The co-ordinated and integrated approach of HYDRALAB aims at structuring the access to unique and costly hydraulic and ice engineering research infrastructures in the European Research Area. The network of HYDRALAB is unique in the hydraulic research community and has large experience in co-operating since its start in 1997. It began by informing and co-ordinating the activities of the partners in HYDRALAB I and II, and via strong collaboration in HYDRALAB III and further integration of our research services in Europe in HYDRALAB IV. Over the course of 10 years our network has grown from 8 participants in 1997 to a total of 30 partners and associated partners from 15 countries today.
Research in our infrastructures deals with complex questions regarding the interaction of water with environmental elements, sediment, structures and ice and goes beyond just hydraulic research: Hydralab IV adopted the theme More than water, with the following elements:
- Water and environmental elements (focusing on ecology and biology)
- Water and sediment
- Water and structures
- Water and ice
Questions that were answered deal with e.g. the development of adaptive strategies to climate change and sustainable measures against natural hazards, like floods.
A fully integrated and balanced ensemble of Networking Activities, Joint Research Activities and Transnational Access Activities enhanced the operation of our infrastructures and their instrumentation facilities beyond the present state-of-the-art and identifies potential future developments. An example of our Networking Activities were our dissemination events, with which we fostered a culture of co-operation between the participants and the wider user community.
The Joint Research Activities focussed on improving the capabilities of the experimental facilities, the research methods and instrumentation.
The Transnational Access Activities enabled international groups of researchers from across Europe to use our rare and unique experimental facilities which they normally do not have access to, and thus enhancing the coherence of the European research community. By means of the common User Selection Procedure optimal access wass guaranteed for these international research groups.
Further objectives of HYDRALAB IV were to improve access to experimental data, by providing researchers with a database on results of experiments, and bringing young researchers and first time users from across Europe to the cutting edge of experimental research.
Moreover we provided the European Community periodically with a comparison between the scientific needs for access against the availability and an inventory of relevant Infrastructure available in Europe.