water@leeds is making a splash

Colleagues across campus are invited to help tackle some of the biggest global issues affecting humanity through a series of pioneering new projects.

Water-based research can take academics to some of the most extreme environments on Earth. Picture by Dr Jonathan Carrivick

water@leeds marks its tenth anniversary by launching a survey to find and prioritise the most significant water-based research questions for the future.

Since its launch in 2009, water@leeds has grown to become the largest interdisciplinary centre for water-based research and training in any university in the world. 

Building on its reputation of collaborative research and industry partnerships, the centre’s survey offers the opportunity for input from across disciplines to direct research, policy and resources towards addressing major global water challenges.

Dr Gabriela Lopez-Gonzalez, water@leeds Co-ordinator, said: “When water@leeds launched, we closely worked with external non-academic partners to find out their needs, and this has helped make sure that during the past decade we have been able to deliver high quality, applied research with economical and societal impact. 

“This new global survey will enable us to refresh our focus and connect our research to global partners, unlocking new routes to success and ensuring we continue to make a difference to people’s lives.”

Anniversary celebrations 

The survey, which runs until Friday 26 July 2019, is one of several activities water@leeds has planned to celebrate its landmark anniversary.

Nexus – the University’s new innovation centre – will host several water-themed events between April and December, giving entrepreneurs and water-related start-ups the opportunity to meet academics and technical specialists from Leeds and learn about the new technologies in their sector.

These events will complement the biggest research showcase water@leeds has ever held on campus, due to take place in September, as well as the publication of the second edition of the water@leeds interdisciplinary textbook and a series of charity fundraising events being held in aid of international and regional water charities.

Visit the water@leeds website for further information about the 10th anniversary events.

water@leeds aims to improve water security for some of the most vulnerable people on the planet

Ambitious new initiative 

Since its inception, water@leeds members from all faculties at Leeds have aimed to answer major questions about water and its future security.

Eighty per cent of the world’s population lives in areas threatened by water security, made worse by pressures such as pollution, urbanisation and land degradation, while about one billion people are exposed to flooding, mainly in Asia and Africa.

water@leeds researchers are key partners in the £17.7m Water Security and Sustainable Development Hub – an ambitious new initiative established by UK Research and Innovation, as part of the Global Challenges Research Fund. 

The hub is an international partnership of 55 organisations from 12 countries, and will collect scientific data and engage with stakeholders – from local communities to government ministries – to improve water security across the planet. 

Dr Miller Alonso Camargo-Valero, from water@leeds and the School of Civil Engineering, the co-principal investigator, said: “This new project will help identify the barriers holding back the delivery of sustainable water services by considering the multi-dimensional complexity of water.

"It will incorporate a wider range of perspectives, including religion, environment, gender, social circumstances and culture, that take into account the need for equity and the basic needs of the poor and the vulnerable.”

Looking to the future 

water@leeds also has a significant role in training the next generation of water-focussed scientists and engineers.

The new Leeds-hosted Centre for Doctoral Training in Water and Waste Infrastructure Systems Engineered for Resilience (Water-WISER) aims to contribute to knowledge about sustainable water, sanitation and waste management services. This information will be used to improve infrastructure and services for the poorest and most marginalised members of global society.

The Centre is led by Professor Barbara Evans, from the School of Civil Engineering and water@leeds. Funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, Water-WISER is operated in partnership with Cranfield and Loughborough Universities.

Locally, water@leeds also runs the £6m Natural Environment Research Council-funded Integrated Catchment Solutions Programme (iCASP), which works with dozens of regional government, business and NGO organisations to help embed interdisciplinary water-related research into practice and policy, leading to more than £50m of socio-economic benefits.

Please contact Dr Lopez-Gonzalez for questions relating to the survey, or email water@leeds.ac.uk for details of how you can get involved in its events and projects.

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