Lift-Off–What it will take to get the promise of water tech to market

Bringing forth the “gee-whiz” water innovations of today and making them the iPhones of the future has a lot to do with rigorous testing with authoritative frameworks for evaluating new approaches.

The US National Science Foundation has funded a new Engineering Research Center (ERC) focused around water with a ten-year, $40M grant.  It is the first NSF ERC focused around water, and represents a significant amount of the overall federal funding for research in water.  Based on the structure of the ERC program, ReNUWIt might prove pivotal in bringing the innovative solutions to wide scale use.

Historically, the NSF has served a pivotal role in developing the innovations that have defined American life—from the Internet to robotics.  The NSF is charged with supporting “high-risk, high pay-off” ideas, novel collaborations and numerous projects that may seem like science fiction today, but which the public will take for granted tomorrow.

The Engineering Research Centers (ERCs) promote partnerships among researchers in different disciplines and between industry and universities.  Reinventing Urban Water Infrastructure brings together 27 of the leading water engineering services and water equipment companies, including Bechtel Corporation, Carollo Engineers, CH2M Hill, IBM, Kennedy/Jenks Consultants, Malcolm Pirnie and Veolia.

Artemis Water Strategy serves as the Innovation Partner for the project. Bringing forth the “gee-whiz” water innovations of today and making them the iPhones of the future has a lot to do with rigorous testing with authoritative frameworks for evaluating new approaches.

Bringing forth the “gee-whiz” water innovations of today and making them the iPhones of the future has a lot to do with rigorous testing with authoritative frameworks for evaluating new appraoches.

What is holding back the most promising water tech companies?  Validation.  Water needs rigorous, well-charted validation testing in order to get to the wide-scale market faster. While you might be cranky if the firewall software that you put on your computer doesn’t work, you might die if a water management solution doesn’t perform.  Truly innovative solutions require an entirely new framework for evaluating their performance.  This NSF ERC brings together leading industrial corporations, utilities and academics who can propose the frameworks for validation of new water management approaches.

Truly innovative solutions require an entirely new framework for evaluating their performance.  This NSF ERC brings together leading industrial corporations, utilities and academics who can propose the frameworks for validation of new water management approaches.

Here at  Artemis Water Strategy, we are tracking almost 1000 venture investment worthy companies that have developed IP-intensive water management solutions.  There is plenty of innovation.

As the Innovation Partner for ReNUWIt,  Artemis Water Strategy is responsible for developing the ERC’s strategic plan and research to bring its innovation into the market.  These innovations will provide a public good and will also drive economic development and create jobs.

Artemis is advising on how innovation emerging from the center might best be tested to address the concerns of the leading water managers who will pioneer use of the systems. Artemis provides the connection for the ERC to the venture capital community and to young start-up water tech companies.

Where do you see models for validating water tech?

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