An environmental standards information portal for Europe

In Europe, we have a vast wealth of research results that support standards in relation to environmental aspects such as air, water, soil and waste. SIPE (‘An environmental Standards Information Portal for Europe’), an EU-funded project, brings all these results together and combines them with information on standards and policies in a single dedicated web-based portal.

The project, which began in September 2012, is now in its final few months and the SIPE-RTD Web Portal is available in its first version for testing at . The portal contains up to 190 policies (split up in 3 600 policy articles), 950 Standards and about 600 EU funded projects or research results.

The aim of SIPE is to promote and increase the use of research results in support of standards (related to air, water, soil and waste) to stakeholders from research, standardisation bodies, policy and enterprises/SMEs.

The portal, which offers a unique interface for information from the standards, policies and research communities, is a tool to help achieve this aim. It allows users to browse in a number of different ways: using the four compartments (‘Water and Marine, ‘Air’, ‘Waste and Sludge’, ‘Soil and Sediment’), clicking on the keywords in the cloud or just using the free search.

The interlinking of information is based on keyword fingerprints that are developed for each item in the web portal. Easy transfer of information is facilitated by an input module and a document repository.

At the outset, information on EU-funded research projects in support of standards and their results was collected. European Commission Directives in these areas and their policy tasks were also collated. The same set of keywords was used to describe all data sets. This pool of (standards related) keywords was interlinked by algorithms into a categorisation scheme of keywords.

The portal is also the result of a long and ongoing process of consultation and feedback. An Interfacing Group, consisting of invited stakeholders’ representatives, commented on the initial concept and continues to guide the development and implementation of the portal. It is instrumental in ensuring that SIPE-RTD develops into a fit-for-use and sustainable entity. Public participation has also been organised via a Stakeholder Network.

Led by HydroScan in Belgium, the consortium comprises in total six partners from four countries: Mermayde in the Netherlands, WISE-RTD Association and Hydraulics Laboratory, both in Belgium, IVL Svenska Miljoeinstitutet in Sweden and Quality Consult in Italy. These partners, along with all interested parties, will all gather in Brussels in June for the project’s final conference, ‘Research Innovation and Policy Implementation based on Standards Knowledge’.

Stakeholders are still encouraged to contribute to the SIPE-RTD Web Portal by creating their own profile and uploading research projects and results in regard to the environment and standards. The SIPE team is eager for users to test the portal and offer feedback.