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  • 11/07/18

    Professor Hillmyer to help develop framework for water research center

Professor Marc Hillmyer is part of a team of five University of Minnesota investigators developing a framework for a research center addressing growing concerns about the quality and amount of water available to the world's population, ultimately, leading to innovations on how water is treated and managed.

Additional investigators are William Arnold and Paige Novak from Civil, Environmental, and Geo-Engineering, Alptekin Aksan from Mechanical Engineering, and Timothy Smith from Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering. The investigators received a $94,000 planning grant from the National Science Foundation’s Engineering Research Center program for their project, “Engineering Research Center for Advancing a Circular Water Economy (ACWa-Econ).” The planning grant will be used to develop a framework focused on: 

  1. increasing capacity for research that has an impact on the circular water economy;
  2. enhancing a culture of inclusion within a research enterprise;
  3. strengthening relationships between water-focused researchers and the industrial, non-profit, government, and community partners; and
  4. educating the team about various leadership and management approaches and their benefits and challenges.

The investigators will conduct a series of workshops, bringing together experts who address risk, systems-level thinking, treatment, and the economic impact of water stress and water reuse. Those workshops will include scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, social scientists, industry representatives, and stakeholders. A primary goal is to include people who see problems and solutions differently by nature of their cultural, racial, gender, or ethnic identification.

The planning will hopefully lead to a center that will make smart water reuse a reality and develop leadership among those involved with the effort to facilitate solutions to the problem of water-stress.