I hope that all GLOBAQUA partners are doing well and that your new year is getting off to a good start. As you are aware this is our final Newsletter. GLOBAQUA is ending January 31, following our successful Final conference held in Barcelona on December 17-18, 2018. Our scope was on multiple stressors research, i.e., organic and inorganic pollution, nanomaterials, microplastics, dams, water abstraction, channelization, changes in land uses, climate variability, invasive species and pathogens. Such stressors were successfully investigated and prioritized in our case river basins: Adige, Ebro, Evrotas, Sava and Souss-Massa.  It was a great pleasure to follow insightful and inspirational talks given by our project guest speakers working on similar subjects like Daniel Hering and Werner Brack, coordinators of MARS and SOLUTIONS, respectively.

We do believe that all three projects contributed to a better understanding of multiple stressors in aquatic ecosystems, mainly rivers.  We did publish a large number of scientific publications in virtual special issues of several journals like Science of the Total Environment, from Elsevier. PhD theses and policy briefs were also an important part of GLOBAQUA.  In doing so we did help to increase this pan-European vision to other parts of the world.  I do believe that the outcomes of these three projects will inspire future projects on multiple stressors in aquatic systems at a global scale, such as the US, China or Australia.

That being said, a key question remains. What is going to happen in Europe after ending such large projects with an overall budget all three of them of almost 38 Million Euros (9,985,396.08 for GLOBAQUA, 11,645,832.84 for MARS and 16,323,009.85 for SOLUTIONS projects). The European Union together with the Member States did decide to split the environmental water budget in small projects of maximum 2 Million Euros. Three major European programmes were launched in the last few years: JPI WATER, JPI OCEANS and PRIMA. Project funding is limited to 2 Million Euros and duration to 3 years for each project. This is a clear limitation to undertake in-depth studies in this field of research, not only from the budget point of view but also from the duration. But this was a political decision and we need to live with it.  A completely different approach compared to other EU programs, i.e., health, where large projects of 10-30 Million are being funded.

I know that some of you are already participating in these programmes. Please do it because some of the topics being funded are 100% in line with GLOBAQUA, MARS and SOLUTIONS outcomes. You will certainly benefit a lot from your previous experience.

To finalize, just to let you know that it was a great pleasure to work with you in GLOBAQUA.  I am very proud of the project achievements during these 5 years of working together in sampling campaigns, workshops, summer schools, project meetings, conferences and training of students.

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