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DAREnet stands for ‘Danube river region Resilience Exchange Network’ and is a practitioner network which aims to strengthen flood resilience in the EU Danube River Region. The transnational, multi-disciplinary network brings together a unique combination of renowned institutions and players in flood management and civil protection in order to deepen and broaden the research, development and innovation related collaboration in the field of flood management. The DAREnet project, which started on September 1, 2017, runs for five years and is supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme with €3.5 million.
Between 2002 and 2014 seven major floods occurred in the Danube River basin which cost the lives of dozens of people and caused several billion Euro of damage. In 2010 alone, one of the most severe floods affected mainly the central and eastern parts of the basin and caused 35 casualties and generated total damages estimated at €2 billion. On top to that, the magnitude of the floods required the mobilisation of more than 100,000 responders in Slovakia and Hungary to ensure flood mitigation and the evacuation of the affected population. As a result of climate change, it is assumed that the general flood risk for the Danube River Region will increase further in the future. With this risk, the risk of further casualties and economic damage is rising, too. This is where the DAREnet projects steps in and seeks to increase the flood resilience of the Danube Region countries.
Flood practitioners will have to adapt fast to the increasing flood risk as well as keeping pace with an ever faster changing society as an aging population and increasing urbanisation makes their work more challenging. In this context, research, development and innovation (RDI) become even more key-drivers for an improved performance and effectiveness of flood response across borders and disciplines. Innovations driven by the practitioners themselves are needed in order to enhance flood mitigation and response throughout the entire region. DAREnet will enable flood management practitioners in the Danube River Region to identify and analyse by and for themselves relevant innovation gaps and translate them into a joint innovation strategy to improve flood resilience in the future.
“DAREnet is a wonderful opportunity for all colleagues from disaster and civil protection to network, to exchange ideas and good practices and to formulate future needs – all of which are formulated in the project’s RDI Roadmap,” says Gerry Foitik, Federal Commander in charge of the Austrian Red Cross. The DAREnet RDI Roadmap is the result of an iterative process of identifying, assessing and prioritising promising innovation opportunities to cope with the main environmental and societal challenges of the Danube River Region. It maps RDI requirements and gaps and emerged from a broad practitioner/expert dialogue and the regular consultation of competent national disaster management authorities.
The roadmap provides a well-balanced RDI strategy and programme which reflects both the needs on the ground and RDI policies. It also provides concrete perspectives for the further development, industrialisation and uptake of innovations of highest relevance for practitioners. The roadmap will further be a contribution to support current or planned standardisation activities in the field of civil protection. The roadmap therewith builds a unique portfolio of joint innovation concepts for the Danube River Region.
DAREnet is, however, not only about defining research, development and innovation needs, it is also about seeding and incubating concrete innovation initiatives and to give them chance to find the support and resources required to realise them. These initiatives will grow on the basis of the DAREnet RDI Roadmap. “DAREnet offers a unique opportunity to bring together all civil protection practitioner organisations in the Danube River Region and to enable the exchange between them. Together, we want to identify the best and most innovative solutions and put them into practice,” says DAREnet Coordinator Christian J Illing of the German Federal Agency for Technical Relief. The lead authors of these initiatives will be the practitioners, formulating and developing their ideas with the support of the DAREnet network infrastructure. DAREnet calls all practitioners in the region to launch their own or join ongoing initiatives. The concept of the calls for practitioner initiatives will be introduced at the DAREnet Annual Practitioner Forum in Budapest in March and will be launched shortly after the event in spring 2019.
Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever with nearly €80 billion of funding available over seven years (2014 to 2020) – in addition to the private investment that this money will attract. It promises more breakthroughs, discoveries and world-firsts by taking great ideas from the lab to the market. The EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation will be complemented by further measures to complete and further develop the European Research Area.
These measures will aim at breaking down barriers to create a genuine single market for knowledge, research and innovation.
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