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25th January 2023

Hydro Nation Water Innovation Programme - New funding opportunity through the Energy Technology Partnership

The Hydro Nation Water Innovation Programme provides knowledge exchange to support low carbon Research and Innovation with Scottish Companies in the water industry.

The Scottish Government HydroNation Strategy is committed to making Scotland a 'Hydro Nation' where water resources are developed to bring the maximum benefit to the Scottish economy.

Within the HydroNation Strategy, the HydroNation Water Innovation Programme (HNWIP), funded by the Scottish Government, offers Scottish businesses access to project funding to work with Scottish universities on projects that create products and services that reduce and eliminate carbon emissions in the water supply industry. Businesses can also access a wider portfolio of business support services.

Check out the website Energy Technology Partnership (etp-scotland.ac.uk) for further details and new funding opportunities.

24th January 2023

Save the Date - HNIC World Water Day & CREW Lecture 22nd March 2023

Water splash and people connecting

 

 

SAVE THE DATE

 

22nd March 2023

 

Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC), with live stream.

 

Free hybrid event is hosted by the Hydro Nation International Centre and supported by the Scottish Government and the James Hutton Institute.

 

 

Accelerating Change for a Water Sustainable Future

In December 1992, the United Nations General Assembly declared March 22 as World Water Day, and it has been celebrated annually since 1993. World Water Day 2023 marks an important moment, not only as the 30th anniversary of this observance, but also as the halfway point for the International Decade for Action, “Water for Sustainable Development” 2018-2028. At this crucial time, where we need to reaffirm our collective responsibility to the 2030 Agenda, this conference aims to explore emerging trends and opportunities for water to act as catalyst for accelerating change through intersectoral interactions, and the ways in which policy, research and innovation can come together to safeguard water sustainability and resilience worldwide.

Programme

An exciting programme of events, talks and more is currently being developed.

Registration

Details on how to register in person or online for this unique event will be posted here in the coming days.

19th January 2023

Scotland’s Centre of Expertise for Waters (CREW) joins the OHBP steering group!

OHBP co-founders Rachel Helliwell (CREW), Sharon Pfleger (NHS Highland), Stuart Gibb (Environmental Research Institute-University of the Highlands and Islands), Bess Homer (Scottish Water), and Lindsey Green (SEPA) at the Scottish Environment Business VIBES awards ceremony.
CREW is delighted to announce we are officially a member of the One Health Breakthrough Partnership (OHBP).

The OHBP was founded in 2017 and is a collaboration between scientists, utilities, regulators, public health specialists and policymakers, working together to tackle the interconnected challenges impacting the health of humans, nature and the environment. OHBP aims to sustainably balance and optimise health outcomes for all, leading to global health security and integrity of ecosystems. 

As a Centre of Expertise, CREW will contribute our experience, operating at the science : policy interface, to build upon our foundational research and develop evidence-based policy that delivers improvements to water quality in Scotland and serve as a model worldwide.

The Water Quality and Health theme within the current CREW programme (2022-2027) closely aligns with the OHBP’s strategic objectives and primary focus on addressing pharmaceutical pollution in the environment. CREW will use our well-established links with stakeholders across the water sector and research community to raise awareness of pharmaceutical pollution and to promote positive action on medicine use and disposal, to reduce the risk of pharmaceutical pollution of Scotland’s water.

9th January 2023

The benefits beavers may bring to Scottish rivers, streams and water resources

Beaver image. Photo credit Tomasz Chmielewski (2012). Available at https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Castor_fiber_vistulanus.jpg

Beavers are well known for their ability to transform the environment through dam building and other activities. This CREW report, based on evidence from 120 studies of beaver populations worldwide, provides an evidence review of the role of beavers in modifying physical processes, and the potential benefits they may bring for Scottish rivers, streams and water resources. Beavers could make important contributions to improving the condition of Scotland’s rivers, helping to improve water supply and quality as well as creating habitat, sequestering carbon and restoring rivers.

Based on the findings of the report, riparian management appraisals should consider the potential for beaver activity to contribute to ecosystem services. However, discussion with landowners and wider societal groups is required to inform such appraisals and to help mitigate local adverse effects of beaver activity. The report conclusions have also contributed to the Implementation Plan of Scotland’s Beaver Strategy 2022-2045. The key findings of the report are summarised in the Policy Note.

