Author(s): Many Authors
Keywords: Proceedings; Young Professionals Congress
Humankind tends to adopt a negative vision of its reality, this is a defense and adaptation mechanism. We are living in a very dynamic world, constantly bombarded by the news media that daily reminds us how bad we are to the environment, to our overpopulated earth, how we have produced mass extinctions, global warming, deforestation… you name it! We are milking the earth. How we deal with nature is probably the cause of the 2020 pandemic. No doubt this has been a very dark year for humanity. Based on this logic, the Armageddon should be right at the corner. But this is not new, more than 200 years ago the demographer Thomas Robert Malthus stated human needs would soon outweigh the world’s resources. Covid-19 may has struck us, nevertheless on 2021 the life expectancy almost doubles the one from Malthus’ times. Science and technology made this possible, we have altered nature up to the point that we have called our period the Anthropocene. Yet, there is plenty of room for life in the Anthropocene and its quality highly depends on us, on how we address and how we deploy science and technology. These proceedings are just a sample of the world’s youth caring and working for a better hydro-environment.
The context of 2020 has brought us the chance to develop and foster our skills on remote working. Many events have been postponed, others have gone online, and new initiatives have emerged. One of them has been the 1st IAHR Online Congress for Young Professionals, where 109 research contributions have been presented to an audience of 924 young researchers and practitioners connected from 88 different countries. Without the physical travelling constraints of the face-to-face congresses, the virtual congress enabled the exchange of scientific advance among the IAHR youth community at an unprecedented scale. Modern world problems related with the UN Sustainable Development Goals have been tackled in special sessions such as the one on Climate Change Adaptation, Water Resources Management and Global Water Security. A keynote lecture on the topic was also provided by Angelos Findikakis (IAHR Liaison to UN Water). The congress has also brought to light scientific contributions on the classic fields of hydraulics research, such as the ones presented in the special sessions on Fluid Mechanics, Fluvial Hydraulics or Hydraulic Structures. Even the newly created working group on Transient Flows has had a special session with great participation. Moreover, emergent disciplines like the ones on Ecohydraulics or Hydroinformatics have proved consolidation among the IAHR youth.
An International Scientific Committee (ISC) formed by 45 prestigious researchers representing the 19 IAHR Technical Committees have supported the congress with a high quality peer-review process. The ISC members have been also involved as chairs moderating the congress sessions. Their role has been crucial to make lively discussions with authors and attendees, bringing added value to the extended abstracts and presented posters. Fostering mentoring by means of connecting IAHR senior researchers to young professionals has been as well one of the aims of the congress. The benevolent willingness of the ISC members to help young professionals made this possible. The role of IAHR Madrid secretariat has been also decisive. They have provided the framework, as they always do, but this time the challenge was especial, the conference venue was virtual. From the conceptualization of the online congress idea until its final execution, passing by the peer-review platform, communications, venue and the present proceedings. The support from IAHR Madrid secretariat has been incalculable.
Hydro-environmental research and engineering does not understand of nationality nor age or gender, but unfortunately its development and deployment does depend on them. The organizers hope to have contributed on bringing these constraints down. We are taking a long list of takeaways out from this enriching first experience. We wish the proceedings readers to have a joyful read and hope to (e)meet you again in the next 2nd IAHR Online Congress for Young Professionals.