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EU research project will improve the exploitation of open access data for water sectors

Press release issued: 2 October 2013

A collaborative European research project that includes researchers from the University of Bristol aims to tackle water concerns by exploring and exploiting the significant and currently insufficiently used potential of open data thanks to funding of €6 million by the European Commission.

Professors Thorsten Wagener and Dawei Han from the Department of Civil Engineering and Professor Jim Freer from the School of Geographical Sciences are members of the three-year project, called SWITCH-ON (Sharing Water-related Information to Tackle Changes in the Hydrosphere - for Operational Needs).

Water information is highly sought after by a wide range of end users, both within government and business as well as by the public.  Water touches virtually all social and environmental areas and there is multidisciplinary knowledge in this field.

Thorsten Wagener, Professor of Water and Environmental Engineering and a member of the Cabot Institute at the University of Bristol, said: “New water information and knowledge can lead to more efficient use of environmental services and better handling of environmental problems, including those caused by climate and environmental change.”

SWITCH-ON will show the benefits achieved through the whole process chain by re-purposing (reusing under a different context) open data products into more dedicated and refined water products, which are of high value and have a broad impact on society.

The University of Bristol is a key partner in the project and will be responsible for developing a new approach to integrated catchment management using a new generation of more detailed hydrological models linked to open data.

JBA Trust, a UK engineering consultant, will work closely with Bristol to develop a business case for the tools developed as part of the scientific research.

The research project is led by the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Service (SMHI) with collaborative partners from Austria, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the UK.

SWITCH-ON is funded from 2013 to 2016 by the EU 7th Framework Programme under the specific topic ‘Exploiting the European Open Data Strategy to mobilise the use of environmental data and information’.

Further information

The Cabot Institute

The Cabot Institute at the University of Bristol carries out fundamental and responsive research on risks and uncertainties in a changing environment. Our interests include natural hazards, food and energy security, resilience and governance, and human impacts on the environment. Our research fuses rigorous statistical and numerical modelling with a deep understanding of interconnected social, environmental and engineered systems – past, present and future. We seek to engage wider society – listening to, exploring with, and challenging our stakeholders to develop a shared response to twenty-first century challenges.

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