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Clean Water: A Challenge for Researchers

Photo of desert, mountains, houses, and a small body of water

The provision of clean water is widely recognized as a global engineering grand challenge.

March 13, 2013

The National Science Foundation (NSF) and the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) in partnership announced yesterday the intention to begin a joint parallel activity to fund trans-Atlantic research into the provision of clean water for all. The provision of clean water is widely recognized as a global engineering grand challenge, hence the EPSRC and NSF challenge researchers in the two countries to perform collaborative research in order to find new and novel solutions to the current problems using their complementary expertise. The total investment of the two funding organizations is likely to be in the region of $2-3 million (£1.5-2.5 million), shared amongst a number of collaborative groups.

"The provision of clean water is a global issue with societal, health, and economic implications," said NSF Deputy Assistant Director for Engineering Kesh Narayanan. "Future solutions to such far-reaching sustainability challenges will rely on cooperation, both interdisciplinary and international, to bring the right people and resources to bear."

The announcement was made in connection with the Grand Challenges Summit, an event organized by the national academies of engineering of the US, the UK, and China to exchange ideas among engineering innovators and build collaborations to surmount worldwide challenges. In 2008 the US National Academy of Engineering identified access to clean water as one of the Grand Challenges for Engineering.

Media Contact
Bobbie Mixon, NSF (703) 292-8485

Related Websites
EPSRC news release:
Global Water Challenge (multimedia):
Engineering Safer Drinking Water in Africa (multimedia):
Engineering a Difference (downloadable video):

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2018, its budget is $7.8 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 50,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards.

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