The WatShop is led by the Department of Civil, Environmental, Architectural Engineering and Mathematics of the University of Brescia in Italy. Its aim is to support active cooperation among civil society, public and private research institutes and companies, in order to build a smarter and more efficient system for the management of water in the current and future climate. WatShop seeks to demonstrate the benefits of community-based participatory research, and how multi-stakeholder collaboration in the research process can play a key role in achieving effective results.
The WatShop is run by the Department of Civil, Environmental, Architectural Engineering and Mathematics of the University of Brescia.
The Science Shop currently involves the following staff:
- Prof. Giovanna Grossi – Coordinator
- Dott. Francesca Barisani – Manager
- Ing. Francesca Berteni – Researcher
- Prof. Stefano Barontini – Researcher
- Prof. Roberto Ranzi – Supervisor
The Science Shop is now inviting associations/companies/NGOs/civil society to submit ideas for research projects dealing with “Sustainable water resources management, control and consumption in a changing climate”. Starting from an initial idea or problem, organisations will be invited to develop a research project together with the Science Shop.
Researchers, PhD and master students will undertake the research projects, led by academic supervisors. Costs to develop the Science Shop projects will be limited thanks to the services and technical support provided by the University, in support of its three missions (education, research and outreach). Students may get credit points and professors or researchers can collect useful material for scientific publications. Nevertheless funding may be required to develop more complex activities. Applications will then be sent to local, national or international organisations, depending on the objective of the project, if it is not funded by the stakeholder proposing it. Private citizens, civil society organisations, associations, NGOs or companies that submit the project idea will then be actively involved in the research process, playing an important role in finding a shared solution to the problem.
Activity to date
Activity has been focused on developing a network of partners and raising awareness of the Science Shop concept amongst civil society organisations working with water management issues. WatShop has participated in a number of water-related raising awareness events:
- 21 February 2019: “Quanto costa l’acqua?” (How much does the water cost?). An informal meeting on the cost of water, in cooperation with the Municipality of Brescia.
- 22 March 2019: “Acqua, irrigazione e cambiamento climatico” (Water, irrigation and climate change). An informal meeting open to citizens held at Ambiente Parco on World Water Day 2019. The meeting was followed by the presentation of the exhibition “Tecniche irrigue in condizioni di scarsità idrica” (Irrigation techniques in conditions of water scarcity). The exhibition is authored by students, researchers and research assistants of University of Brescia.
- 1 June 2019: “Acqua e cambiamenti climatici” (Water and climate change). An informal meeting open to citizens, in cooperation with the water service management company “Acque Bresciane” and the Municipality of Trenzano (BS). The meeting was followed by the presentation of the exhibition “Tecniche irrigue in condizioni di scarsità idrica” (Irrigation techniques in conditions of water scarcity).
- 25 October 2019: Students of the University of Brescia were involved in activities relating to climate change on Global Climathon Day.
- 28 October 2019: Watshop took part to the “Drinkable Rivers” project, a citizen science project promoted by WaterLab. Master students and citizens were involved.
The WatShop has also signed agreements with a number of stakeholders, which have committed to contribute to WatSshop’s activities; by suggesting new research ideas, sharing knowledge and expertise, and participating in initiatives of interest. These stakeholders include:
- CSMT – Brescia Technological Center
- Centro Studi Idraulica Urbana
- Associazione Comuni Virtuosi
- Municipality of Brescia
- Ambiente Parco Social Enterprise
- Acque Bresciane – Water Service Manager in the Province of Brescia
- Intermediu Bucuresti Science Shop
In addition, WatShop has been working with a number of partners to submit EU project proposals on the theme of water management, and it is hoped that these will provide funding for certain Science Shop research projects in the future.
A WatShop website https://www.watshop.it/EN/ has been developed with an online form to allow associations/companies/NGOs/civil society to “Send Us Your Idea” for research projects. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages for WatShop have also been created (see below).
WatShop and the University of Brescia will host the SciShops Final Symposium on 30-31 January 2020.
Forthcoming activities will include science cafes, co-creation events and workshops focusing on specific aspects of the science shop theme (water, climate, floods, droughts, water saving, water supply, irrigation, hydroelectric power production, water reuse). Some of these activities will be organised in cooperation with the Municipality of Brescia and/or corps of professionals.
High school students will be possibly engaged in 1-week stages.
Young citizens (16-26 years old) will be engaged in a project addressing communication efficiency and promoting debate among them in cooperation with AmbienteParco. Watshop will take care of leading the activities dealing with ‘water’.
In the longer term, WatShop has the following objectives:
- To submit at least 5 new EU, national and regional project proposals on sustainable water resources management per year
- To organise/host/support at least 4 awareness raising events per year
- To sign at least 5 new partnership agreements per year
- To research issues raised by the civil society (at least 5 projects per year)
Prof. Giovanna Grossi