International Centre for Advanced Studies on River-Sea Systems “DANUBIUS-RI”
DANUBIUS-RI is a Romanian initiative to develop a Pan-European, distributed Research Infrastructure dedicated to the integrative study of river – sea systems and the opportunities and risks they represent to society.
DANUBIUS-RI will provide a unique opportunity to bring together the best existing expertise and facilities in Europe and provide an internationally leading focus to understand, characterize and manage RS systems globally.
- The DANUBIUS-RI project is registered as a major project under the Priority Axis 1 of the Operational Programme ‘Competitiveness’ for the period 2014-2020.
- Additionally, in September 2014 DANUBIUS-RI has been granted the status of Flagship Project for the Danube Region by the European Union Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR) Priority Action 7 (Knowledge based society).
- On October 7, 2014 DANUBIUS-RI project was declared a national major project, by the Romanian government.
DANUBIUS-RI project was submitted for consideration of the ESFRI roadmap in March 2015. It seeks the status of a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) registered in Romania. Political support has been received (March 2015) from eleven countries, with letters of support received from organizations in another 14 countries from four continents.
The Romanian government funded the construction of the first module, which was inaugurated by the National Institute of Research and Development of Biological Sciences, on 23 September 2015.
The research conducted in the first module addresses three main pillars: Life Sciences, Earth Sciences and Socio-Economic sciences, the National Institute of Research and Development of Biological Sciences coordinating the Life Sciences pillar.
Currently, the infrastructure required to investigate these systems while addressing societal needs is generally lacking. DANUBIUS-RI will contribute to a step change in the study of freshwater, wetland, coastal environments and living systems by:
- advancing the sustainable management of river-sea systems for societal benefit;
- understanding the system components critical in providing resilience to rapid environmental change, and the nonlinearity in responses to changes in frequency and magnitude of events upstream and coastal environments;
- developing predictive tools and mitigation strategies for the subsequent physical and biological changes and their potential societal and human health impacts.
The research conducted in the Center will support a variety of investigations, among which we can mention the systems characterization with a focus on origin and evolution of the river-sea systems, the ecosystem assessment and function, pollutants and ecotoxicology, hydrodynamics and sedimentology, environmental changes with a focus on in-situ ecosystem observations, earth and remote-sensing observations, adaptive and sustainable management, risk – assessment, conservation and restoration of disturbed ecosystems, natural resource assessment and evaluation, as well as integrating ecosystem-services and developing scenarios for social and economic development and sustainable use of natural resources.
Physically, DANUBIUS-RI will comprise a Hub, Supersites and Nodes distributed across Europe to optimize the use of existing world leading expertise and facilities and enhance the potential to undertake interdisciplinary research on freshwater – marine systems, and hence understand, characterize and manage these diverse systems across Europe.
The ‘Hub’ is located in Danube Delta, Murighiol, Romania, and it is a gate to the Danube Delta natural laboratory and including research, educational and administrative facilities and playing as the International Centre coordinator. For more details related to first Module of the Hub and current facilities please contact the National Institute of Research and Development of Biological Sciences.
The ‘Supersites’ (there were identified 8 supersites across Europe) are ‘field laboratories’ that embrace the variability between relatively pristine sites (as Danube Delta – a unique habitat, the largest and best preserved of Europe’s deltas) to those impacted to varying degrees by anthropogenic processes (e.g. Thames Estuary). The locations of the supersites are identified in the figure below. They are: the Po Delta-Venice Lagoon Supersite, Nestos Supersite, Thames Estuary Supersite, Ebro-Llobregat Deltaic System Supersite, Szigetköz Supersite and Lake Lunz Supersite.
The ‘Nodes’ will include key facilities spanning observation and analysis across the biological, physical and social sciences The Nodes are organized upon the specificity of research issues to be tackled and will ensure disciplinary rigor and scientific excellence whilst benefiting from an interdisciplinary focus provided by the Supersites. The Observation Node, led by the Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML), will capitalize on the launch of the next generation, operational Earth Observation satellite platforms through the European Copernicus programme, along with the rapidly advancing capability of sensors technologies. The role of the Analysis Node is to ensure consistency in analytical techniques which requires analytical rigor and quality control to enable effective comparison between research groups operating within the same supersites and between the supersites themselves. This node is led by Bundesanstalt für Gewässerkunde (BfG) and provides access to state of the art scientific expertise, laboratories, instrumentation and highly innovative methodologies.
Modeling is one of the major services provided by DANUBIUS-RI, relying on the inputs from the RI Nodes and Supersites. Data collected from the Supersites and with the involvement of the Analysis and Observation Nodes will be integrated in models that simulate specific processes, interpolate between available measurements and carry out forecasts and “what-if” predictions. The leedin Modeling Node is ISMAR-CNR (Italy).
The main aim of the Social and Economic Node is to integrate technical knowledge on river-sea systems (including water, subsurface and infrastructure) – generated by DANUBIUS-RI – with governance and policy-making to solve problems in highly complex dynamic river-sea systems. The Social and Economic Node, led by Deltares, has the primary focus of developing and testing concepts, methods and instruments to realize this goal.
DANUBIUS-RI will innovate and transfer its scientific knowledge, products, services and spinoffs to the business sector (small and medium enterprises as well as larger organizations). Simultaneously DANUBIUS-RI will aim to attract young people to science and help shape the research communities and the knowledge economy of tomorrow.
At the same time as developing research capacity and the opportunity for innovation and sustainable business, DANUBIUS-RI will also play a central role in the development of the next generation of interdisciplinary scientists through training and exchange opportunities across Europe.
DANUBIUS-RI contributes to achieve the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy, notably through the flagship project “Innovation Union”.