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Water technology challenge seeks to connect innovations with current industry needs

A new initiative of The Water Council will help water technology companies and large water users find new ideas, talent, and investment opportunities.

The Water Council announced the launch on October 2 of its new Tech Challenge program, a series of global competitions to identify freshwater technologies and ideas with high potential for commercialization or implementation.

Each Tech Challenge is designed around a single, specific topic identified by corporate sponsors and is open to any person or any company around the world with a cutting-edge technology or good idea.

Companies developing water technology and those who use a large amount of water in their manufacturing and operations invest significant time, personnel and money into new product development. The Tech Challenge will assist these companies by leveraging The Water Council’s network to find solutions in an expedited amount of time.

“Tech Challenge is similar to a matchmaking program. We bring innovators together with companies seeking breakthrough solutions for challenging water technology issues,” stated Dean Amhaus, president and CEO of The Water Council. “While we will be awarding cash prizes to the Tech Challenge winners, the big winners are any applicants and any corporate sponsors that, through the process, get connected and reach a business deal where a solution is sold and a product is delivered to consumers.”

In the first year, The Water Council will run multiple tech challenges focused on current industry needs including sensors, filtration and disinfection and in ensuing years will add more topics to match the needs of corporate sponsors. Applicants could include: entrepreneurs, university students or researchers, water tech professionals, private or government lab researchers, or inventive individuals.

Selected finalists will present in-person to the sponsoring organization to compete for prize money, access to corporate R & D resources and the opportunity to partner on the development, marketing, licensing or sale of the winning technology or idea.

“In our fast-paced ‘connected’ world, what is still lacking is a method that allows any individual or small business with an innovative water technology solution to get paired with a company that is trying to uncover that novel solution,” said Dr. Barry Liner, a technical advisor to The Water Council. “Over the course of a year Tech Challenge will be seeking proposals on a range of topics that Water Council corporate sponsors have identified as critical elements on products that they are working to bring to the marketplace or put into operation at a facility.”

In March 2018, The Water Council participated in a U.S. Department of Energy “Roundtable Discussion of Federal Prizes and Challenges” at the White House to explore how such initiatives can foster meaningful progress on solving some of the most pressing water challenges facing the United States. Since that meeting The Water Council and the U.S. Department of Energy have engaged in regular discussions on possible partnerships and have agreed to continue to cooperate and inform each other’s stakeholders about each other’s prizes and challenges programs.

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Lee Matz

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