Why the EU supports water research and innovation

Water is a critical environmental resource, the basis for all life. It needs to be managed well, allocated fairly between ecosystems and all water users now, and conserved for future generations.

It is strongly linked to global socioeconomic development, ranging from basic water safety, through water quality and sanitation, to food supply and generation of renewable energy.

Population increase and urbanisation, changing diets, climate variability and change are all putting pressure on world water resources. This makes it important to address these challenges in a systemic way, understand their scale, the various interconnections and trade-offs, and strengthen partnerships between public and private actors and international collaboration. Research and innovation plays a crucial role for this.

It is also key to helping citizens, societies, and water consuming sectors adopt innovative solutions to optimise their water use, reduce its pollution and to recycle it in a safe way to people and ecosystems.

EU water research and innovation activities cover a wide range of issues

  • water quantity and availability
  • water quality and pollution
  • aquatic ecosystems protection and restoration
  • water management and governance, including circular use of water

Funding opportunities

  • Horizon Europe

    On this page you can find more information, the work programme and a link to related calls

  • Recovery and resilience facility

    Loans and grants available to support reforms and investments undertaken by EU countries for a sustainable recovery

  • LIFE+ Climate Action

    Co-financing for research supporting the transition to a low-carbon and climate-resilient economy

  • European Structural and Investment Funds

    Research related calls may be found in this programme, particularly in the European regional development fund.

Collaboration and jobs

Projects and results

Scientific publications, tools and databases

  • EU publications portal

    Online library of EU research publications on water research

  • Scientific publications

    Scientific research publications on water research published by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC)

  • OpenAIRE

    You can access all scientific publications from Horizon 2020 via OpenAIRE

  • EU Open Data Portal

    Single point of access to open data produced by the EU institutions - all data free to use for commercial and non-commercial purposes



  • Research enquiry service

    You can contact the research enquiry service to find out more about research in Europe, the EU's research and innovation funding programmes as well as calls for proposals and project funding.  

  • National contact points

    The national contact points (NCP) network gives guidance and information on participating in Horizon 2020. NCPs are established in all EU countries and many non-EU countries.

  • Enterprise Europe Network

    The Enterprise Europe Network is the world’s largest support network for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with international ambitions. 

  • European IP Helpdesk

    Service that offers an intellectual property rights helpline, training and online library.

Related Commission departments