WiCE: research programme, knowledge broker and bridge to practice

From a shower at a campsite to Water in the Circular Economy (WiCE)

At the BTO Festival Day on 8 June, Henk-Jan van Alphen took the audience on a journey from a shower at a campsite to thinking about, and working towards, a circular economy. What are the best decisions, and which of them are responsible? Which questions do you need to answer to make those decisions? That leads to questions similar to those relating to the wider circular economy.

As a research programme, WiCE focuses on questions about:

  • technical or physical solutions for the circular economy such as recovering heat and basic materials, or reusing water. How do these techniques work? At what scale? How do people work with those techniques? What are the smart synergies between water, energy and basic materials?
  • needs and preferences, such as the functions performed by water. Can we implement those functions differently or with less water? Am I willing to shower less to save water? Are we willing to change our behaviour or do we prefer to pay for a technical solution? This is also a question of balance between various aspects of sustainability. How important is water use when offset against energy use and the use of basic materials? And what are the answers when we take how we use those resources into account?
  • change, such as how new solutions fit into the existing system.  Who do we need to make that transition? What is the significance for existing roles and responsibilities? Which legislation and regulations stand in the way of change? Who is going to pay?

To answer these questions, the drinking water sector also needs other stakeholders. WiCE therefore also connects with partners such as water authorities, municipalities, provinces, business and other knowledge institutes. WiCE projects always involve practical cases with a range of partners in which researchers collaborate with professionals. In that way, WiCE also acts as a knowledge broker, sharing and disseminating the knowledge developed in the context of WiCE, and also bringing in knowledge from the outside through practical case studies.

For more information: watch this TED talk in which Henk-Jan van Alphen takes you from the campsite to WiCE in twelve minutes and invites you to join in.