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Urban Water Innovation Network connects UMBC with nation

March 30, 2016 11:00 AM

In “A passion for research” the Baltimore Sun highlights how undergraduate students at Baltimore area colleges and universities benefit from robust research opportunities across disciplines, including through an exciting new partnership connecting environmental scientists at UMBC with colleagues around the nation.

The Urban Water Innovation Network (UWIN), featured in the article, is one of several multidisciplinary partnerships in which UMBC is actively participating. It was recently created through a $12 million commitment from the National Science Foundation to unite the work of more than a dozen academic institutions  studying the challenges that threaten urban water systems. UMBC undergraduates are closely involved in research working toward UWIN’s goal of creating solutions to help communities become more prepared to respond to water crises.

“It’s a nice opportunity to play a part in a project of national scope. It’s quite an honor,” Claire Welty, professor of chemical, biochemical and environmental engineering (CBEE), director of the Center for Urban Environmental Research and Education (CUERE), and the lead researcher at UMBC for the UWIN grant told the Baltimore Sun.

Andrew Miller, professor of geography and environmental systems, shared, “UMBC has been doing research like this” for years, but being invited to join UWIN felt like “a baseball player getting to be involved in a world series.”

“The idea is to create a network of scientists to help solve environmental problems,” explains Chris Swan, professor of geography and environmental systems. He adds that many universities within the network are including undergraduate and graduate students who can benefit from the networking opportunities the partnership creates.

Miller says that ultimately this intensive collaboration will lead to improved research outcomes, noting, “It’s a big interdisciplinary project with networks of people working together who combine a variety of expertise.”

“One person is not going to solve these types of problems,” Miller explains. “We will all learn from each other and do things we couldn’t do on our own.”

Read the full article on The Baltimore Sun.


Image: Claire Welty and two students conducting research in the field. Photo by Chris Hartlove.
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