The PEPR OneWater - Water as a Common Good programme, a national research and innovation programme on water, led jointly by BRGM with CNRS and INRAE, is launching its first call for projects.
13 May 2022

OneWater: first call for projects for the PEPR - Webinar 23 May 2022

The PEPR OneWater - Eau Bien Commun programme, a national research and innovation programme on water co-piloted by BRGM with CNRS and INRAE, launched its first call for projects in May 2022. A presentation and information webinar was organised on 23 May 2022. Discover the replay.


Hello to everyone. Thank you for coming and showing your interest in the OneWater program. Dominique Darmendrail, Thibault Daltry and myself are delighted to present this call for projects, the first of this program which will last 10 years and which we hope will address a number of environmental and academic challenges and mobilize the entire community. More than 220 people signed up for this event. 146 are connected so far. This shows how much interest there is in this program. So how will we proceed: we will take questions in the chat room, they will follow. First, we will present the program, and especially the call for projects, its contents, and the application process after which there will be plenty of time to exchange and answer the questions you may have, or explain the details of the call for projects. Bearing in mind that this written document is the definitive version. OneWater was launched on March 16. It is an exploratory PEPR program, under PIA 4, led jointly by CNRS, BRGM and INRAE, and with 10 partners whose logos are shown below. So... The goal of this program is to involve the entire community, regardless of academic affiliation. We will clarify who is eligible, but it applies to the entire French community in higher education and research institutions. So why this OneWater program? It is a national exploratory research and innovation program that aims to measure the impacts of the global change we are experiencing today on socio-hydrosystems. The droughts we experience today, and the forecasts for the summer, are a direct expression of needs and the necessity to take these transformations into account. Things aren't as they used to be, and perhaps we need to approach them a little differently. This program is an opportunity to address current and future challenges and see water not as a service but as a common good which was recognized a few years ago, but which needs to be reasserted in this way, as a commons, shared by all, uses and services, according to its availability and its quality. A rare resource to be preserved. This is an exploratory program that aims for a future acceleration phase, but we will see in 10 years how we will have dealt with the challenges this program addresses and what transformative effects we will have been able, all together, to achieve in cooperation with actors and stakeholders. So as we said, challenges, impacts of global change and global realities. What we're realizing is that there are both global issues related to global change that raise concerns over water availability and quality for all conventional reservoirs, but also throughout the land-sea continuum and the interface between different compartments, given the sometimes new and extreme phenomena which must be dealt with and adapted to over very variable time frames. And we can see this. All the more so given the presence of a number of anthropogenic stresses which directly impact this resource in terms of extraction but also the impact of population densities, namely in terms of water collection needs and the impact on water quality and, inevitably, the degradation of water services, as well as the ecosystems of aquatic and terrestrial biodiversity. If the environment isn't healthy, this will have a direct impact on human health and public welfare. We must therefore explore new ways of managing and adapting to share this resource in a viable, equitable and sustainable way, aimed at integrating a diversity of contexts in unique environments, with their own realities in terms of use and availability. This must happen in conjunction with more global regulations to adapt well to a variety of different challenges. The water law of 1964 introduced water management at the level of river basins, through an extremely interesting joint process that involved a number of stakeholders in its management. But in light of global change, and the acceleration of a number of phenomena, things need to be approached a little differently and we need to consider how we can support and facilitate this transition in water management in the years to come. This is the context in which we prepared this program. It is divided into 6 challenges that Thibault will now present. So I'll be brief, but here are the challenges. The criteria are designed around challenges that could also be called packages. Some colleagues have called them packages because have ties, bridges, interfaces between them. The first challenge is to anticipate the evolution of water resources to facilitate adaptation. The 2nd challenge is to develop a water footprint of environmental processes and human activities, to go beyond a quantitative footprint and include qualitative factors. The 3rd challenge is to establish water as a signaling mechanism for health, the environment and human societies along the land-sea continuum. The 4th challenge is to offer sustainable, equitable solutions to foster the adaptability and resilience of socio-ecosystems. And we have 2 transversal challenges that will contribute to the 4 challenges I have just presented: assisting the transition to a new resource governance for a more sustainable and resilient society. and finally, sharing the data produced by many actors in the water sector to improve knowledge and actions. Thibault, I'm sorry, it's