NEXUS-NESS stands for “NEXUS Nature Ecosystem Society Solution” The extended title is “Fair and Sustainable Resource Allocation Demonstrator of WEFE Nexus Economic, Social and Environmental Benefits in the Mediterranean Region”.

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Period of Implementation

Jun 1, 2021 - May 31, 2024
Total Budget

EUR 2,850,000.00



The NEXUS Nature Ecosystem Society (or NEXUS-NESS) solution aims to co-produce and co-test with stakeholders WEFE Nexus management plans for fair and sustainable allocation of resources. NEXUS-NESS will deploy trans-disciplinary methods and multi-sector scenarios by integrating large scale WATNEEDS and river basin scale FREEWAT ecosystem-hydrological models for building a dedicated service to operationalize the proposed WEFE Nexus approach, namely the NEXUS-NESS Service. This new service will transfer and test science-driven WEFE Nexus knowledge to address real case study issues. The NEXUS-NESS solution will interlink the WEF Nexus components with a three-fold conceptualization of the Ecosystem component (Environment, Economy, Engagement/Society). NEXUS-NESS will adopt and test the proposed WEFE Nexus bottom-up approach in four different climatic, environmental, socio-economic and cultural demonstration sites employing Living Lab and Responsible Research and Innovation principles. Four Nexus Ecosystem Labs in Italy, Spain, Egypt and Tunisia will be set up. A WEFE Nexus Innovation Ecosystem Approach supported by a novel Multi Stakeholder and User Platform will effectively engage all stakeholders, including the private sector for creating long-lasting Innovation Ecosystems that are based on collaboration among academia, industry, different levels of the public sector and citizens.


NEXUS-NESS major goals are three: - Identify biophysical and socio-geographic domains (basically finalizing the pre-defined case study boundaries, both physical and regional/administrative to have full picture of the stakeholders to be engaged) where WEFE Nexus strategies are needed for achiveing water, energy, food and ecosystem security and initiating four Nexus Ecosystem Labs (NELs) in Italy, Spain, Tunisia and Egypt adopting Living Lab principles; - Develop WEFE Nexus scenarios to address specific/regional Grand Challenges of the four NELs co-identified with the regional stakeholders and co-produce with stakeholders WEFE Nexus management plans for fair and sustainable allocation of resources by applying WEFE Nexus data, knowledge and tools into real case conditions and show the multiple benefits if transition to the « As-it-is » to the « As-it-should-be » condition; - Implement a WEFE Nexus Innovation Ecosystem Approach (IEA) by applying the Responsible Research And Innovation (RRI) principles through the RRI Roadmap in the 4 NELs to prepare and support stakeholders in a cultural and behavioural change to achieve the desired WEFE Nexus innovation (moving towards the « As-it-should-be » condition).

Problems and Needs Analysis

NEXUS-NESS will implement and test the Ecosystem Innovation Approach (EIA) and the NEXUS-NESS Service (NNS) in four selected Nexus Ecosystem Labs (NELs) . 12 major challenges, that are relevant for the WEFE Nexus, were identified. Those challenges will be used for the testing and validation the project solution (i.e. the NNS). The four NELs were selected for their relevance and importance also in relation to the replicability and marketing of the project achievements in other EU and world regions. The 12 grand NLL challenges and a synthesis of the key features that supported the selection of the 4 NELs are inserted in the following table.

Intervention Strategy(ies)

The synthesis of the NEXUS-NESS Innovation Action will find its way through a core new technological web-based platform (set of products and services) developed adhering to Open Science principles that will allow to transfer and operationalize (i.e. make data useful and usable “actionable” for stakeholders) the WEFE Nexus strategies, data and scenarios. We refer to this product as the NEXUS-NESS Solution that will integrate and interface a series of data, products and tools and in particular (the main ones): - The Multi Stakeholder and User Platform (MSUP, that was renamed as Nexushare (category: web app or platform), the stakeholder engagement platform conveying as a web app the knowledge base, the data sharing (bidirectional so that stakeholders may “learn” as well as “upload” their knowledge and needs) and support the interactions from WEFE sectors, actors, operators as well as all range of stakeholders and citizens - The WATNEED WEFE Nexus data and modelled scenarios (category: dataset and pluging/widget of the NNS), addressing NEL Grand Challenges with output processed at the “Expert Stakeholder” level (e.g. Water agency, Energy managers, etc.) from large scale to local/specific scales of interest for the NEL stakeholders; - The FREEWAT data and modelled scenarios (category: dataset and Open Source qGIS plugin) to be transferred to the new WEFE Nexus operators starting from the NEL reference partners (NEXUS-NESS partners) managing the four NELs with output produced by NEL reference partners to support a regional “Expert Stakeholder” operational WEFE Nexus level as well as producing ad hoc data and scenarios needed by some NEL Grand Challenges - An Earth Observation (EO) analytical web-based service (category: webGIS with pluging/widget), (namely NEXUS-NESS Service or NNS) that makes optimal use of existing data/information and technological resources/tools/platforms as well as the new WEFE Nexus data produced by science-driven WATNEEDS and FREEWAT models to convey to all NEXUS-NESS stakeholder easy-to-be understood and easy-to-be understood data. This product, renamed as GEO NEXUS-NESS will integrate and share output processed at both the “Expert Stakeholder” level as well as the “Non-expert level” showcasing the power and usefulness of EO data (especially the EU Copernicus programme data and tools for water, land, infrastructure, environment and climate monitoring) and WEFE Nexus data, not only supporting NEXUS-NESS impacts to achive Nexus change but also demonstrating the business opportunities (jobs and SMEs working with WEFE Nexus operators).

Impact Pathway

NEXUS-NESS also included a dedicated project component on an assessment of the policies of the four sectors that are now still overlapping and not working in synergy. NEXUS-NESS will provide a state of the art review of policies for the four NELs to analyze the EU/international policies as respect the national policies in the four countries/NELs. This policy assessment will integrate the the « As-it-is » to the « As-it-should-be » condition to understand and share with the stakeholders how to transition to WEFE Nexus strategies also by identifying policy/governance levels that shall innovate. The “policy barriers” will be, thus, co-identified and discussed with stakeholder and constitute a further important part of the NEXUS-NESS solution. The project also includes the creation of a WEFE Nexus Forum that will work within and in synergy with the Nexushare technological platform.


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