iWATERMAP is a European Project and involves 9 partners and 7 regions from all over Europe
Find more sustainable and intelligent solutions to manage water treatment and supply systems more efficiently, bring new life to resources created from wastewater and identify advanced technologies to eliminate hidden threats such as antibiotic resistance and the presence of emerging contaminants. These are the main objectives of a European Project in which the Centre for Biological Engineering (CEB) of the University of Minho has been working in collaboration with 9 partners and 7 regions in Europe.
The Interreg Europe iWATERMAP Project – Water Technology Innovation Roadmaps will allow the strategies and progress of each region to be shared among the European partner regions. At the same time, it will promote the relationship between research, business and regional authorities, creating conditions to increase competitiveness, growth and employment in the regions. Each region involved in the project draws up an Action Plan, specifying what will be done in the region to ensure that the lessons learned from iWATERMAP are put into practice.
One of the sectors with a strong presence in the North region and where innovation in water technology can be significant is the agri-food sector, whose impact has been increasing in Portugal in recent years. According to data from INE in 2014, this sector has a turnover of more than 14.8 billion euros, employing more than 100,000 direct jobs and around 500,000 indirect jobs, and is the second most employed industry in Portugal. In Europe, the food industry is the largest employer, covering 15% of the population, with exports in the order of 16.5% of the world share.
The Center of Biological Engineering (CEB) of the University of Minho represents the Northern Regional Coordination and Development Commission in the iWATERMAP project. It has been active in establishing partnerships and developing projects related to water technology, and one of the projects has already been approved. It is a technology platform that uses artificial intelligence to predict and correct problems in the management of water treatment and supply services. The platform, called PAMWater, will be developed in collaboration with the company Águas do Norte and is led by the research group ISlab – Synthetic Intelligence of the Algoritmi Research Center of the School of Engineering of the University of Minho, being the CEB partner. It is expected that this platform will be used in other water industries.
The University of Minho, through the CEB, is also the representative of the Northern Region in the Thematic Area “Intelligent Water Territories” of the European Platform of Specialization for Industrial Modernization. These communication and knowledge tools, implemented at European Union level, are intended to facilitate interregional cooperation in the EU in order to mobilise private partners to develop concrete investment projects in specific areas of common interest, such as digitisation and other emerging areas. It also allows regions to capitalise on their strengths and create new competitive advantages.