North West Europe recognised the importance of innovation in the 2014-2020 Operational Programme, asking for project applications that: “..enhance innovation performance of enterprises throughout NWE regions” They were keen to create “an innovation environment in which users, firms, universities and public authorities cooperate in order to produce innovations”

Waterway management organisations need(ed) to work together to help the innovators get their product closer to market. The products are innovations of importance to them – and worth collaborating on to support; technological, social, product, service, commercial, non-commercial, private-sector and public-sector.

The North Sea Region narrowed their requests down to home in on “eco-innovation’ saying that “By fostering innovative eco-enterprise, we aim to stimulate economic growth plus environmental benefits: less pollution, lower emissions and longer-lasting resources.” They asked projects to focus on how to change attitudes and behaviour e.g. different ways of facilitating consumers and enterprises to conserve water, reduce waste, recycle materials, and adopt energy efficient practices and technologies.

The information below sets out some findings from previous and current EU funded projects NIWE members have participated in or are keeping a keen eye on. We also provide some key documents from other sources that support the importance of this theme and waterway sector.

Numericanal was supported through the Interreg IVB North West Europe programme and ran from 2013 to 2015.

Involving 6 partners from 4 countries around North West Europe – UK, France, Netherlands and Belgium, t looked at how new and developing technologies could be used to implement innovative working practices for managing waterways and by using the regional & national strengths and experience of these partners (all active in the field of ICT and waterways management) to create a transnational strategy for the development of e-services, information and communications along smaller dimension waterways.

The project aimed to identify ways to reduce costs and increase efficiencies in the management these waterways in NWE through implementation of innovative ICT based approaches and tools. Its strapline was “Using technology for the more efficient management of inland waterways”.

A lot of work was carried out to establish partnerships with stakeholders with expertise in this field and setting up events to inform the public of findings.

Specific activities included;

  • Analysing existing good practices and identify potential new practices.
  • Developing and piloting use of mobile technology information for users (Smartphones/lock op etc).
  • Developing and piloting new technology approaches to safety, particularly conflicts between smaller leisure boats and freight/commercial boats. (Congestion/danger zones, training).
  • Developing/piloting ICT waterway control & management systems (G&S/Eindhoven Control Centres).
  • Evaluating these activities and rolling out the results and lessons learned.

Key outputs and project related evidence:

Numericanal (2013-15) Good Practices Practice Handbook
Numericanal (2013-15) Holistic Evaluation of Numericanal
Numericanal (2013-15) Inland Waterways Control Centre- Common Model
Numericanal (2013-15) Safe Boating – Communication on the water
Numericanal (2013-15) Safe Boating – Navigation Rules
Numericanal (2013-15) Safe Boating – Passing through bridges and locks
Numericanal (2013-15) Safe Boating – Rules for safe and fast Boating
Numericanal (2013-15) Safe Boating – Sail Together
Numericanal (2013-15) Safe Boating -The Blue Sign