Nolwenn. Some internet connections seem to be a bit slow. I suggest that everyone please turn off their cameras. All right. Thank you, I'll leave you to it. I'll turn off my camera too. OK. So... To tackle these 6 challenges, OneWater has several tools at its disposal, including the open call we are presenting today, as well as targeted projects that we presented at the kickoff and that I will briefly outline, and the Wall Free Labs calls that we will get to as well. The scope of these targeted projects, their scientific and consortium framework, the partnership was relatively hard to define when writing the proposal. So this is something that will happen quite quickly. It is being finalized. They will of course complement the projects that will be selected. The first targeted project aims to reassess past estimates of water resources in France and seasonal forecasts, to better understand the variability of water resources and the conditions associated with extreme events - floods, droughts, dry spells, - so as to better anticipate risks. The 2nd targeted project, building on the notion of a quantitative water footprint, will design a concept for an exhaustive water footprint, incorporating all of these aspects and connecting them comprehensively to resource pressures. I hope the sound is okay. And impacts on water quality and ecosystem health, as well as impacts on society and health. The goal is to move beyond correlative methods and develop a mechanistic approach based on transfer mechanisms, biochemical reactivity, contaminants generated by human activities and their interactions with ecosystems, with the ultimate goal of reexamining the approaches and metrics used in the European framework directive. The 3rd targeted project consists in examining methods and procedures for collecting, archiving, preserving and sharing water samples and sample analyses among actors in the water sector and with future generations. These samples could be reanalyzed in the future, with new chemical, physical, biological biochemical and statistical methods. The project could result in guidelines for the development of a Water Library, a sustainably operated and funded national museum. The goal of the 4th targeted project is to test solutions, whether nature-based, technical, technological, based on circular economy or governance models to foster the adaptability and resilience of socio-hydrosystems. This will entail identifying systems such as Living Labs, networks, workshops, observatories, experimental platforms, or sites to test metrics, models, approaches, and tools developed in the other targeted projects. The 5th targeted project aims to build a transdisciplinary foundation for the emergence of innovative water governance models that address water, its uses, services and functions in a holistic, inter-basin, transboundary, inter-sectoral and comparative approach involving all stakeholders in examining inputs, science, sustainability and collaborative knowledge building. The goal of the 6th project is to provide the means to share relevant water data to address water challenges, including the 6 OneWater challenges. This is a major challenge given the diversity of data types produced, of processing methods, including codes and models, and of production sources. The 7th targeted project aims to use of the long-term observatories, the Living Labs, the network of workshop sites, observers, OHMs, etc., some of which have existed for 40 years in France, in different geographical, geological, climate and socio-economic contexts within France, to collectively develop, test and validate this cooperative creation of integrated, multi-actor strategies And finally, one last project that isn't listed to provide the necessary infrastructure for the different targeted projects and fulfill the program's challenges. I'll give the floor to Dominique. Hello to everyone. As Thibault has said, this call for projects is in fact one of the OneWater program's intervention modalities and the presentation shows the timing of the different actions according to the main intervention modalities. So as you can see, this is the first Challenges and Inter-challenges, the 2022 call, which will be followed by three other calls in the future, another Challenges and Inter-challenges, but also a second Wall Free Labs intervention modality, which are clusters of young pre/post-doctoral researchers who will work on subjects that have been predefined and examine the science surrounding these subjects from a variety of approaches and viewpoints. Thibault presented the targeted projects which will run for about ten years and once implemented, will have feedback loops allowing us to collaborate on a number of solutions. We also considered having regular meetings on a yearly basis, or national and international conferences with a more relaxed biannual schedule and two international conferences to present and exchange with all involved communities on what has been achieved through the program, including possible complementary actions with different partners. We also considered training programs, the aim being to train through research. So in effect, focusing on young researchers, but also to transfer some of these innovations to other actors, in particular those in the socio-economic sector, who will also have a role to play, if only to appropriate these new solutions and implement them later on. And then, as is often the case, as Agathe mentioned, we will enter a wider cooperation phase with an international scientific council that we have already identified and that will be introduced next fall. A think tank will also be set up to interact at the national level with different actors in order to address the needs and realities on the ground. And like any program, there will be collaborative exchanges at the European and international