Graduate students who specialize in water-related studies at the University of Waterloo will have the opportunity to be part of a new Integrated Water Management program that will give them a broad foundation in water science, engineering, technology and management.

“Waterloo offers specialist graduate degrees in a wide variety of water-related programs, but as we address increasingly complex water issues we need to train our specialists to have a fuller appreciation of the interdisciplinary nature of most water issues,” says Robert Gillham, professor emeritus in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences and executive director of the Water Institute.

RBC donates $1.75 million

Great Lakes as seen from spaceThe Great Lakes

The new program, supported by a $1.75 million commitment from the RBC Foundation, will allow students to work collaboratively with other departments and disciplines. The University of Waterloo is globally recognized for providing innovative expertise in aquatic ecology and toxicology, atmospheric and hydrological sciences, water and wastewater treatment and water policy, management and governance.

There are currently 125 faculty members conducting water-related research, including Canada Excellence Research Chair Philippe Van Cappellen. Van Cappellen, a professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, studies watershed dynamics, ensuring water resources are used and managed in an ecologically-sound manner.

120 graduate scholarships

The RBC donation will support more than 120 scholarships for master’s and PhD students (RBC Water Scholars) over the next eight years in addition to sponsoring high-profile program fellows (RBC Visiting Fellows) and an annual RBC Water Scholars Program student symposium.

“Waterloo and RBC have a rich history of working together and I am immensely thankful for their kind gift,” said Feridun Hamdullahpur, president and vice-chancellor of Waterloo. “RBC’s support will allow us to develop a truly unique graduate program where educators and students work collaboratively across disciplines to address local, national and international water security issues.”

Seven Waterloo departments across four academic faculties will deliver the program collaboratively. Students who successfully complete the new Integrated Water Management program will receive an adjunct qualification to their degree.