Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Got Imagination? Get $100,000 in Research Awards

Are you imaginative? Okay, I should be a little more exact than that. Are you imaginative and do research in the fields of wastewater, water reuse, biosolids, stormwater, watersheds, and similar areas?

Yes? Well, welcome to WERF.

The Water Environment Research Foundation (that's the WERF part), through its Paul L. Busch Award, is offering $100,000 to encourage researchers in the above fields to "use their imagination, take risks, explore new directions, and ultimately realize the possibilities inherent in their valuable work." The annual Award is one of the largest in the water quality industry, and has provided nearly a million dollars in its nine years "to support researchers imbued with the visionary spirit of its namesake, a leader in the water quality community who challenged engineers and scientists to devise new technologies and solutions for addressing ongoing water quality issues."

According to WERF, which is based in Alexandria, Virginia, "recent recipients are already addressing many of the growing concerns of today’s communities, such as maintaining healthy waters in which we fish, swim, and play; improving energy efficiency to reduce greenhouse gasses and improve the air we breathe; and assuring that we are prepared to address new challenges as they arise."

One recent recipient, David Sedlak of the University of California, Berkeley extols the benefits of the $100,000 award: "By the very nature of it being an award and not a more traditional grant," he explains, "it has given us a lot more flexibility to explore the possibilities and to pursue new lines of research that arise in our ongoing work." It should be noted that the Award can go to a team of researchers, or to an individual.

Interested individuals or teams must submit their application to WERF by June 1, 2009. More information on the Paul L. Busch Award, as well as the application process, is online at

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