COST Action Blog: getting involved with NEXUSNET


Mykonos, Greece: an amazing place for networking with the wonderful NEXUSNET people

Blogs are written by COST Actions

Three green leaves coming out from a central nucleus with NexusNet written in grey below

COST Action NEXUSNET is an international network of researchers collaborating with universities, research institutions, policymakers and the business sector to better understand how the water-energy-food Nexus fosters policy coherence and biophysical interactions in the domains of water, energy and food, supporting the transition towards a circular and low-carbon economy in Europe. The network focuses on job creation, enhancing well-being, establishing broad synergies, and care for the environment.

It is June 6, 2022, and while the plane is flying above the island, I am looking at all those white houses with blue windows and doors, surrounded by rocks. The turquoise sea was putting its ‘’arms’’ around the island. I still cannot believe that I am here! My first time on a Greek island and my first time participating in an international event like this. It is hard to explain the mixed emotions – the thrill of being here, the pride of being offered a chance, the fear of the unknown, and the concern of whether I will justify the given opportunity. The 4th Core Group Meeting and Working Groups meetings of the COST Action CA20138 Network on Water-Energy-Food Nexus for a Low-Carbon Economy in Europe and Beyond (NEXUSNET) are taking place at Myconian Imperial Resort from June 7-8, and I am part of it. But let us go back a few weeks before to see how I got here in the first place.

As a member of the WG5 of NEXUSNET, I and all other members of this working group received the email from the WG5 Leader, Ms. Naomi Timmer, the director of H2O People, to participate in the group activities and help in drafting the first Short-Term Scientific Missions (STSMs) call. This was my first time participating in a COST Action, and I am still unfamiliar with the rules. NEXUSNET aims to empower collaborations between EU and international researchers and stakeholders, synthesize the existing empirical Nexus research and produce an intellectual toolkit, demonstrating a clear link to improved resource management and governance outcomes that underlie the value of Nexus. It is organised in six WGs and strongly encourages young researchers and innovators (<40 years old) to participate.

Although I had zero experience drafting such calls before, I was eager to learn new things and volunteered to help Naomi with this activity. She was more than helpful and encouraging during the process. But guess what, it was not hard at all! I was happy to fulfill this activity on time and satisfied that I was part of the team. A few days later, I received another email from Naomi inviting me to join the Core Group Meeting and Working Group meetings in Mykonos; the rest is history. However, I still cannot believe this is happening to me. Let me explain more so you get a picture of how I feel.

Have you ever been hard-working and enthusiastic about your job or whatever you are doing, but then the credit goes to someone who did not put a finger in the whole process? This was the story of my life for a very long-time. I have often been in similar situations with more than 15 years of work experience and over ten years in higher education and science. I often wondered if it was me or the system, and as time passed, I realised it did not matter. What does matter is to do your job honestly and fairly, the best you can, and someone will certainly recognise the effort, enthusiasm, and hard work and eventually give credit for it. So, whenever you think of giving up and letting to the stream, think of this story and this opportunity. Furthermore, who knows, maybe you are next to join this wonderful group of people at some other amazing place.

It is day one in Mykonos, and I arrive just in time to meet with the group; Prof Chrysi Laspidou – the Action Chair, Dr Floor Brouwer – the Action Vice-Chair, and Dr Giannis Adamos – the Project Manager, are presenting the strategic plan of NEXUSNET. The vivid discussion among the Core Group and WG members about the coordination of the WGs and the progress of activities within each WG is opening new perspectives for future research and next steps. The day ends with an informal dinner and a heart full of impressions.

Day 2 in Mykonos is much more relaxing. I feel like part of the team; this emotion is also evident among other participants. The energy is floating around the table, new ideas are being born, and great plans are set for the next meeting. Last but not least, pictures must be taken with the wonderful NEXUS people in the amazing place of Mykonos. Thank you all for this great experience, friendship, and support! I hope to see you very soon again!

I have left the island with an amazing feeling of satisfaction and fulfillment. And also with new tasks for future activities. The Water-Energy-Food (WEF) Nexus has had widespread attention in the last decade, with several projects funded by the European Commission and national and/or international funding programs, such as FP7, Horizon 2020, PRIMA, LIFE+, Interreg, UN, and others. Funded projects focused on various Nexus sectors creating a range of Nexus themes and demonstrating different strengths and weaknesses of the Nexus approach. The Nexus traditionally includes WEF but could also expand to include Ecosystem, Biodiversity, Health, Land, Soil, Waste, and others. Various approaches have been used to engage stakeholders, quantify interlinkages, render the Nexus operational in the field, and demonstrate its values. You can join the NEXUS research community and seize these opportunities.

Last but not least is my message to you all around the globe. Are you eager for new knowledge, ready for networking, enthusiastic, and innovative? Join us in the Working Groups and meet these wonderful NEXUSNET people; you will realise, just as I did, that with them, even the sky is not the limit. Let us move the boundaries together and come up with inspiring ideas for new collaborative actions!


Dr Tamara Rađenović is an Economist at the Faculty of Occupational Safety at the University of Niš, Serbia.

More information

View the Action webpage

View the network website

Follow NEXUSNET on Twitter @NexusNet_CA

Cover photo @ Aleksandar Pasaric

Portrait photo of a woman with long curly brown hear wearing glasses dressed in a black suit