Climate services at work – EU-funded projects exploring synergies

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Service providers such as railway companies regularly have to face extreme weather conditions, which can disrupt operational service and create considerable damage. The assessment of those risks and development of strategies to adapt to climate change is present on the agenda of businesses and public authorities. 'Climate services' provided through tools, standards and products can deliver climate information and valuable knowledge that will help businesses to face climate variability and change. Climate services play therefore an important role for society and adaptation of the economy to climate change.

Developing user-oriented climate services became a key research and innovation priority of the European Commission and is supported through a number of funding initiatives. The way towards the development of a market for climate services has been pinpointed in the European research and innovation roadmap for climate services. This plan is turned into action through concrete projects funded by dedicated Horizon 2020 Societal Challenge 5 calls and the calls organised by the Joint Programming Initiative Climate (JPI) as part of the ERA4CS – European Research Area for Climate Services.

These EU-funded projects allow the realisation of case studies and pilot activities in a wide range of sectors - agriculture, forestry, energy, water and risk management, infrastructure, insurance or urban planning. Almost 40 projects will run in parallel in the coming years in order to demonstrate the added value of climate information and services for the decision making and planning processes of the future.

The established projects share the same challenge: how to translate the best available climate science and data into tailored services and products that can serve the needs of a wide range of users, i.e. public authorities, businesses, or citizens. The event 'Climate Services at work - Projects exchange and networking lab' organised on 29-30 November in Brussels, helped to lay the ground for a fruitful exchange right from the start. It brought together various project partners and other players in the area of climate services. The event was organised by the Executive Agency for SMEs (EASME) in cooperation with JPI-Climate ERA4CS and consisted of a workshop for Horizon 2020 projects and a joint networking event for Horizon 2020 and JPI-Climate ERA4CS projects. It allowed intense exchanges, knowledge sharing and discussions and was attended by overall more than 75 participants representing 37 projects.

The project participants had the opportunity to explain their climate services approaches in a poster exhibition. Furthermore, focused discussions on challenges of mutual interest, a project match-making and speed-networking activity helped to establish contacts between projects in an efficient way and laid the ground for future project cooperation. As a result, several initiatives kick-started - invitations to Project Advisory Boards, agreements on joint activities or a task force to further address common challenges for projects that started its work in February.

This project networking opportunity attracted also some delegates from other projects funded through programmes and initiatives such as Copernicus, COST or LIFE, which enlarged the stakeholder landscape and allowed getting a snapshot of other activities, either ongoing or planned in their field.

The event was a first step towards increased coordination, collaboration and visibility of projects that have recently started in the dynamic field of climate services.

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