level. So, this call... This first OneWater Challenge and Inter-challenge call, as Agathe was saying, is open to all French higher education and/or research institutions. This was announced at the program launch on March 16. The details were published on May 5. This webinar is taking place before the deadline for the letter of intent which is set for June 28, 2022, in a few weeks, at 11:00 am. After that, we will contact a number of applicants in consultation with the co-directors and the ANR, and we plan to provide further information by the end of July 2022. The goal is to have detailed proposals as stated in the call for proposals by December 13, 2022 at 11:00 am. This deadline should be long enough to allow you to discuss and co-create projects with all the parties that will be approached for each of these detailed proposals. Given this process, a letter of intent followed by detailed proposals, we will offer project co-creation webinars at the end of the summer or beginning of fall. The detailed proposals will then be evaluated by a fully independent international jury that will assess them using the criteria we will present next. A shortlist will be communicated to us which we will share with the ANR and the SGPI and we will announce and launch the selected projects during the first quarter of 2023. Agathe, I'll hand it over to you. Thank you. So a little more detail on this call. This is a Challenge and Inter-challenge call, as has been mentioned, and it addresses the objectives of OneWater within the structure of the program itself. This is an exploratory program, so the idea is not to reproduce what might be done in traditional ANR projects or Horizon Europe calls, the aim is to have an original, innovative, transformative approach to try to shift the paradigm and offer a range of actions that might not be submitted in other calls. What is it mainly about? This is a call for an exploratory Priority Research Program and Infrastructure aimed at higher education and research institutions. The goal is to create a consortium composed of a minimum of three French academic and/or research institutions. And some partners may be involved. These partners, however, which may be local authorities, NGOs, or actors from the socio-economic sector, whether French or foreign, are not eligible for PEPR funding. But it is possible, through the development of partnerships and collaborations, which can be created or reinforced in different ways. Each project can receive between 800,000 and 1.5 million euros in aid. This of course corresponds to a specific policy defined in the financial regulations of the 4th Future Investment Program for an exploratory PEPR. The ANR website has all the details. It is important to note that in this program, the calls for Challenges and Inter-challenges projects are around 8 million and each project lasts up to 4 years. The plan is to send two waves of these calls. So, how do you apply? There are several steps: First, a letter of intent, which Dominique mentioned, to identify specific topics for research, test innovation, find ways to develop this research, bring together teams that haven't necessarily worked together before, consider new methods, build new teams combining several disciplines, skills, methodologies, instrumentation... The scope is entirely open. The letter of intent should not be more than 5 pages long. It therefore needs to be extremely precise, following a template that is provided. The letter of intent must be submitted by June 28, 2022 at 11:00 am on the ANR's website. So if you send us the information independently, we won't be able to accept it. We will only accept what the ANR will give us. Once we have collected all the letters of intent, we will examine them and suggest, when appropriate, groupings and consortium arrangements around shared themes. And we will deliver the results by the end of July 2022. And that will basically be the green light to start writing the project proper, which will consist of a 15-page scientific paper, with 10 pages of appendices if necessary, and a financial appendix covering the template which is available directly on the ANR website. Every project must be submitted to the ANR before December 13, 2022. You're used to applications, so this will be as usual. Why a two-step application? This program, with its various challenges, has mobilized a large part of the French community, but not everyone, with a number of scientific questions that may emerge, and so, OneWater's rationale and intention is to identify the research forces that could be mobilized around the different scientific questions that have already been identified and could be further developed with the 6 OneWater challenges... to raise a new questions and offer an innovative approach. Not to repeat what we already know, what has been done before, and try to transform the way projects are developed, and that is why we are giving you time to see if there aren't other ideas that could be developed. The goal is to contribute to knowledge building, to drive the challenges, in addition to what the targeted projects provide as summarized in the call. The aim is to develop new consortia to remove obstacles, create new momentum, and support the collaborative development of resilience, which is absolutely necessary for water management in France. We also want to encourage, when appropriate, collaborations and partnerships between research teams and stakeholders, taking a science-in-society approach to support this transition. So I'll give the floor... To Thibault. Who is next? Dominique? -No, it's Thibault. -Thibault, sorry. No problem. By the way... I don't know if you can hear me better, we're having stormy weather. It's bad news in terms of understanding what we're saying, but not for the water tables and rivers. I hope it's better. The storm is gone where I