to prepare their own proposal and then evaluated it. “Business model canvas is a strategic management. H2020 proposals canvas is a proposal starting from business model canvas.”
During the second part of the day all students presented their work. Every presentation was followed by a discussion time with a session of questions and answers that has seen the participation of external participants in remote: Mr. Leonardo Piccinetti, Europe for Business, (London, UK); and Anna Balzarini, ID Consulting, (Brussels, Belgium).
The 1st FOWARIM Summer School was a good outreach activity for water management in agriculture, with the participation of students highly interested and skilled on the topic. All the courses had a positive inputs and provided important feedbacks for the development of the future activities of FOWARIM.