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Strategic Science and Innovation Agenda of DANUBIUS-RI was defined in DANUBIUS-PP

River-Sea Systems comprise rivers and their catchments, estuaries, deltas and lagoons, as well as their adjacent coastal seas (Figure 1). As such, River-Sea Systems cover freshwater, transitional and coastal waters, including semi-aquatic and semi-terrestrial environments, such as floodplains. The extent of a River-Sea System is defined by the surface-water (or groundwater) boundary and the marine boundary, which is more variable. It is defined by the extent of riverine influence on individual parameters of interest


Figure 1 DANUBIUS-RI‘s conceptualized view of a River-Sea Continuum (Jos Brils, Deltares), Deliverable 2.2, DANUBIUS-PP


River-Sea Systems provide ecosystem services that are fundamental to societal wellbeing. However, these systems face compounding pressures: from climate change and human drivers, such as urbanisation, energy generation, waterborne transport, agriculture and fisheries at different spatial (local, national and global) and temporal (seasons to centuries) scales. The resulting changes in the structure and the functioning of River-Sea Systems lead to the decrease or loss of ecosystem services. This poses a number of societal challenges, for example, eutrophication, hypoxia, pollution, changes in hydrology, sediment transport and morphology, loss of biodiversity and sea level rise. Without counteraction towards sustainable development, these pressures and respective changes are likely to increase in future with implications throughout the River-Sea continuum and with uncertain consequences for the resilience of River-Sea Systems. The state of European River-Sea Systems is a dynamic product of interacting environmental and socio-economic processes. Given this complexity, holistic understanding and management of these systems requires new approaches to interdisciplinary Research & Innovation (R&I) at a number of levels.


Figure 2,Strategic Science & Innovation Agenda of DANUBIUS-RI , Deliverable 2.5, From DANUBIUS-PP

Global change and the megatrend  are a consequence of human pressures resulting from basic human needs for food, shelter, energy, transport and recreation. Global change impacts the resources water, sediment and life provided by River-Sea Systems.


These impacts affect the ecosystem services that humans derive from River-Sea Systems.

The Scientific and Innovation Agenda identifies four key Research Priorities in River Sea systems that are being used to guide the development of the Research Infrastructure through the preparatory phase to implementation and operation: i. Climate Change; ii. Water Sufficiency; iii. Sediments and their Management; and iv. Ecosystem Health.

The four challenges Climate ChangeWater SufficiencySediments and their Management, and Ecosystem Health are interrelated. However, they highlight the importance of interdisciplinary R&I at different temporal and spatial scales across the River-Sea continuum. The vision of DANUBIUS-RI is to provide a distributed RI for observation, experimentation and modelling in a range of European River-Sea Systems that addresses this need by

  • enabling interdisciplinary research along River-Sea continuum,
  • integrating existing knowledge and providing new interdisciplinary knowledge,
  • using standardised methods and providing access to comparable data,
  • strengthening regional, national and international collaborations,
  • engaging decision makers, stakeholders and the public(s),