am. As for the call's requirements, first of all, for the letter of intent... As Agathe said, the idea is really to describe the scientific challenges and concepts that are being submitted in relation to the objectives and scope of the OneWater program, organized around one or more challenges and targeting the key themes outlined in the call. It should also demonstrate its quality and credibility, why this consortium? what synergy?, etc., given the project's challenges, to support the OneWater program. It should also specify how the project will contribute to the OneWater program and its impacts in terms of development actions, training through research, involvement of stakeholders, etc. And I'll take this opportunity to reiterate the desired impacts that are in the proposal. They were presented at the kickoff. There are socio-economic impacts, support for stakeholders in transforming their practices with innovative solutions, developing the circular economy, environmental impacts, adaptation strategies, pollution and risk awareness, preserving biodiversity and functioning socio-ecosystems, health and social impacts, improving populations' quality of life and health, access to high quality water and sanitation, socio-cultural impacts, transforming practices by integrating water values, developing integrated tools for data management, developing holistic approaches, prioritizing sectoral policies in the short or long term. And finally, scientific, that is, international recognition, support for the European socio-economic sector and actions. So... There's no sound? Is it just...? -No, there's sound. -Then I'll continue. I was worried a storm might... So for the assessment criteria, for the project proposal, specify, in the 2nd phase, draw as much as possible on existing systems, whether they be observatories, research infrastructure or experimentation platforms, to test out strategies while leveraging long-term observations. This is a 10-year program, a lot of work has already been done on water, it would be a shame not to make use of this knowledge and past observation data. Data sharing will need to be integrated, as is the case with all European projects today. The data must be... This is open science. So the data, results and knowledge must be shared with the community. There is also a commitment to participating in the scientific events organized by the OneWater program. Dominique presented several applications including annual meetings, national and international conferences. The rules on parity and generational diversity, ethics, and the different agreements applicable to the research project must be respected. As a biologist, I am thinking for example of the Nagoya Convention on the use of biological and genetic resources. And, as is the case for a European project the selected consortia will be asked by the ANR to draft a consortium agreement with all participating partners. I'll give the floor to... Agathe? -No, to me. -To Dominique. It's Dominique's turn. I'll go into more detail on the different phases for these assessment criteria. Sorry, I'm not sure you saw... We plan for the assessment to take place after the letter of intent, which is due on June 28. This isn't a typical step 1, as you might find in other calls for projects, since we, the three co-directors and the ANR, will be assessing the proposals' relevance to OneWater's objectives and scope. We will look at the consortium's quality and complementarity in relation to the issues submitted and which the proposal wants to address. And will it in fact address the challenges it targets? You have already heard that for some of these research topics we may need access to study spaces and we propose using facilities, research infrastructures or experimental structures to test these scientific questions in the field and benefit from all of their resources: infrastructure but also the data they may already have available. We will also check that the teams and questions being raised do in fact benefit France's territory, in Metropolitan France and/or the overseas territories, since this is the purpose of the exploratory PEPR. And as I mentioned earlier, we will also look at how training through research for young researchers is integrated into the proposal. In some cases, it could be interesting to involve stakeholders, whether agencies, such as the Water Agency, local authorities or companies, which would "traditionally" be involved in addressing these issues, even though they are not eligible for direct funding. Their involvement is very welcome. We'll come back to that later. Step 2, i.e. the detailed proposals, will consist of the three traditional criteria you are more familiar with: scientific excellence and ambition. Again, we will look at the project's relevance to OneWater's objectives. We will look at how integrative approaches and therefore multidisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity will be applied, so the diversity of skills where appropriate. The clarity of the research objectives and hypotheses this is pretty standard. But again, as Agathe said, we want innovative, ambitious and original projects, so we will assess them with that in mind and examine what methodological or conceptual innovations they offer compared to the state of the art. Methodological relevance and scientific contribution, as initially presented, this famous paradigm shift for water as a common good. This is a classic criteria for scientific excellence, integrated into the OneWater program's framework. For the next item... you will see that we will also look... Wait, let me switch back to the previous one. This is an important point, there will also be criteria related to the proposal's impact and mode of implementation, as is usual in other calls. And in terms of impact, one important point is indeed to look at whether