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Ulster University is leading on a cutting-edge £6 million research project into low-cost technologies for safe drinking water in developing regions, which will form part of the SAFEWATER project.

More information is available on the project website.

Clean water solutions

It seeks to tackle a global challenge by looking at clean water solutions and the development of smart devices to quickly tell if water is safe to drink.

It is a transdisciplinary  research centre of excellence bringing together expertise from Ulster University, the University of Medellin (Colombia), the University of Sao Paulo (Brazil) along with NGO’s Centro de Ciencia y Tecnología de Antioquia (Colombia), and Fundacion Cantaro Azul (Mexico), who are already working with, and trusted by, the local people.

The centre has been established through £4.9m funding, which is provided from the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) UK Collective Fund, under Reference EP/P032427/1.

Transdisicplinary Research

The Safewater project brings Ulster faculties together into one research team including engineering expertise from NIBEC, transdisciplinary analysis from Ulster Business School, nutritional health from NICHE, transitional justice at School of Law, behaviour sciences to assess end user engagement and adoption at School of Psychology and water microbiology at Biomedical Sciences Research Institute (BSRI).

We will work across expertise to build on the collaborations and networks already established with our external partners.

Clean water research

The research’s main aim is to deliver clean drinking water in underdeveloped areas around the world. 1.8 billion people do not have access to clean drinking water, exposing them to unnecessary illnesses and diseases.

We want to create solutions using technologies that are effective, low cost, and sustainable. We are initially working with rural communities in Colombia and Mexico, aiming to expand our collaborations with other countries and to share our results globally.

Through the NGOs, local people will be involved in the development of clean water solutions from the beginning of the project so the technologies will meet their needs. The project will make a real impact on the ground by bringing direct benefits to the lives of people living in developing countries.

The research is also transdisciplinary within the consortium ensuring that the approach of using engineering, social science, law food and nutrition, psychology and biotechnology are  integrated to enable more effective delivery of objectives.

In line with the Sustainable Development Goals we aim to:

  • Develop technologies which help to reduce the incidence of waterborne diseases.
  • Supply safe drinking water aiming to improve the quality of life for families, assist in the reduction of gender pressure and increase economic development in the target rural areas.
  • Develop a strong network of experts in low-cost technologies for safe drinking water.
  • Assist with pro-poor growth in developing regions based on social economy exploitation for low-cost water technologies.
  • Develop a framework for transdisciplinary research to address challenges in developing regions.

Photo credits

Photo is credited to Fundación Cántaro Azul.