The Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) received an unprecedented number of pre-proposals seeking funding for stormwater management research under its 2011 Unsolicited Research Program.
Stormwater management has become a pressing issue for counties and municipalities throughout the United States, and their need for practical tools, additional data, and innovative management technologies were clearly reflected in this year’s pre-proposals. Of the 147 responses received, more than 20 percent were for stormwater research.
The increased number of pre-proposals for stormwater-related research comes as utilities face emerging stormwater management challenges brought by changing regulations and evolving science. WERF Director of Research Dan Woltering points out, however, that while stormwater management may be a hot issue, utilities continue to face new challenges on many fronts. “More than 15 percent of pre-proposals seek to answer wastewater operations and energy questions, and asset management, nutrient removal and recovery, and the effects of trace organic compounds were major themes,” said Woltering. “The number and diversity of responses received this year underscore the importance of conducting research in all of these areas, as well as the critical need for research, and research funding.”
Woltering also noted an increase in the amount of in-kind funding offered in the pre-proposals. “We’re seeing greater willingness by the research teams to bring additional support, as well as put their own time and energy into the budget,” he said. “This significantly affects our ability to fund more of these outstanding projects.”
WERF’s 2011 Unsolicited Research Program is providing up to $530,000 dollars (in total) to fund research that significantly advances our understanding of today’s most pressing water quality issues and provides practical solutions to the challenges facing wastewater and stormwater programs.
WERF is currently in the process of reviewing pre-proposals and will shortlist a limited number to submit full proposals with detailed scopes of work and budgets in September. Additional information on the unsolicited research program can be found at www.werf.org/getinvolved.