a partnership with stakeholders is appropriate or not. As Agathe explained, most of the stakeholders are not eligible for PEPR funding, they cannot be funded under current regulations for French public research and/or academic institutions, but for some in the water sector, the participation of certain actors, local authorities, companies or NGOs, could be advantageous. In these cases, we could indeed involve some of these stakeholders, whether French and/or international, but again, it must be demonstrated that it is for the benefit of Metropolitan France and/or the overseas territories. Since they cannot be funded directly through this proposal, we will have to find how we can integrate them into the scientific projects that will be submitted. And one of the points we want to highlight is that there are ways in which the program can be leveraged and complementary actions from stakeholders that are integrated into the proposals can be supported in other ways. This slide lists some of them. This could be complementary funding for a PhD, whether it is a Cifre or a normal PhD, access to demonstration sites or data sharing, since some stakeholders also have this at their disposal, and since we plan to label certain actions, complementary contributions could be made. And I think I'll turn it over to Agathe for... the last slide. I'll give the... Shoot! We'll get there. There. So, to summarize everything, the letter of intent must be submitted by June 28, which leaves one month, which must include a financial estimate. It is also important to show the variety of actors and teams that can be mobilized to support a new research project. So, the deadline is June 28, 2022. Once again, on the ANR website for it to be eligible. We will get back to you by the end of July after an assessment exchanges between the ANR and the three of us as project leaders to give you the green light to start working and building a consortium, which is mandatory, to develop the project. The project leaders will be invited to meet, possibly by theme, territory or specific consortia, via specific webinars that we will organize to facilitate exchanges and the development of these innovative projects for this program, OneWater. And so on December 13, the project document must be submitted on the ANR website, as it was presented and described in the call. And at that point, an international jury will carry out a standard, independent assessment and will provide us with a number of... they will give us their selection, which will allow us to... to say which projects... To announce the first round of OneWater projects, so that work may begin in early 2023. So we hope we have answered some of the questions you may have. To elaborate regarding the consortia, teams can be in different cities or have complementary skills to those your teams have. We suggest you join a LinkedIn group whose link you will see in the chat which will facilitate dialogue between one another and encourage networking to develop the program. So that's it for the first part of the presentation and now we will look at the questions you have submitted, a number of which have already been answered. Nolwenn just posted the link to join the OneWater group on LinkedIn in the chat. Since it's new, it's a little difficult to find it using keywords. But that will come. And so, if you're interested, feel free to join this group. In any case, one final note, to summarize, all researchers from French research and academic institutions are eligible, regardless of whether their institution is already participating in OneWater. The project as a whole aims to mobilize the entire scientific community to address the challenges set by OneWater, based on academic questions and knowledge in particular, but also to address territorial and societal challenges. And it is within this relationship, ultimately, that we hope to receive proposals for this call. This call is either for one of the six challenges, some of which are already transversal, or for inter-challenges, some of which are not necessarily transversal as-is. So feel free to mobilize your own knowledge, raise new questions, offer new ideas, new research questions, and present innovative answers. We truly are in an exploratory approach, so this is different from a conventional call for proposals which could complement existing calls whether regional, national or even international, and really reflect... We really want original ideas to rise to the challenges of OneWater for water as a common good, but especially to try to integrate all the challenges related to climate change, anthropogenic pressures and the uncertainties we must face to support decision-making and management among the different stakeholders. Co-creating with stakeholders will be one of the ways in which the program as a whole will contribute. Each project will be associated with the OneWater challenges and program. So it will be a piece of the puzzle, connected to the whole program. This also means participating in all aspects of the program. There is this one, but there are others in terms of facilitating the challenges and the different mechanisms. So, be sure to submit original ideas and join forces to take on new challenges and contribute to OneWater. If there are no more questions... I don't see any more. There are no more coming in. Well, thank you very much for being here and being so enthusiastic in the chat. It's sometimes less easy, or easier, than a discussion. In any case, we hope we have answered your questions as much as possible. Normally, everything is in the call for projects, so feel free to read and re-read it. It's so easy to overlook some information and we're sure there will be some great applications and we encourage you to do so and thank you in advance. Goodbye to everyone. Thank you very much, goodbye. Have a nice day.

