WATCH – Sino-German Centre for Water And healTh researCH
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The Chinese-German Center for Water and Health Research, WATCH for short, was established in September 2017 following a collaborative project between RWTH Aachen University and Sichuan University in Chengdu, China. The main focus of the first project phase funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) was to send RWTH researchers to China to help address the urgent need for innovative solutions in the field of water and health research. The overall goal is to contribute to solving the enormous water quality and quantity problems resulting from China's rapid economic development.
The RWTH Institute of Environmental Engineering, ISA for short, is serves as project leader and collaborates with other institutes from engineering, the natural sciences, economics, and medicine.
Particular emphasis is placed on the areas of water, climate, health and information. The ISA can contribute its well-established professional competencies to problems of water quality and water/wastewater structures. A comprehensive, interdisciplinary long-term co-operation was to be facilitated by establishing a platform in the first 18 months as part of the initial project phase. This project phase served to establish the general and office infrastructure as well as to further and newly develop suitable research approaches. This resulted in eleven joint workshops, seven scientific articles and three expert lectures presented at international conferences. In addition, strategies for the establishment of joint ventures were developed.
Following an evaluation of this start-up phase, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research approved a further three-year consolidation phase until the end of August 2022, during which the results of the research projects will be implemented and put into practice. Individual measures of the consolidation phase include the acquisition of further third-party funding, expansion of the WATCH Center's team as well as of its network of partners, professional training, the training of early-career researchers, and the provision of professional advice to German and Chinese companies through knowledge transfer activities. The high demand for innovative technologies in China can be met by a borad range of available innovations from Germany. WATCH, as a globally visible institution in the field of water and health research, thus seeks to bring innovative research and problem-solving approaches to China. The activities of the Center also provide excellent opportunities for the German economy.
To consolidate this German-Chinese cooperation, we seek to launch further joint ventures under the umbrella of WATCH. The long-term goal is to translate research results into industrial applications, thus strengthening the economy, and to establish WATCH as a competent high-profile partner to addr4ess questions and problems in the areas of water and health.