MERLIN Academy

Here we will build up the MERLIN Academy on freshwater ecosystem restoration and nature-based solutions including topics like innovative restoration techniques, fundraising, restoration governance and monitoring.

The MERLIN Academy will be an online learning place that can be accessed by its registered users any time and that allows interactive learning options and keep track of the learning progress while its completion. It will be open to any interested person and will be organised in three different curricula addressing

  • administration and managers
  • restoration practitioners
  • the scientific community with focus on students

Technically, the courses of the MERLIN Academy will include live webinars, online training workshops, recorded e-learning sessions (webinars or presentations) accessible for users at any time. Content-wise this will include for example the presentation of best practice restoration projects, technical guidance, the development of regional scalability plans, large-scale upscaling strategies, Cost-Benefit-Analysis, interactive maps on benefits of restoration measures, community and sector involvement as well as institutional arrangement strategies.

Additionally, the MERLIN Academy will host a knowledge centre that will include short videos and animations, manuals and state-of-the-art guidance documents related to for example spatial configuration of restoration measures within a catchment, benefits of different restoration types on ecosystem services and biodiversity, design standards for certain nature-based solution restoration methods, synergies of nature-based solutions/restoration with various sectors, a governance framework for successful restoration as well as financing strategies for restoration on different spatial scales or sector-specific strategies for restoration synergies. The knowledge centre will be complimented by a glossary of terms and a library of recommended scientific reading (a glossary of freshwater terms is already available on the Freshwater Information Platform).

Next webinar

#22: Mai 06 2024, 15h (CEST)

Working with Nature-based solutions in the Nordics – going from words to actions

Leonard Sandin, Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, Oslo

Summary: In this seminar we will summarize parts of the Nordic Council of Ministers four-year visions program on Nature-based solutions. The presentation will be based on two main parts, the S-UMMATION project focusing on a status overview and mapping of nature-based solutions in the Nordic countries. This includes policy framework(s), what challenges do Nordic countries experience in the process of mainstreaming NBS, and highlighting some key examples of projects implementing NBS. The methods used include a review of the academic literature, providing insights on the status of research, a grey literature review in each Nordic country, to describe the policy framework for NBS and practical implementation of NBS projects, a compilation of a Nordic NBS case projects catalogue, which contains implemented case projects using NBS in all major ecosystems: terrestrial (forests and agricultural land), freshwater, coastal and marine. The second part of the presentation will focus on the follow-up S-UMMATION project, presenting findings of practical experiences with nature-based solutions (NBS) in the Nordics. Here we will present insights from eight ongoing NBS pilot projects where we had the ambition to harvest insights to support effective and efficient implementation of NBS and to enable transferability and upscaling.  The information comes from interviews and workshops with the project leaders and team members, in addition to information from project descriptions and other written material. The findings focus on the shared key insight deriving from the pilot projects that are important for the development of NBS in the region. One of the main findings highlight the importance of involving landowners and land ownership aspects in NBS implementation.

Leonard Sandin is a Deputy Research Director at the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA) Oslo office. Sandin has a background in river ecology focusing on restoration, climate change mitigation, and human impacts on organisms, ecosystem functioning and services. More recently his focus has been on Nature-based solutions. He has led and co-led several multidisciplinary projects as well as several synthesis and review projects which includes the Nordic Council of Ministers project S-ITUATION, S-UMMATION and is currently co-leading the GuideNBS project. Other major projects he has led include FRESHREST (Freshwater landscapes – management and restoration with climate change), EKOLIV (Ecological and economical strategies to optimise hydropower related environmental measures), and ECOHAB (Improvement and evaluation of connectivity and habitat quality for sustainable hydropower). He has also worked on numerous EU funded projects on freshwater ecosystems, biodiversity, climate change and similar topics.


The webinars are open and free for anyone to join.


Previous webinars

How does agriculture affect river ecology?

Christian Schürings
(University of Duisburg-Essen)

Barrier removal for river restoration: on the EU ambition of 25.000 km of free-flowing rivers

Wouter van de Bund
(European Commission – Joint Research Centre)

The Eddleston Water project – what has worked, and what have we learned about Natural Flood management and how to deliver it?

Chris J. Spray
(Tweed Forum / UNESCO Centre of Water Law, Policy & Science, University of Dundee)

Investing in nature-based solutions? – Finance for nature in Europe

Stephen Hart (Eurpean Investment Bank)

Transforming Freshwater Restoration through Nature-based Solutions - Working with Six Economic Sectors

Kirsty Blackstock (James Hutton Institute)

Give me five peatland restoration strategies

Dominik Henrik Zak (Institute of Ecoscience, Aarhus University)

State of European freshwaters - Restoration needs and potentials

Paulo Branco (Forest Research Centre)

HORA 3D risk assessment tool

Thomas Hlatky (GRAWE)

Upscaling freshwater ecosystem restoration: the MERLIN approach (part 1)

Tom Buijse (Deltares)

Practical applications of Nature-based Solutions in river restoration and management

Hamish Moir (cbec)

Nature Impact Tokens as a means unlock "nature positive" investment

Paul Jepson – (creditnature Ltd)

The EU nature restoration law: an opportunity for scaling-up the restoration of freshwater ecosystems.

Claire Baffert (WWF European Policy Office) & Eva Mayerhofer (European Investment Bank)

Strategic Monitoring to Learn from Nature-Based Solutions and Natural Infrastructure Projects

Dr. Charles B. van Rees (University of Georgia)

Corporate and private funding - its value for conservation

Louis Costa (MAVA Foundation)

Freeing rivers – restoration strategies in the state of Maine & implications for expanding the movement in Europe

Joshua L. Royte (The Nature Conservancy)

Monitoring and Evaluation of Nature-Based Solutions – thinking outside the box!

Kerry Waylen (James Hutton Institute)

Rewilding rivers in the Odra catchment – What is rewilding and why is it important?

Peter Torkel (Rewilding Oder Delta - Team Leader Poland)

Wetland restoration – Holy Grail or opening Pandora’s box of vector-borne and zoonotic disease risk?

Frauke Ecke (SLU)

Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services: Insights from IPBES and IPCC Intergovernmental Processes

Josef Settele (UFZ)

Why freshwater ecosystem restoration makes (economic) sense

Sien Kok (Deltares) & Sanja Prokrajac (WWF)