Further co-operation activities beyond a successful water management initiative Helpline / Success Story

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The NOVIWAM Project (Novel Integrated Water Management Systems for Southern Europe), funded by the EU Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) under the Regions of Knowledge Initiative, aimed to increase co-operation between five water clusters in Europe to enhance knowledge and technological innovation in the field of water resources management. Through a detailed needs analysis, training, consultation and dissemination activities, NOVIWAM has established a direct link between researchers and technology users. The project was implemented in five regions - Northern Hydrographical Region (Portugal), Andalucía (Spain), Poitou-Charentes (France), Albania and Cyprus, by a total of 19 partners, offering significant opportunities for transnational cooperation. The NOVIWAM group has brought together a variety of researchers, businesses and authorities to discuss the future of water management in the EU.

The project finished on January 31st 2013 and the partners decided to continue the cooperation by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to create a new cluster and a new network, to build on the achievements to date.

The idea behind the new cluster was to use the achievements of the previous project as the cement for further cooperation and improvements – it was therefore crucial for the project partners to be able to link the old project to the new cluster and give them a common “identity”. In this context, one of the project partners, Agencia Andaluza del Conocimiento, contacted the European IPR Helpdesk on behalf of the NOVIWAM project partners in connection with the use of the distinguishing elements of the previous project within the new cluster. No Consortium agreement was required for the NOVIWAM Project, nor were there any specific references included in the Description of Work with regard to the use of the project acronym and logo in future projects/networks.

For the Agencia Andaluza del Conocimiento it was extremely important to seek clarity on the use of such distinguishing elements to avoid problems related to possible limitations and ensure legal certainty in the new network. In particular, advice was sought as to the possibility of using the logo and the acronym of the project "NOVIWAM" as a part of the name of the new network, and as to the measures to be taken to ensure that the use of the project deliverables would be possible within the new “NOVIWAM Cluster”.

The European IPR Helpdesk’s Helpline assisted the partners and provided them with guidance and hints concerning the regulation and the steps to follow when deciding on a project name. They were aware about the main problems and risks that could arise in connection with the project acronym and more particularly in the case of using it during further collaboration. The Helpline therefore took an active part in the the challenging process of developing the cooperation in the new cluster and according to Agencia Andaluza del Conocimiento:  

“The IPR Helpdesk helped us in a very satisfactory way, to clarify how to use the logo and the acronym of the Noviwam project as a part of the name of the new network and regarding the measures to be taken ensuring the use of the project deliverables within the new denomination. We are currently closing new internal negotiations in order to incorporate new partners to the cluster.”

With the doubts removed Agencia Andaluza del Conocimiento and its international partners successfully set up the new cluster, and are currently strengthening their cooperative efforts to support improved water resource management in the EU.