Water Institute announces fall 2017 seed grant winners

Friday, January 19, 2018

The University of Waterloo’s Water Institute has awarded a combined total of $72,692 to four research teams as a result of its 2017 fall term seed grant competition. The goal of this program is to catalyze interdisciplinary collaboration, facilitate interaction with international authorities, and to encourage the development of research proposals.

The program awards a total of $150,000 annually, with competitions generally held during the fall and winter terms.

Fall 2017 winners:

Towards Statistical Tools to Assess Microbial Communities in Contaminated Water Systems

Laura Hug, Biology
Neil Thomson, Civil and Environmental Engineering; Monica Emelko, Civil and Environmental Engineering; Shoja’eddin Chenouri, Statistics and Actuarial Science; Steffen Klaere, Statistics, University of Auckland

This project aims to develop statistical tools to assess metagenomic datasets with the objective of understanding the dynamics and impacts of microbes in contaminated aquatic environments. The work will focus on two main contaminated site types: anthropogenically perturbed terrestrial surface, and groundwater environments and municipal landfills. 

Linking Microbial ​Bioenergetics and Water Resources: Turning Theoretical Advances into Practical Solutions

Christina Smeaton, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Philippe Van Cappellen, Earth and Environmental Sciences; David Rudolph, Earth and Environmental Sciences; Nandita Basu, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Earth and Environmental Sciences; Carolyn Ren, Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering

The team will host a two-day interdisciplinary workshop at the University of Waterloo to facilitate knowledge exchange and collaboration between academic researchers, across disciplines and industries, in the developing area of environmental bioenergetics.

Fostering Canada’s Blue Economy Through Provincial and National Bulk Water Pricing Strategies

Michael Wood, Environment, Enterprise and Development
Olaf Weber, Environment, Enterprise and Development; Horatiu Rus, Economics and Political Science

Bulk water pricing is a policy instrument that can be used to assign a value to water that is closer to the true user cost of water, equitably allocate water among users, and generate revenue that can be used to finance water efficient municipal infrastructure and services. Wood and his team will investigate bulk water pricing at the provincial level in Ontario and then expand their study to the national level.

​WASH for Resilient Health Systems in the Horn of Africa

Susan Elliott, Geography and Environmental Management
Lisa Guppy, United Nations Institute for Water, Environment and Health; Shannon Majowicz, Public Health and Health Systems

This project aims to: Identify and understand the types or components of WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) services, capacity and infrastructure that are critical to enable health care facilities to prepare for, withstand, respond to and recover from shocks and disasters across the Horn of Africa using drought in Kenya as a case study; Describe the minimum levels or standards of WASH service, capacity and infrastructure that are critical to resilience; Assess health systems resilience in Kenya from a WASH perspective and determine if and how new knowledge around types of WASH and minimum standards of WASH service at health facilities may best address current weaknesses and gaps.

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