The co-ordinated and integrated approach of HYDRALAB aims at structuring the access to unique and costly hydraulic and ice engineering research infrastructures in the European Research Area. The network of HYDRALAB is unique in the hydraulic research community and has large experience in co-operating since its start in 1997. It began by informing and co-ordinating the activities of the partners in HYDRALAB I and II, strong collaboration in HYDRALAB III and further integration in HYDRALAB IV. Now we will realise further development of our research services in Europe in HYDRALAB+. Over the course of 10 years our network has grown from 8 participants in 1997 to a total of 33 partners and associated partners from 15 countries today.
The experience of the previous HYDRALAB projects has guided the development of new measures in HYDRALAB+ that increase the impact of the project. In particular, we have developed new tasks within networking, established themed calls within Transnational Access, and re-organised our Joint Research Activities to directly address climate adaptation issues with interdisciplinary project teams. These measures have been specifically designed to broaden the reach of our research to a wider audience and focus the significance of our work on environmental hydraulics and climate change adaptation. Hence, we have adopted the theme ‘Adaption to Climate Change’.
A fully integrated and balanced ensemble of Networking Activities, Joint Research Activities and Transnational Access Activities enhances the operation of our infrastructures and their instrumentation facilities beyond the present state-of-the-art and identifies potential future developments. An example of our Networking Activities is our dissemination events, with which we foster a culture of co-operation between the participants and the wider user community.
The Joint Research Activities focus on improving the capabilities of the experimental facilities, the research methods and instrumentation. The Transnational Access Activities enable international groups of researchers from across Europe to use our rare and unique experimental facilities which they normally do not have access to, and thus enhancing the coherence of the European research community. By means of the common User Selection Procedure optimal access is guaranteed for these international research groups.
Other objectives of HYDRALAB + are to improve access to experimental data, by providing researchers with a database on results of experiments, and bring young researchers and first time users from across Europe to the cutting edge of experimental research.