University of Exeter
KE Partnership of the Year Finalist: University of Exeter and South West Water: A sustainable partnership for a sustainable water sector
South West Water (SWW) and University of Exeter have worked together for more than a decade. For much of this time, projects have been developed between individual researchers and disparate teams at SWW. However, during the last 3 years, the University’s Innovation, Impact and Business (IIB) team has worked to bring together academics across departments, and teams across SWW, to create a transformative institution-scale relationship. This has resulted in SWW’s commitment to establishing a multi-million-pound collaborative research facility at the University. The new research centre will be the first purpose-built centre of this type in the water sector, and enable the innovative, transdisciplinary ‘whole system’ approach required to address the current and future challenges of the water industry.
Bringing together the complementary expertise of our two organisations on a strategic scale through the new research centre will address some of the most pressing social, environmental and economic challenges facing the broader water and waste sector. These include the quality and security of water supply, reduction and management of pollutants including water-borne plastics and anti-microbial resistance and use of environmentally sustainable approaches to water management. This will lead to widespread benefits in the UK and internationally, ultimately resulting in safe, resilient and environmentally sustainable water services for citizens of the South West and beyond.