Institute of Coastal Research

DANUBIUS-RI: International Centre for Advanced Studies on River-Sea Systems

DANUBIUS-RI (Research Infrastructure) is a long-term, European and interdisciplinary infrastructural research initiative for studying river-sea systems. The research infrastructure is to enable scientists to cohesively observe the river catchment areas, the rivers themselves, the transitional waters - such as estuaries and deltas - as well as their adjacent seas. The aim is to develop improved process and system understanding to cope with existing and future challenges in rivers and their adjacent seas, to ensure sustainable management and to maintain valuable ecosystem services.

Partners from Sixteen European Countries Working Together

DANUBIUS-RI is currently organised as a distributed infrastructure with partners from sixteen European countries. The GeoEcoMar research institute in Romania coordinates DANUBIUS-RI. The “hub” and data center is also to be located there.

In addition, a technology transfer office is located in Ireland and four thematic “nodes” are distributed at different locations in Europe. These nodes plan and coordinate the core scientific elements of DANUBIUS-RI: Observation systems (Plymouth Marine Laboratory, UK), Analytics (German Federal Institute of Hydrology, Germany), Modelling (Institute of Marine Sciences, Italy) and Socio-Economics of river-sea systems (Deltares, Netherlands).

Currently the river-sea systems at eight locations (“supersites”) used as examples are under investigation: the upper, middle and lower Danube, Elbe, Thames, Ebro, Po and Nestos, as well as their adjacent seas. The inclusion of other supersites is possible under certain conditions.

The German Federal Institute of Hydrology coordinates the German activities in DANUBIUS-RI and the Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht coordinates the Elbe-North Sea supersite. Interdisciplinary knowledge on the natural processes and their interactions within the entire river-sea system as well as impacts from human activity including climate change are required for sustainable management of the Elbe and North Sea. Regional stakeholders have the opportunity to become partners in the Elbe-North Sea supersite. Furthermore, in the preparatory project DANUBIUS-PP, the Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht is leading the development of the “Science and Innovation Agenda” - that is, the research focal points - for DANUBIUS-RI.

DANUBIUS-RI Receives the European Quality Seal

DANUBIUS-RI was included in the roadmap of the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) in 2016. ESFRI projects are selected based on their scientific excellence and readiness. The inclusion in the roadmap is to underline its strategic importance for the European research infrastructure system and to support its timely implementation.


Four million Euros from the European research and innovation program Horizon 2020 (Grant Agreement Nr. 739562) have been made available for the preparatory phase of DANUBIUS-RI. The DANUBIUS-PP (Preparatory Phase) began at the end of 2016 and runs to the end of 2019. It is to create the scientific, organisational and financial basis for establishing and operating DANUBIUS-RI. The preparatory and implementation phase is expected to be completed in 2022. Operation of DANUBIUS-RI is planned for a period of more than thirty years.

Further Information and Contacts at the Institute of Coastal Research


Dr. Jana Friedrich
Dr. Jana Friedrich

Phone: +49 (0)4152 87-1891

E-mail contact