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European research project to use smart tech to tackle water issues

More than half a million pounds has been invested into a new European project that will see smart technologies and state-of-the-art sensors used in a bid to tackle global water challenges and create a new generation of researchers.

Birmingham City University and Greek technology firm Singular Logic have been handed €761,644 (£665,966) by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Networks scheme.

The funds will be used to train a team of researchers who will be tasked with helping solve major global issues such as water loss and water wastage.

The four-year project, named Internet of Things Smart Water Innovative Networks (IoT4Win), will see academics work alongside industry partners in the UK, Romania, Greece and Spain to find ways to improve the efficiency of water systems. 

An array of smart technology sensors will be put to work to monitor and provide real-time updates on the quality, quantity and demand for water in urban areas and find new ways to provide accessible and affordable water.

The developed technology could have a major impact on future policy by finding ways to improve the efficiency and performance of water systems across the UK and Europe.

Three researchers will be appointed to the scheme and earn PhDs from Birmingham City University as part of the project to create a legacy of knowledge in the smart water sector, which could transform the way water utility companies and authorities operate in the future. 

Wenyan Wu, professor in advanced system engineering at Birmingham City University and lead investigator on IoT4Win, said: “With the rise in smart technology we now have a real opportunity to rethink how we view some everyday problems, and can gain a level of insight into issues of water we would never have been able to get before.

“This project presents a real opportunity for us to use sensor technologies, and the growth in the Internet of Things, to transform how we look at our water systems. 

“Not only will this scheme help address some of the challenges facing the world right now, but it will also help ensure there is a lasting legacy by expanding the knowledge and understanding we have about water systems.”

Other partners involved in the project are United Utilities Plc in North West England and Madrid-based engineering consultancy Aqua-Consult Ingenieros.

It is hoped that the initiative will help spawn generation of researchers in the field and create a legacy of knowledge that can help create long-term solutions for water systems across the world.

Data outputs from the project will be made publically available so that they can be used to help shape future industry initiatives and government policy.

Professor Hanifa Shah, associate dean for research and enterprise at Birmingham City University, said: “This is the first grant of its kind to be awarded to Birmingham City University and we are delighted to be at the forefront of looking at how new technologies can transform our approaches to water engineering in urban environments.

“Using the longstanding expertise of our academics in advanced sensors, ICT and the Internet of Things we will be able to pass on knowledge and hopefully have a lasting impact through the training of the researchers on this project.

“This project epitomises our commitment to working in partnership and joining up academic expertise with industry partners while training and developing doctoral researchers.”

Author: Robin Hackett, Deputy Editor, WWT and WET News
Topic: Innovation , Water Resource Management
Tags: Innovation , European Union

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