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BE:WISE project wins runner up at this year’s Guardian University Awards for Business Partnership

Newcastle University’s new Biological Engineering: Wastewater Innovation at Scale (BE:WISE) facility wins recognition at this year’s Guardian University Awards for its pioneering work to transform the lives of students and communities through business partnerships.

Based at Nortumbrian Water’s sewage treatment works at Birtley, Gateshead, the BE:WISE facility is a result of an integrated, cross-disciplinary relationship between Newcastle University and Northumbrian Water Group (NWG). As the largest of its type in Europe, this new facility, led by Dr Russell Davenport from the School of Engineering, is helping to drive industry-relevant innovation, informing impact at a global and local level as well as opening up opportunities for students in the field.

Heidi Mottram, Northumbrian Water’s CEO, said: “This internationally significant facility shows how essential partnership working is to enable innovation in advancing technology. It is fantastic that academia and industry have come together to improve sustainable wastewater treatment, which is a vital part of our everyday lives and plays an essential role in protecting our precious environment.”

While previous research has largely focused on computer simulations of wastewater treatment by microbial action, this provided a realistic, large-scale setting, giving academics the chance to better understand how complex biological interactions work in practice by allowing experiments to be run using 10,000 times more microbes.

The BE:WISE facility is funded through a £1.2m Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) grant, with Newcastle University and NWG each contributing a further £0.5m to its value. The facility will shortly be available to academics and other researchers from around the world, in the hopes that this will lead to a number of new international collaborations involving Newcastle University.

More information about the BE:WISE facility 

Professor Nick Wright, Heidi Mottram and Dr Russell Davenport

published on: 3 April 2017