Research on water ‘grand challenges' gets £3.9M boost
A new £3.9M research project has been announced involving six universities and 26 companies from across the UK water sector, aiming to address the sector's key future challenges.
The project, led by the University of Sheffield, will focus on the UK water sector’s responses to the challenges of population growth, ageing infrastructure and climate change. It has been given a slice of the £21M ‘Engineering Grand Challenges’ funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), announced on Friday by the Science Minister, Jo Johnson.
Named TWENTY 65 (Tailored Water to Ensure sustainability beyond 2065), the project will ensure flexible and adaptive water systems by developing multiple solutions and technologies that can be ‘tailored’ to suit specific circumstances. The academic partners – the Universities of Sheffield, Exeter, Manchester and Reading, Newcastle University and Imperial College London - will undertake research across eight technical themes, focusing on demand based technologies, social practices, water energy systems to minimise carbon emissions and the use of robotic autonomous systems for infrastructure inspection and repair.
The project will also create a Hub involving ten water companies, their supply chain and academic researchers to encourage shared idea generation, strategic roadmapping, networking, innovation stimulation and research leadership.
This combination of multi-disciplinary academic research and collaborative work with the UK water sector will enable the TWENTY 65 project team to lead UK and international transformation in the sustainable supply of safe water.
Professor Joby Boxall, from the University of Sheffield’s Faculty of Engineering and Director of Sheffield Water Centre, who will head the TWENTY 65 project, said: “Water supply is the foundation of society, but a service we are privileged to be able to take for granted in the UK. There is no single solution to the sustainable supply of safe clean water for the future. Our vision is that by 2065, collaborative innovation has generated a water sector that is delivering sustainable tailored water solutions that positively impact on public health, the environment, the economy and society.
“New approaches and models for collaborative working across the water sector are an essential part of the project. We have support pledged from over 50 partners and will be looking to get more organisations on board.”
“This is a truly unique and exciting opportunity to take a long-term view of how we can develop and implement technology to deliver transformative change.”
Following the announcement, Universities and Science Minister, Jo Johnson, said: “As a One Nation Government we are investing in world-class science and engineering across our country. We want the UK to be the best place in Europe to innovate and this £3.9M investment will bring Sheffield’s researchers together with researchers across the nation to address some of the most pressing engineering challenges we face. This investment will help tackle our ageing water infrastructure to improve the lives of millions of people around the world.”
The project was developed in response to an EPSRC call in early 2015 which set out four Engineering Grand Challenges, developed through a two day event involving academics from many disciplines, representatives from industry and government.
- Fast-track price determination a credit positive for Affinity, says Moody's Ofwat's decision to pre-qualify Affinity Water and South West Water (SWW) for a fast-tracked price determination will be... Read More >
- Government states resilience commitments in climate report The Government has restated its commitment to building resilience against flooding and drought in a new report which... Read More >
- CIWEM calls for FCERM funding to be extended The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) is calling on the government to extend funding for... Read More >
- Through the keyhole: The King's Scholars' Pond project The use of keyhole engineering on Thames Water's King's Scholars' Pond project saved money and carbon while keeping London... Read More >
- Anglian and ESW join forces on Innovate East Essex & Suffolk Water and Anglian Water came together to stage a three-day innovation event in September, producing a raft... Read More >
- Has offsite manufacturing's moment arrived? Rich Matthews, managing director at Siltbuster Process Solutions, believes it is time for the water sector to reap the... Read More >
- Innovation Zone: AIR-VAC micro vacuum excavator The AIR-VAC micro vacuum excavator was built for excavating around congested buried live utilities in areas with limited... Read More >
- Time to get smart Mike Strahand, a director of the Sensors for Water Interest Group and MD at Analytical Technologies Inc., says the... Read More >