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WWW-YES presentation

Brief history, major characteristics

by Daniel Thevenot, Daniel Thevenot - published on

World Wide Workshop for Young Environmental Scientists (WWW-YES):

An annual workshop dedicated to PhD students involved in the field:

Urban water, resource or risks, the developing countries perspective.

  • Introduction

Growing population worldwide, economic development and increasing degradation of freshwater resources make the actual management of urban waters unsustainable for the world of tomorrow. Competition between water users, inadequate technologies or inappropriate managerial approaches makes better and adequate capacity building necessary.

Furthermore, due to academic financial restrictions, PhD students are often limited in their ability to present and discuss their ongoing research projects at an international level and suffer from poor experience in using English for scientific presentations and discussions.

  • Workshop context

The LEESU research group and the H2o Association organise in the framework of the "Popular university for water and sustainable development (UPEDD)" of the Val-de-Marne County (South-East of Paris) an annual doctoral workshop dedicated to capacity building of young environmental scientists involved in urban water topics.

  • Research field

Since the creation of the workshop in 2002, the thematic outline is "Urban waters, resource or risk", emphasizing the necessity of the integration of human activity in the natural environment to enable sustainable development of urban space. The workshop is multidisciplinary joining natural (urban hydrology, chemistry, ecology, health sciences...) and social sciences (architecture, management, decision making, sociology...), to improve trans-disciplinary discussions and social commitment of the scientific research in the field of integrated water management.

  • Workshop participant involvement

This workshop is characterized by a non formal work environment stimulating scientific creativity, exchange and discussion between participants, which number is limited to 20.

For each participant, both paper and oral presentation especially focus on:

    • The scientific context of the research subject,
    • The research questions that are expected to be answered during the PhD preparation, together with their environmental justification,
    • The field and/or lab and/or model methodologies that are currently or will be used, together with their justification for addressing the questions presented before,
    • One or two major results obtained so far,
    • The planned research activity till the end of the PhD (or after its termination, in the case of a PhD which is already finished),
    • The significance and limitations of these methodologies for developing countries.

Indeed this workshop is not mostly dedicated to present original results (the purpose of all conventional scientific conferences), but to present, discuss and justify methodologies selected by each PhD student for addressing his/her environmental question. Furthermore, taking into account the large field of "urban water", papers and presentations are well illustrated for being understood by all participants. Finally, taking into account the large participation of students issued from developing countries, each paper and oral presentation should also include some discussion of the benefits and limitations of such methodologies within developing countries, where most up-to-date technology is often not available and financial resources always limited.

Since 2006 all WWW-YES workshop participants are invited to publish their presentation on this site under a PDF file and to publish their paper in a specific WWW-YES Open Source collection (HAL), each published paper receiving a specific and permanent reference number and URL address.

  • General scientific aim

The five days of the workshop are dedicated to:

    • The presentation, discussion and assessment of the individual research work of each participant,
    • The collective building-up of an international environmental research project, its oral presentation, discussion and assessment,
    • A half-day technical visit of urban water management equipments in the Val-de-Marne county,
    • An evening session of public presentation and discussion of the summary of an international survey, conducted by all workshop participants, on drinking water resource, production and distribution conditions in selected towns of all continents.

  • Professional network

Since its start in 2002, 211 students, issued from 53 countries spread over all continents, have participated to its 12 editions: a table of these participants is available either in alphabetical order or by edition group.

During the summer of 2010, it has been suggested to all participants of previous WWW-YES editions, to build a free profile on Linked In and to join the Urban water’ group of former and possible future WWW-YES participants, requesting such registration to Daniel Thevenot moderator of this group. Through this group, discussions, common news, announcements of conferences and workshops and position request/availability are shared by all group members.

  • Conclusion

In conclusion the capacity building objectives of the WWW-YES workshop are focussed on 8 major tasks of an environmental scientist who wishes to reach an international expertise level:

  1. Ability to present, discuss and build collaborations using English as a communication language,
  2. Prepare a well formatted and structured scientific paper according to International Water Association guidelines,
  3. Prepare a review report on a paper submitted for publication in an international journal, make general comments and prepare specific questions to the author(s),
  4. Chair a scientific presentation and discussion on a topic not closely related to your own one, i.e. moderate the discussion, find justified questions if necessary, control the discussion time,
  5. Build an international work group including both nature and human scientists, working efficiently on a common goal,
  6. Simulate the building-up of a collaborative research project according to an international call, to limited preparation time, to strict format constrains and to justify it for an international expert panel,
  7. Conduct a scientific survey on drinking water services in a given city and collect both technical, economical and social data, the 3 major pillars of a sustainable development approach,
  8. Present and discuss environmental or sustainable development issues to/with an non specialised public made of elected representatives and local citizens.

Furthermore, the informal approach used during some parts of the WWW-YES workshop is using actor roles or games, but very ’serious’ ones, since they actually simulate international searcher activities, such as group work or research project development under very limited time availability.

Feed-back from recent WWW-YES participants is available on this site.