The regional stakeholders meeting within the iWATERMAP project, that took place online, on May 25th, 2021, brought together 21 participants, distributed by 4 representatives from CEB-UMinho, 1 representative from public authority, 6 representatives of the regional water companies (Águas do Norte, SimDouro and Agere), 6 representatives from universities/research units (CBMA and CTAC of UMinho, LSRE-LCM of FEUP, UCP, IPB-AquaValor, ESA-IPVC) 2 representatives of private companies (Ventilaqua and Simbiente), 1 representative of a cluster (PortugalFoods) and 1 representative from an innovation hub (Startup Braga).
UMinho, briefly reviewed the recent activities of the iWATERMAP project (self-assessment, Roadmaps and Action Plan) and presented the pilot action proposal – iWaterSchool. iWaterSchool main objective will be to gather the knowledge and capabilities of the Norte-PT region in Water Science and Technology, by combining in one place specialized training offers in the field. iWaterSchool will approach students, industry and academia towards the creation of innovative educational practices, ultimately enhancing qualified employment. This pilot action was inspired on the activities of CIV-Water (member of WaterCampus Leeuwarden) on vocational level in the field of Water.
All stakeholders became enthusiastic with iWaterSchool concept, having contributed with several improvement points. For example, in order to extend iWaterSchool beyond the pilot action timeline, they suggested the incorporation of dissemination and marketing activities and a new task to prepare a business plan/market study. They also suggested the setting up of summer schools and the connection to other similar initiatives developed in other regions (e.g. European PhD School on Advanced Oxidation Processes).
Regarding the implementation of iWaterSchool, it will be necessary to clarify the role of each stakeholder in the action. Several institutions have reservations about the memorandum of understanding and this document will need further validation by entities legal services. This problem is mainly due to the need for approval and accreditation of new courses/training offers that may be developed within the scope of this action.
Nevertheless, iWaterSchool was already endorsed by some stakeholders.