The main report and policy note can be found here.

Photo credit Tomasz Chmielewski (2012). Available at https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Castor_fiber_vistulanus.jpg

 

 

20th December 2022

CREW celebrates 10 years since the launch of Scottish Canals and our ongoing partnership

Image of canal and barge boats

CREW celebrates 10 years since Scottish Canals launch as the public body responsible for maximising the benefits of Scotland’s canal network and surrounding environments.

CREW’S partnership with Scottish Canals supports transformation of these amazing assets, promoting sustainable growth, and access to opportunities for health and well-being. Crucially Scotland’s canal network offers solutions to climate change impacts such as managing surface water and sustainable transport routes. CREW’s research theme of ‘Hydrological Extremes, Coasts and Risk Management’ aligns with challenges facing Scottish Canals such as mitigating the impacts of climate driven flooding and soil erosion. Partnership working allows research to be shaped to provide knowledge that enables future management of these assets and to raise awareness of the benefits they provide to communities.    

 

5th December 2022

Calls for proposals live - December 2022

Image of loch at sunset

CREW welcomes applications from Scottish Higher Education Institutes and Research Institutes on two capacity building projects:

CRW2022_03: Mitigating climate change impacts on the water quality of Scottish standing waters

CRW2022_04: Assessing the socio-economic impacts of soil degradation on Scotland's water environment

Call dates: Monday 5th December 2022 - noon Friday 27th January 2023.

Summary details are provided below.

Please follow the links to the project pages for full details.

 

HYDROLOGICAL EXTREMES, COASTS AND RISK MANAGEMENT

CRW2022_03: Mitigating climate change impacts on the water quality of Scottish standing waters

Type of project: Capacity building 

Overview: To examine whether existing management practices are fit for purpose and sufficiently coordinated under a changing climate, or whether changes in policy, and its implementation, may be required to prioritise and steer adaptive responses for ensuring the successful mitigation of current and future climate change impacts.

Budget: up to a maximum of £125,000. 

Call dates: Monday 5th December 2022 - noon Friday 27th January 2023.

Please visit the project page for full details.

 

LAND AND WATER RESOURCE MANAGEMENT

CRW2022_04: Assessing the socio-economic impacts of soil degradation on Scotland's water environment

Type of project: Capacity building

Overview: To develop and apply a method to assess the socio-economic-environmental impacts of soil degradation on Scotland’s land-based businesses and wider economy and society (e.g., impacts on water quality, flooding, climate, and biodiversity).

Budget: up to a maximum of £85,000. 

Call dates: Monday 5th December 2022 - noon Friday 27th January 2023.

Please visit the project page for full details.

 

Further calls for proposals will follow in December 2022/January 2023!

28th November 2022

Call for proposals live - November 2022

Call for proposals November 2022

CREW welcomes applications from Scottish Higher Education Institutes and Research Institutes on two capacity building projects:

CRW2022_01: Developing risk assessment approaches for watch list parameters under the recast Drinking Water Directive

CRW2022_02: The effect of shellfish, kelp and sea grass beds on flood risk and coastal erosion in Scotland

Call dates: Monday 28th November 2022 - noon Wednesday 18th January 2023.

Summary details are provided below.

Please follow the links to the project pages for full details.

 

WATER QUALITY & HEALTH 

CRW2022_01: Developing risk assessment approaches for watch list parameters under the recast Drinking Water Directive

Type of project: Capacity Building

Overview: To develop a risk assessment approach for recast Drinking Water Directive watch list parameters and to inform the monitoring requirements for Beta-estradiol, Nonylphenol and PFAS to validate the approach.

Budget: up to a maximum of £75,000.

Call dates: Monday 28th November 2022 - noon Wednesday 18th January 2023.

Please visit the project page for full details.

 

HYDROLOGICAL EXTREMES, COASTS AND RISK MANAGEMENT

CRW2022_02: The effect of shellfish, kelp and sea grass beds on flood risk and coastal erosion in Scotland

Type of project: Capacity building

Overview: To inform whether shellfish (oyster and/or blue mussel beds), kelp and sea grass should be incorporated into natural flood management in Scotland and whether (and which) existing features should be protected or restored for NFM and coastal erosion mitigation.

