Hydralab Transnational Access


HYDRALAB is an Integrated Infrastructure Initiative, financially supported by the EC, to optimise the use of unique facilities for laboratory experiments in the field of Hydraulics, Geophysical Hydrodynamics, Environmental Fluid Dynamics and Ice Engineering. One of the three main activities of Hydralab was enabling international groups of researchers to conduct hydraulic research in selected large and unique facilities, which is called ‘transnational access’. Ten partners within Hydralab participated in this programme by making their facilities available to external user groups:

  • Deltares, the Netherlands (Delta Flume and Delta Basin)
  • Leibniz University Hannover, Germany (Large Wave Flume and Multi-directional Wave and Current Basin)
  • CNRS, France (CoriolisII Rotating Platform)
  • HSVA, Germany (Arctic Environmental Test Basin and Large Ice Model Basin)
  • NTNU, Norway (Marine Ecohydraulics Field Station, Sletvik)
  • Aalto University, Finland (Ice Tank)
  • Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Spain (CIEM)
  • DHI, Denmark (Offshore Wave Basin and Shallow Water Basin)
  • University of Hull, UK (Total Environment Simulator)
  • HR Wallingford, UK (Fast Flow Facility)

The objective of this programme was to stimulate co-operation between European researchers by providing the opportunity to undertake novel research in unique hydraulic experimental facilities which they do not normally have access to. The focus of Hydralab+ was Climate Change Adaptation.


Leibniz University Hannover
Large Wave Flume of LUH, Hannover
NTNU, Sledvik Field Station
Marine Ecohydraulics Field Station, NTNU, Trondheim
HSVA, Hamburg
Large Ice Model Basin, HSVA, Hamburg




The programme provided groups of researchers with access, free of charge, to the facilities for the duration of their research project and also covered their travel and subsistence costs. The programme was intended for short access periods, not exceeding 3 months. State-of-the-art measuring instruments, data-acquisition and processing systems were at their disposal, as well as a supportive research environment, from access to facilities through to assistance and guidance from experts at the host institute. Previous background in laboratory methods and techniques was not a prerequisite with all the necessary technical support and training being provided by the host institute. 

HR Wallingford, Fast Flow Facility
Fast Flow Facility, HR Wallingford
CNRS, Grenoble
Coriolis Rotating Platform, CNRS, Grenoble
Delta Flume Deltares, Netherlands
Delta Flume, Deltares, Delft

Project selection procedure

A common user selection procedure (USP) was followed throughout Hydralab+ to select the best projects to be granted access to the facilities. The proposals for access projects were firstly reviewed by the facility provider to check their feasibility. The facility provider then supported the proposers (User Groups) while they improved their draft proposals to compensate their lack of experiences with the facilities. This was of particular benefit to first-time users.

The Access proposals for the various Infrastructures in the same field (e.g. Hydraulics, Geophysical Fluid Dynamics or Ice Engineering) were selected in 3 common sessions of a joint USP-meeting, thus achieving an optimal and co-ordinated access for the various Infrastructures and User Groups. Each User Selection Panel consisted of 4 to 8 independent members, and a minority of dependent members coming from one of the HYDRALAB Participants. Representatives of the facility providers were present at each User Selection Panel meeting with an advisory role only.

For the acceptance of a proposal, a majority agreement of the USP-members was required in addition to the confirmation of the relevant facility manager that the research was feasible in their specific installation. Sometimes the possibility of moving a project to another facility within HYDRALAB was discussed by the User Selection Panel, where this may have enabled better utilisation of resources.

UPC, Barcelona
CIEM, UPC, Barcelona
Aalto University, Helsinki 
Ice Tank, Aalto, Helsinki 
DHI, Denmark
Offshore Basin, DHI, Denmark

Joint User Meeting

A total of 31 projects have been carried out in the framework of Transnational Access of Hydralab+, in which more than 300 researchers from across Europe participated. At least one researcher of each of these projects was present during the final closing event of Hydralab+ in Bucharest, during which a mini conference was organised on May 23, 2019. This mini conference, in which each project was presented, is called the Joint User Meeting. The group of researchers from each project also prepared a paper, summarising the most interesting highlights of results.

The programme of the Joint User Meeting is available here. The papers can be downloaded here.