What is SWAN?

SWAN (Sustainable Water ActioN): Building Research Links between EU and US, is a four-year International Cooperation Project granted by the European Commission (FP7-INCOLAB-2011). It focuses on the creation of a research center on water to reinforce links between EU and US research in the field. The project promises to strengthen European research capacity in the USA, promote competitiveness of European research and industry while also informing and involving policy-makers and the general public.

The SWAN project has five European Union Member States (Bulgaria, France, Netherlands, Spain and United Kingdom) and a University of Arizona team from the Hydrology and Water Resources Department. It is coordinated by the French CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique), that created an International Centre (UMI “Water, Environment and Public Policy”) in collaboration with the University of Arizona in 2008. This extension of the UMI broadens its current activities from a bi-national focus to one that incorporates ideas, disciplines and methods from Europe. By connecting the USA with Europe, scientific cooperation will enhance ongoing activities, bring new projects, and establish a foundation for future collaboration in the framework of a Sustainable Water Centre (SWC). A Feasibility Study will fully explore how the UMI will achieve this major institutional step.

Opening the UMI to European partners responds to the need for 21st Century interdisciplinary and multiregional collaboration regarding water sustainability. Considering that the 20th century paradigm of technocratic or institutional solutions has failed, it’s necessary to apply multi-faceted approaches that combine physical, natural, and social sciences, along with governance perspectives. To optimize the cooperation among partners, three major transverse themes will structure the plan of the different Work Packages:

  • Climate Change and Uncertainty
  • Risks and Vulnerabilities
  • Participation