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Major new awards seek innovative solutions to restore Europe’s rivers, lakes and wetlands

November 4, 2022

As we regularly document on this blog, freshwaters are among the most globally threatened ecosystems. And, as the latest MERLIN podcast explored, while restoration projects are increasingly popular across the continent, there is an urgent need for new approaches which both benefit nature and are financially sustainable.

The new MERLIN Innovation Awards (MIA) 2023 aims to showcase cutting-edge products and services which help protect and restore increasingly threatened freshwater ecosystems. The awards seek submissions of innovative, widely applicable, and market-ready solutions from companies and organisations across the world.

Applications are open for companies across the world in two categories: MIA Product of the Year and MIA Service of the Year.

The MERLIN Innovation Awards offer companies a unique opportunity to pitch their innovative products and services to seventeen European freshwater restoration project managers, as well as other key decision makers and stakeholders. Selected companies will automatically be included in the MERLIN Marketplace, an online portal which features best-practice approaches to freshwater restoration, due for launch in 2023.

“Innovative solutions for inland water restoration are increasingly sought after. The MERLIN Innovation Awards will reach out to the vibrant community of solution providers and allow them to showcase their products and services to restoration practitioners across Europe. Let us grow together with this initiative,” says Dr. Sebastian Birk, co-coordinator of the MERLIN project at the University of Duisburg-Essen.

The MERLIN Innovation Awards aim to connect companies developing state-of-the-art approaches for ecosystem restoration to potential buyer organisations. The Awards provide a unique opportunity for companies to join the rapidly-growing global freshwater ecosystem restoration community, and to offer innovative solutions to help address pressing environmental issues and benefit nature and society.

The MERLIN Innovation Awards 2023 application deadline is 22nd December 2022 (17:00 CET). The independent MIA jury will comprise freshwater restoration managers from the MERLIN project and other related stakeholders with backgrounds in business, NGOs or administration.

For any additional questions, you can consult the Awards webpage and FAQs or contact


This article is supported by the MERLIN project.

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