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Linkages, active discussion, and collaboration: Annual GoNEXUS General Assembly

On May 15 and 16, along the shores of Lake Como, members of the GoNEXUS consortium met in an old villa to come together and share project updates and workshop new ideas for the next phase of the project. The annual general assembly meetings mark a milestone moment to brainstorm any lingering questions related to upcoming activities and come together to plan for the next year of the project. It breaks the silos of our daily work and forces us to consider the project in a more holistic way. This meeting in Lake Como was the third such meeting for GoNEXUS.

On Sunday, the group met for the first time in a year to take a tour of the lake. We got to see first-hand the multiple uses of the lake mainly tourism and agriculture. We were also reminded that the level of the lake was recently much lower, despite it being one of the deepest lakes in Europe. Fortunately, due to abnormally high rainfall in the Spring season (April-May-June), the lake come back to a normal level and surrounding greenery has been given much-needed hydration.

Going into its third year, GoNEXUS has a few key activities that are ongoing. Specifically, case studies, modelling, scenarios, and dialogues. These activities formed the bulk of discussions during the plenary session.

Beginning with overviews per work package, the meeting highlighted the importance of including gender-specific criteria as well as to include the impacts of Russia’s war against Ukraine. Then, the focus shifted to finding consensus for both the modelling of case studies but also the methodologies for the second dialogue.

“My primary objective”, explained Janos Feher (Famife) “was to have a discussion with modellers and establish a common strategy for modelling for Danube river basin. My understanding is that those who are going to work on the Danube case study have an agreement on how the models will fit together. Without this, we cannot set up a strategy, so it is very important. In a general way, the modelling actions have already been agreed. What scenarios and indicators should be modelled and how we should present them at the dialogue for the stakeholders.”

So far with the modelling, partners have established a consensus on the data formats used for both model inputs and outputs, producers will choose their preferred export format.

Mark Bierkens, Utrecht University- “I am glad that we established how we going to link global models to basin-scale studies. We have a plan to do that and this will improve our global assessment greatly later on.”

Amparo, UPV – “Integration of different models is key to the project and we had a very productive session on this in Como. We also find it important to connect the social part with the models to integrate local knowledge into the models.”

There were also some partners for whom this was their first project meeting, and coming to the meeting was instrumental to gaining a better overall understanding of the project.

In addition, there were active discussions about the second phase of stakeholder dialogues for all basin areas, the key discussion points surrounded presenting information to stakeholders to enable them to have enough information to share their inputs. This enables the next phase of dialogues to be cohesive as well as productive in terms of results/outcomes.

Young or early career researchers are an integral part of any Horizon 2020/research project. As such, GoNEXUS profiles these researchers to learn more about what they do: Check out Imen Arfa and Daniele Peano, among others!

Two such young researchers joined the meeting for the first time in-person, Sneha Chevuru from Utrecht University and Paolo Gazzotti from POLIMI.

Sneha Chevuru, UU a female researcher who recently moved to the Netherlands from India explained:” As this was my first project meeting, my initial expectations were based on the fact that GoNEXUS is a big project involving many different partners. I wasn’t sure where I fit in. Being from a modelling background understanding the dialogues and policy scenarios was new to me. After I came here I understand the different perspectives much more and how it goes from global and local. and connections of different models (global to local).”

Paolo Gazzotti, POLIMI, a male Italian researcher also joined for the first time: “It was one of the first project meeting experiences. Cooperation is different from general conferences, for the first time you get a general overview of what’s going on in the project and can get a better understanding of the overall picture. This helps to inform and ensure my work is more actionable.”

We look forward to more project updates from our researchers! In addition, collaborations with the GoNEXUS sister projects Rexus and Nexogenesis which have begun. A joint-webinar series is coming in the Fall of 2023.