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Collaboration on Odense Fjord and Funen to inspire other EU countries

Several researchers from SDU are involved in a new EU project seeking effective solutions for improving water quality and climate adaptation across Europe.

By Birgitte Svennevig, , 2/6/2024

Experiences from work on nature-based solutions on Funen garner attention in the EU, allocating approximately DKK 140 million for a project aimed at strengthening efforts to improve the health of Odense Fjord and providing knowledge to other countries in the European region.

The choice has, among other factors, fallen on Funen due to an existing public-private collaboration focused on enhancing water conditions in Odense Fjord, namely Odense Fjord Samarbejdet.

– Denmark's contribution will emphasize the entire water cycle. What happens when water moves across larger areas and between municipalities? Simultaneously, we will direct attention towards creating resilient cities capable of withstanding future weather and climate impacts. SDU's expertise comes into play, as many solutions improving water conditions overlap with those promoting climate resilience, says Gary Banta, head of the Department of Biology.

What are nature based solutions? 

Nature-based solutions are initiatives rooted in the natural environment, designed to address challenges such as climate change, environmental pollution, and biodiversity crises. An example of a nature-based solution is replacing dikes with marshes, allowing water to ebb and flow naturally. 

Such solutions may include reestablishment of the natural hydrology, wetlands, re-meandering of rivers, reopening watercourses and in urban areas wet vegetated stormwater ponds, bioswales along the roads and other green approaches for managing water and nature-based climate adaptation.

The overall contribution from SDU biologists is to support Funen's municipalities in assessing and implementing the best rural and urban nature-based solutions, not only for climate mitigation and water quality but also for biodiversity.

The Faculty of Health Sciences is also participating, with the Danish Center for Motivation and Behavioral Science contributing to understanding what motivates or inhibits individuals in adopting nature-based solutions, incorporating research in psychology and economics.

In return for its participation, Denmark receives experiences from other countries regarding the complex legislative work necessary for climate adaptation. These experiences will be crucial components in the ongoing efforts to create a lasting impact from the research project.

About the project

  • ARCADIA is a pan-European project with 42 partners.
  • Leading partners include Denmark, Italy, Sweden, Austria, and Croatia, each having a model region where specific research projects will take place.
  • The project is funded by the EU's research programme, Horizon EU, with approximately DKK 140 million, of which around DKK 20 million is allocated to Danish participants.

Danish project partners

  • Odense Fjord Samarbejdet
  • University of Southern Denmark
  • VandCenter Syd
  • Region of Southern Denmark
  • City of Odense

For more information, visit and (in Danish).

SDU participants 

  • Gary Banta, marine ecologist and head of the Department of Biology. Affiliated to the SDU Climate Cluster.

  • Sara Egemose, biologist and associate professor, Department of Biology. Affiliated to the SDU Climate Cluster and the Centre for Research in Science Education and Communication.

  • Paula Canal-Vergés, assistant professor, Department of Biology. 

  • Mogens Flindt, professor of Marine Biology, Department of Biology. 

  • Nikos Ntoumanis, professor of Motivation Science, Department of Sports Science and Biomechanics. Affiliated to the Danish Center for Motivation and Behavioral Science.

  • Cecilie Thøgersen-Ntoumanis, professor of Psychology of Physical Activity and Health, Department of Sports Science and Biomechanics. Affiliated to the Danish Center for Motivation and Behavioral Science.

Editing was completed: 06.02.2024