ELTE-led joint research proposal developed within CHARM-EU wins grant

ELTE-led joint research proposal developed within CHARM-EU wins grant HU
A proposal developed in CHARM-EU’s R&I project TORCH has secured funding under the highly competitive Water4All call of the Horizon Europe program. A multidisciplinary team led by Prof. Judit Mádl-Szőnyi will work on a nature-based solution that mitigates the impact of extreme climate events and contributes to securing water supplies.

Building up the research and innovation dimension of CHARM-EU, one of the tasks of the TORCH project was to identify potential areas for joint research collaborations within the Alliance and to create research communities (Knowledge Creating Teams, KCTs) that develop R&I project plans on the basis of the identified strengths of partner universities. As a result of this work, six SDG-driven and transdisciplinary research challenges were chosen to be developed as independent projects.

The KCT working on the water-related challenge connected to combatting climate change and its impacts (SDG-13) was coordinated by Eötvös Loránd University. The research group was the first to submit their proposal back in October 2022 to the joint transnational call launched under the European partnership Water4All. The research proposal titled ClimEx-PE (Climate Extremes buffering through groundwater flow-based Managed Aquifer Recharge and Public Engagement) was one of the 27 winner projects, selected for funding through 2 highly competitive rounds from more than 200 submitted proposals. The KCT is led by hydrogeologist Professor Judit Mádl-Szőnyi from ELTE’s Faculty of Science as Principal Investigator and unites scientists from CHARM-EU partner universities – besides ELTE, the University of Barcelona, Trinity College Dublin and Utecht University – and beyond (from the University of Zaragoza).

The conceptual background of the proposal was provided by the know-how of the researchers of the József and Erzsébet Tóth Hydrogeology Chair of ELTE’s Faculty of Science, entitled "Landscape-scale nature-based targeted groundwater recharge based on groundwater flows" (NB-MAR), which was recognised and accepted as an invention by the ELTE Innovation Board in April 2023.

NB-MAR approach based on groundwater flow systems (Source: ClimEx-PE)

The ClimEx-PE proposal aims to address knowledge gaps regarding groundwater flow systems in connection with surface water bodies and extreme climate events as well as Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR), an engineering approach for intentionally recharging aquifers (bodies of rock and/or sediment holding groundwater). The transnational team will propose a new nature-based MAR approach (NB-MAR) which can play a future role in the mitigation of extreme climate events, thereby contributing to ensure safe water supplies for humanity and ecosystems. The multidisciplinary project involves scientists from the field of natural science and researchers coming from socio-legal fields while also paying special attention to public engagement through communication and education. Besides the Faculty of Science, researchers from ELTE’s Faculty of Education and Psychology, Faculty of Humanities and Faculty of Law are also involved in the project.

The result is an example of the potential of R&I collaboration in CHARM-EU, also demonstrating the effectiveness of the Alliance in the EU funding space. CHARM-EU will continue to actively support collaborative research and innovation project proposals developing within the Alliance.