Reactive nitrogen loss from energy production and agricultural practices can cause a host of different environmental and human health problems. Addressing these problems individually has proven inadequate and quite unsuccessful. Nevertheless, policy approaches to tackle nitrogen problems are still oriented according to problem areas and environmental media.
Scientific approaches to tackle reactive nitrogen as a cross-cutting topic exist. Also, from an industrial viewpoint (whether agricultural industry or manufacturing industry), limiting regulations to one consistent set rather than having to deal with quite different demands and regulations from individual policy angles is widely seen as a benefit.
Goals for the Centre
INI-Europe has been active in providing appropriate information on the scientific background as well as Europe-focused regional approaches to adjust to the (for most of Europe) nitrogen excess in the environment. In line with the overall timeline of INI (see our leaflet, which also provides a more comprehensive description of INI), which follows a 15-year perspective starting from 2003, INI-Europe now needs to focus on the 3rd phase of development, looking towards ways to implementing scientific, engineering and policy tools to solve nitrogen related problems in an integrated fashion. Its three main goals are to:
- Facilitate enhanced cooperation and integration among European researchers, policy makers and practitioners to cover environmental issues related to reactive nitrogen (Nr);
- Develop mechanisms to motivate European nitrogen scientists and others to contribute to more integrated policy development;
- Promote awareness raising and communication – foster a network of ‘Nitrogen Ambassadors’.
Key topic areas
- Regional N budgets and N pathways/emissions
- Nitrogen in the food chain - consumption and waste
- Impacts on terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems
- Air and water mediated impacts on human health
- N footprinting and understanding N losses to the environment
Current INI Europe Centre Director and Steering Committee
Dr Kevin Hicks took up the position of the INI Europe Centre Director in January 2017, and is supported by the INI-Europe steering committee.
the INI-Europe steering committee consists of:
- Bruna Grizzetti: European Commission Joint Research Centre (Ispra, Italy)
- Hans van Grinsven: PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (Bilthoven, NL)
- Maren Voss: Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research Warnemuende (IOW) (Germany)
- Wim de Vries: ALTERRA (Wageningen University, the Netherlands)
- Cláudia Cordovil: Instituto Superior de Agronomia (Portugal)
History of INI Europe
The European Centre of the International Nitrogen Initiative (INI-Europe) was originally established as one of the regional centres of INI on January 1st 2004 based at the Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN), with Jan-Willem Erisman as the INI-Europe director. It coordinated the ESF-programme “Nitrogen in Europe” and the COST action 729 “Assessing and managing nitrogen fluxes in the atmosphere-biosphere system in Europe”.
In early 2007, the secretariat moved to the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH), Edinburgh with Mark Sutton taking over as the second director of the INI-Europe. The European Nitrogen Assessment (ENA) published in 2011, was a key highlight under the leadership of Mark Sutton.
Between 2013-2016, INI-Europe was based at the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna, with Wilfried Winiwarter, Senior Research Scholar with IIASA (International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis) Austria, serving as director.