Join the Water Innovation Challenge

Thursday, January 6, 2022

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About the Water Innovation Challenge

BlackBerry and the Water Institute are partnering on an inaugural Water Innovation Challenge launching in the Winter 2022 academic term. The purpose of the challenge is to engage Water Institute professors and students in proposing research and development projects that advance BlackBerry’s technology interests while addressing water-related challenges or opportunities, with particular reference to UN SDG6 for Clean Water and Sanitation or related SDG’s (for example, SDG 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities, SDG 13 Climate Change and SDG 14 Life under Water).

Please see below for information on the Water Innovation Challenge, including the proposal process, areas of research interest, and upcoming Information Session. University of Waterloo professors are invited to submit proposals by February 24, 2022.


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Areas of interest

The research and development areas of particular interest to BlackBerry are described below. Principal investigators should review BlackBerry’s suite of products, solutions and services in exploring potential applications or services in these areas. Investigators are strongly encouraged to attend the Information Session to learn more about BlackBerry technologies and these priority areas. Investigators with ideas in areas that are not listed, but that might see potential for using a BlackBerry technology or service to address a water-related issue or opportunity, are strongly encouraged to consider submitting a proposal. Proposers are advised that BlackBerry is primarily a software and services company, and so generally it will be difficult to find mutual interest in research primarily focused on hardware.

Internet of Things (IoT) and Water

  • Development of “smart water”-related IoT applications or services for governments, utilities, companies, households and researchers that could recognize patterns in watershed data, predict events and optimize systems monitoring flow, water quality, water usage, pressures, leakages, and more.
  • Development of “Smart” water IoT solutions that intelligently automate instruments, tools and processes to improve efficiency, reduce water use and improve water quality.

Cybersecurity and Water

  • Development of applications or services that improve the security of critical infrastructure, such as water supply and wastewater systems, enterprise, utility or process control systems. Solutions could prevent technical or process breaches, compromised internal systems or theft of customer data. Ensuring the security of control system devices, equipment and networks in critical water systems.

Emergency Events and Water

  • Development of applications or services that apply BlackBerry AtHoc in the water domain. Solutions for critical event management with governments, emergency service providers and educational institutes to help make and communicate informed decisions in crisis situations including heatwaves, droughts, wildfires and flooding exacerbated by climate change.

Greener Technology for Wastewater Treatment

  • Development of ideas for applications or services that leverage BlackBerry software to enable the application of green technologies in water or wastewater treatment. Green wastewater technologies use alternative, “green” systems, materials or processes to achieve treatment objectives with less impact, including energy use. Examples include the use of natural, biological or anaerobic systems, or systems and processes that recover reusable products such as water, energy or nutrients.

Other Research Areas

  • Investigators with ideas in areas not listed above, but that might use BlackBerry technology or services to address a water-related issue or opportunity, are encouraged to submit a proposal.

Getting involved

We invite all researchers and students from the University of Waterloo with interest in collaborating in the challenge to attend the jointly hosted info session on January 27, 2022 and learn more about the proposal process.

Information Session Agenda:

  1. Water Innovation Challenge introduction
  2. Water Innovation Challenge process 
  3. Research areas of interest 
  4. Question/answer period 

    Date: January 27, 2022 
    Time: 12:30 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Registration for the information session is now closed.

To help you through the next stage of developing your proposals, please see the helpful links below provided by BlackBerry to some of their product resources.

BlackBerry Documentation Page

Split into Categories

·   Unified Endpoint Security

·   Endpoint Management

·   Critical Event Management

·   …..

·   Development Tools

BlackBerry Resource Center

·   Brochures

·   Datasheets

·   Videos, Event Videos

·   Infographics

·   Webcasts

·   Whitepapers

·   Case Studies

·   You can filter by industry and product.

BlackBerry Dev Blog

·   Examples, Code Samples and links to training.

If you have further enquiries about the competition, please contact Kevin Boehmer (, Managing Director, The Water Institute, before February 14th. 

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Proposals will be reviewed and evaluated by BlackBerry and the Water Institute. Results of the competition will be announced in March, 2022.

About BlackBerry

BlackBerry (NYSE: BB; TSX: BB) provides intelligent security software and services to enterprises and governments around the world. The company secures more than 500M endpoints including over 195M vehicles.  Based in Waterloo, Ontario, the company leverages AI and machine learning to deliver innovative solutions in the areas of cybersecurity, safety and data privacy solutions, and is a leader in the areas of endpoint management, endpoint security, encryption, and embedded systems.  BlackBerry’s vision is clear - to secure a connected future you can trust. BlackBerry joined the United Nation’s (UN) Global Compact in April 2019 and actively supports the Compact’s corporate sustainability principles and, more specifically, the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) related to water, climate change and equality. BlackBerry’s commitment to corporate social responsibility details their commitment and support.

About the Water Institute

The Water Institute was established by the University of Waterloo in 2009 to be a global leader in interdisciplinary water research and education. The Institute facilitates interdisciplinary collaboration and knowledge exchange in addressing complex water challenges, and promotes innovation in interdisciplinary research and education. Water Institute researchers represent a wide breadth of disciplinary expertise with over 170 faculty members, including more than 20 Canada and University Research Chairs, and 300 graduate students representing 23 departments and schools across all 6 faculties. The Water Institute is the largest water research centre in Canada and is ranked among the world’s top academic water research and education institutions.