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Mission 3: Generate research outcomes which have major positive impacts on society and the environment, reduce inequalities and shape a better future for humankind.

Access to interdisciplinary and applied frontier research such as ours is of acute importance to the water sector globally. For water and allied industries, there are multiple and complex challenges of maintaining services under conditions of economic stress, population growth, demographic change, urbanisation and climate change, whilst continuing to meet consumer expectations.

water@leeds helps to develop innovative approaches for water-related applications. Tools and models can be designed in conjunction with partners in industry or academia for a specific purpose or arise as outputs from primary research – often leading to commercialisation opportunities.

We work with national and international industrial, government, charity and academic bodies.

As world leaders in many areas of water innovation, we are very keen to work with partners to maximise the impact of our work and make a real difference to people’s lives.

Photocredit: Thank you to Dr Nicolas Salazar Sutil for use of his photograph from his Lake Chad project. Read more of this below.

Impact Highlights 2019-20

  • The Yorkshire Integrated Catchment Solutions Programme (iCASP) is a flagship water@leeds programme. Led by Professor Joe Holden and Professor David Hodgson, iCASP has had substantial impact within the catchment management sector by contributing to business cases with an investment value of more than £222 million, created 10 jobs and involved at least 192 organisations.
  • Plastic Pollution and Circular Economy. Dr Costas Velis’ research team continues to lead international efforts to build the evidence base and identify preventive solutions for the global challenge of marine litter and plastics pollution. Over the last year Costas’s research group has been involved in a number of collaborative research projects which are now having impact in public policy and environmental efforts to tackle marine plastics pollution in the Global South. The team’s collaborative efforts with GIZ (Germany), Eawag-Sandec (Switzerland), SYSTEMIQ (UK) and the Indonesia Government have resulted in new toolkits which quantify plastics pollution combined with intervention scenarios. The ‘ISWA Plastic Pollution Calculator’ (PPC) and the ‘Waste Flow Diagram’ (WFD) were officially launched at the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) world congress in Bilbao, Spain in October 2019. The team has also been involved in several international fora and expert groups. Costas leads the ISWA Task Force on Marine Litter and contributed to UN Environment efforts to standardise methodologies on plastics pollution as part of the UNEA4 (United Nations Environment Assembly) official side events in Nairobi, March 2019.
  • Finding creative solutions to conflict: a homage to Lake. With support from the Global Challenges Research Fund, Dr Nicolas Salazar Sutil from the School of Performance and Cultural Industries has been conducting action research in the Lake Chad Basin, with partners in Chad, Niger, Cameroon and Nigeria. Three ongoing projects have so far focused on community-building through creative practices, drawing on interdisciplinary frameworks that bring together environmental scientists, conflict researchers, creative researchers, artists, as well as civil society organisations, military, humanitarian and also international actors such as UNDP. The work has so far resulted in a ‘train the trainees’ programme for social artists conducted in several refugee camps in Chad (Dar es Salaam, Amboko, Gore); a training for community theatre practitioners in N’Djamena (Chad); the formation of a theatre of ex-combatants of the Boko Haram terrorist group in Bol (Chad) and Diffa (Niger); the creation of a network of woman survivors of the Boko Haram conflict in Maiduguri (Nigeria), and the creation of a multi-national research consortium called Amana Network.
  • Water Resources: An Integrated Approach – Second Edition. 2019 saw the publication of the second edition of the water@leeds text book edited by Joseph Holden. This edition includes chapter contributions from present and past members of water@leeds. Water Resources: An Integrated Approach provides students with a comprehensive overview of natural processes associated with water and the modifications of these processes by humans through climate change and land management, water-related health issues, engineering approaches to water and socio-economic processes of huge importance to water resources. The book contains chapters written by 24 specialist contributors, providing expert depth of coverage to topics.