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Aquatic Pollutants

In an unprecedented collaboration, the three JPIs on Water, Oceans and Antimicrobial Resistance, together with European Commission aim to tackle one of the most pressing issues facing society – the presence of pollutants and pathogens in water resources.


In an unprecedented collaboration, the three JPIs on Water, Oceans and Antimicrobial Resistance, together with European Commission aim to tackle one of the most pressing issues facing society – the presence of pollutants and pathogens in water resources.






    € 25,000,000


    Jan 2020 - Jun 2025

    Type of action

    ERA-NET Cofund

    Lead country


    External partners

    JPI Water


    Participating countries

    Czech Republic

    The AquaticPollutants Cofund is pooling the resources of 32 participating research programme owners of 26 countries supported by EU co-funding. This resulted in 18 R&I projects (see below) on risks posed to human health and the environment by pollutants and pathogens present in water resources.  

    In addition, with the support of Sweden (SRC), Germany (BMBF) and France (ANR), the AquaticPollutants Transnet project was awarded funding in a separate process. The aim of this knowledge transfer project is to realize a better and wider dissemination and develop new innovative methods to support the transfer of research and the uptake of results into the public and administrative sector, policy, industry or economy.

    • to establish integrated and cross-sectoral approaches for risk management combining the research areas of emerging pollutants, pathogens and antimicrobial resistance across all three JPIs under the overall topic “from the source to the mouth“; 
    • to analyse the spread of emerging pollutants and pathogens related to antimicrobial resistance from the different sources (e.g. urban areas), that lead to impacts and risks on environment and human health; 
    • to describe the transformation of such emerging pollutants and pathogens and their effects when entering the different ecosystems and accumulating in the food chain; 
    • to improve strategies and evaluate technologies for reducing the input of such emerging pollutants and pathogens at the sources, on their pathways and end-of-pipe; 
    • to address the participation and behaviour of stakeholders and end-users; 
    • to integrate innovative methodologies and tools in order to allow policy-makers to develop more effective policies and efficient regulations; 
    • to consider dealing with data management, technologies and innovations from all sectors with a One Health perspective; 
    • to involve relevant sectors, for example from industry and agriculture; 
    • to include communication and education measures to support the research topics, such as risk communication measures for the various target groups; and 
    • to foster transfer of knowledge into practice and education as well as strengthen risk awareness and risk communication in society. 

    The outcomes of the Aquatic Pollutants Cofund are expected to contribute towards: 

    • Effective trans-national, pan-European research networking, exchange of good practices, synergy, coordination and coherence among national/regional and EU research programs in the areas addressed; 
    • Improved evidence-based policy through the interdisciplinary and trans-disciplinary science-policy interface and links with international efforts and fora on the areas addressed; 
    • Strengthened international leadership of European research in this area making the relevant JPIs, in collaboration with the European Commission, a privileged and attractive partner for global cooperation in research and innovation; 
    • The implementation of the objectives of the JPIs on Water, AMR and Oceans; 
    • Reduced risks posed by emerging pollutants to waterbodies and related ecosystems and food chain, and reduced risks to human health via these ecosystems; 
    • Increased protection of human health through the provision of safe water; 
    • Alleviation of water challenges within and beyond Europe, particularly in urban areas. 
    Why is this important?

    The occurrence of pathogens and emerging pollutants in water resources is one of the most serious risks in our environment and is considered a major factor particularly in the degradation of water quality. To reduce or, even better, avoid the input of pollutants and pathogens into the environment, a holistic catchment approach to better understand the ecological and human health effects is necessary. The whole water cycle, from sources through the river basins and eventually, estuaries and oceans, have to be considered. This approach has to include soil and groundwater transport as well as potential atmospheric pathways that these pollutants may take. The effects on human health, the transport and transmission of harmful substances, in particular those generating anti-microbial resistance, from the freshwater and marine environment to organisms via the food chain also need to be taken into account. Therefore, the Water JPI, JPI Oceans, JPI AMR and European Commission have jointly developed the AquaticPollutants Cofund to support and connect their research communities to address these challenges.