Budget: up to a maximum of £100,000. 

Call dates: Monday 28th November 2022 - noon Wednesday 18th January 2023.

Please visit the project page for full details.

 

Further calls for proposals will follow in December 2022!

23rd November 2022

Partnership of researchers secure new UKRI MRC funding to tackle pharmaceutical contamination in Scotland’s waters

Image of pharmacist advising patient
Researchers at the University of Highlands and Island’s Environmental Research Institute, NHS Highland and the University of Nottingham have secured £100,000 of funding to develop and evaluate a framework to incorporate environmental risk into prescribing practices.

The occurrence of pharmaceuticals in the environment, and the risks to aquatic life are well-recognised and occurs worldwide. Pharmaceuticals are introduced to the environment by those taking prescription and 'over the counter' medicines through the excretion of residues into wastewater and when unused medicines are flushed down the toilet/sink instead of being returned to pharmacies.

This 12-month project is in partnership with the James Hutton Institute, Scottish Water, Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and the University of Uppsala. The project builds upon knowledge gained in a recent CREW-funded project: ‘Pharmaceuticals in the Water Environment’ and CREW continue to fund impactful research on water quality and health, read more here. The project will use a novel visualisation tool developed by the One Health Breakthrough Partnership, supported by SEPA, that includes data on medicines detected in Scottish waters and NHS Highland prescribing data to generate new knowledge and to raise awareness of the environmental impact of prescribing and to develop sustainable practices that benefit the NHS, patients and Scotland’s aquatic environment.

 

SARS-CoV-2 monitoring in Scottish wastewater: Variant Detection, FAIR data Outputs and Lessons Learned

computer image of covid virus showing spheres with spikes

The virus that causes Covid-19 disease, SARS-CoV-2, is excreted by infected people into the sewage system and can be detected in wastewater samples. New genetic variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus are emerging, some of which have lead to new waves of infection (Variants of Concern, VoC). Public Health policy need timely data on the prevalence and spread of known variants.

The goal of this project is to develop methods for identifying these new variants to provide real-time data to the Scottish Government and related agencies to monitor new variants and to help control the spread of infection.

To ensure best value is realised from the wastewater monitoring programme, this project will investigate how both technical outputs and organisational learning can be optimised to enhance future collaboration and performance.

Research questions:

Detecting new variants of SARS-CoV-2 virus

  • What primers/assays and technical platforms are already being used to monitor Covid-19 variants in wastewater?
  • What is the most appropriate assay/technical platform which could be used within the existing Scottish wastewater monitoring programme?
  • How should the resulting assay data be analysed and formatted to inform Public Health policy decisions?

Open Research and Lessons learned

  • What questions should be asked to frame a survey to assist in the collection of robust information on lessons learnt?
  • How should the results of the survey be analysed to reliably inform lessons learnt?
  • What can the academic/regulatory/policy sectors do to improve and learn from the experience?

All three elements of this ambitious project aim to provide better evidence of the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic. The project makes several recommendations to inform future pandemic preparedness.

 

Project Objectives

This project builds upon the programme of monitoring for SARS-CoV-2 prevalence in Scottish wastewater with the following research objectives:

1. To develop a method to detect variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in wastewater.

2. To share the outputs from the wastewater monitoring programme by Open Research methods.

3. To conduct a ‘Lessons Learned’ review from the development and management of the programme and to infer any general lessons and recommendations for Scottish Government and its agencies in delivering future, urgent programmes.

Results include:

  • Testing but rejecting PCR-based methods (qPCR, dPCR), optimising a DNA next generation sequencing method.
  • Over 2000 wastewater samples from across Scotland have been screened to monitor the spread of Omicron and then BA.2 variants between November 2021 and March 2022.
  • This method also has potential for analysing multiple pathogens simultaneously. Pilot experiments have commenced to measure influenza virus in wastewater.
1st November 2022

Scottish Science Advisory Council (SSAC) internship opportunity

The Scottish Science Advisory Council (SSAC) has an internship opportunity looking at place-based approaches to adaption.

Deadline for applicants is 7th November 2022. For more information and to apply please see the document below.

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