European Project to Use Smart Technology to Overcome Water Issues Worldwide

Credit : Birmingham City University

A recent £660 million European project will be employing smart technologies and high-tech sensors to help handle water challenges worldwide and bring about a new generation of researchers.

The European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Networks scheme has given Birmingham City University and Greek technology firm Singular Logic a sum of €761,644 (£665,966). The funds will be utilized to train a group of researchers who will then have to assist with solving critical global issues such as water wastage and water loss.

The four-year project, called Internet of Things Smart Water Innovative Networks (IoT4Win), will see academics work together with industry partners in the UK, Greece, Romania, and Spain to discover ways to enhance the efficiency of water systems.

An assortment of smart technology sensors will be in operation to track and provide real-time updates on the quantity, quality, and demand for water in urban areas and discover new ways to provide accessible and reasonably-priced water.

The developed technology could have a huge impact on future policy by discovering ways to enhance the efficiency and performance of water systems across the Europe and UK.

Three researchers will be hired to the scheme and earn PhDs from Birmingham City University as part of the project to form a legacy of knowledge in the smart water sector, which could change the way water utility companies and authorities function in the future.

With the rise in smart technology we now have a real opportunity to rethink how we view some everyday problems, and can gain a level of insight into issues of water we would never have been able to get before. This project presents a real opportunity for us to use sensor technologies, and the growth in the Internet of Things, to transform how we look at our water systems. Not only will this scheme help address some of the challenges facing the world right now, but it will also help ensure there is a lasting legacy by expanding the knowledge and understanding we have about water systems.

Wenyan Wu, Professor in Advanced System Engineering, Birmingham City University

Other partners who took part in the project are United Utilities Plc in North West England and Madrid based engineering consultancy Aqua-Consult Ingenieros.

It is anticipated that the initiative will help bring forth a generation of researchers in the field and develop a legacy of knowledge which can help generate long-term solutions for water systems worldwide.

The project’s data outputs will be openly available so that they can be used to help build future industry endeavors and government policy.

This is the first grant of its kind to be awarded to Birmingham City University and we are delighted to be at the forefront of looking at how new technologies can transform our approaches to water engineering in urban environments. Using the longstanding expertise of our academics in advanced sensors, ICT and the Internet of Things we will be able to pass on knowledge and hopefully have a lasting impact through the training of the researchers on this project. This project epitomises our commitment to working in partnership and joining up academic expertise with industry partners while training and developing doctoral researchers.

Professor Hanifa Shah, Associate Dean for Research and Enterprise, Birmingham City University

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