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A Workshop for Creating a Water Education and Innovative Ecosystem


1619958<br/>Oates<br/><br/>Population growth and the concomitant need for more food and energy are stressing the ability of cities, regions, and nations to provide safe, abundant, and affordable water to all. The additional uncertainty in the climate, the rapid depletion of the world's aquifers, urbanization, and the industrialization of developing economies, all indicate that humanity is in the midst of a water crisis. These challenges have far reaching implications for global security, ecosystem health and economic development, as well as the health safety of both the wealthy and the poor. The principal investigators (PIs) propose to bring together a working group of educators, industry partners, and government officials that will participate in a one day planning workshop to develop a larger regional conference for the broader New England water community. The PIs believe the workshops and conferences will catalyze a New England Water Education Ecosystem that will identify, address, and share solutions to improve water supply abundance, access and safety.<br/><br/>The challenges of solving problems related to safe, abundant, and affordable water supply are critical to the regional, national, and global security. The workshops will be in the northeast incorporating universities ready to tackle these emerging water problems, and partners in industry are critical to the implementation and commercialization of new technologies. In 2014, a small group of individuals incorporated the New England Water Innovation Network (NEWIN) with the goals of serving as a common voice for the regional water industry and identifying best practices for brining water technologies to market. Additionally, New England Water Innovation Network recognizes the importance of engaging and energizing the next generation of water professionals. The New England Water Education Ecosystem will provide a venue to bring industry partners together with educational partners. In addition, many aspects of the water issues have significant policy components. The State of Massachusetts recognizes the significance of these challenges and is actively engaged in programs to foster water innovation at the both the basic research and commercialization phases. Cultivating connections between higher education, water industry, and government will speed the development of solutions and help prepare students to face these complex challenges.

Oates, Karen; Reckhow, David
Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)
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