OneWater - Water as a Common Good, is a national research and innovation programme that aims to have water recognised as a common good. Led jointly by BRGM with CNRS and INRAE, this exploratory, Priority Research and Equipment programme (PEPR), financed by the fourth ‘investment for the future’ programme (PIA4) as part of the France 2030 plan, has a budget of 53 million euros to be used over 10 years.

The first project phase for submission of letters of intent closes on 28 June 2022. The deadline for submitting proposals is 13 December 2022.

The OneWater programme logo. The OneWater programme logo.

The OneWater programme logo.

© OneWater

OneWater - Water as a Common Good: a national water research and innovation programme

The intensification of hydrological extremes, due to global climate change, is a major challenge for our societies in the 21st century, which requires action at all levels.

Water is a common good, which is essential for life and socio-economic development. It is a resource, a living environment, and a vital element for climate regulation, ecosystem functioning and social and economic development.

France was one of the first countries in the world to set up water governance at the catchment basin level, but the assumption that everything could be resolved at the basin level is no longer considered to be true. Global phenomena are overtaking local conditions and new issues are emerging. These challenges need to be addressed through more integrated, systemic, multi-actor approaches to co-construct solutions that are adapted to a range of different realities.

The aim is to change the paradigm by having water recognised as a common good, a central element of socio-ecosystems that are subject to climatic and anthropic forcing.

The first call for ‘OneWater - Water as a Common Good’ projects

This first call for projects is open to all researchers from French higher education and/or research institutions wishing to propose projects to meet the objectives of the OneWater programme. Stakeholders (e.g., regional or local authorities, NGOs, socio-economic actors, etc.) and other French and international partners can be affiliated to the consortia, without however being able to benefit from Programme funding.

This call for projects aims to:

  • identify the research resources that could investigate the scientific issues identified in relation to the six objectives of the Programme,
  • propose new and original subjects for scientific study to address the objectives and challenges of OneWater,
  • help produce knowledge to meet the main and related objectives in addition to the stated projects of the programme,
  • create new consortia in order to remove obstacles, propose solutions and support regional authorities and stakeholders for the co-construction of the resilience necessary for water management in France.

The call for projects consists of two phases:

  • A first phase for submission of letters of intent for the short-listing of consortia, by main or related objectives. At the end of this phase, only the selected consortia will be able to propose detailed projects. Submission deadline for this first phase: 28 June 2022
  • A second phase for evaluation by an international committee of the projects submitted by the consortia short-listed in phase 1. Deadline for submission of applications: 13 December 2022

A presentation and information webinar will be held on 23 May 2022 at 14:30.