A two-day event for early career professionals to challenge the status quo and champion equality and inclusion in the water sector.

To accommodate individuals who might not be able to travel to Cranfield, the conference will be hosted in a hybrid form, offering the opportunity for face-to-face as well as virtual participation.

Overview and aim of the conference

This conference aims to provide a platform for early career researchers and young professionals, particularly from underrepresented groups, to share and promote their work and experience in water. We hope to cover topics such as drinking water and wastewater treatment, water catchment management, water, sanitation and hygiene (WaSH), circular economy, social science and governance (this list is non-exhaustive). This will offer a positive environment for the diverse community that make up the water sector to meet, network and help shape the future of the sector.  

It is essential that we create and maintain an inclusive environment where people are welcomed and supported, in order to be able to reach their full potential. Research has shown that equality, diversity and inclusion can bring a number of benefits to academic institutions, businesses and society at large. However, the water sector is still predominantly white (93%) and male (72%), significantly more than the UK average. According to an Institute of Water Report, only 4% of the sector’s workforce identify themselves as Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic, 12% as having a disability, while only 8% of staff are under 24. Moreover, only 2% of employees identify as LGBTQ+ (Scottish Water) compared to a 5% national average. 

Therefore, to maintain and sustain an inclusive workforce, we must take action to widen the participation and contribution of underrepresented groups (e.g. disabled people, ethnic minority groups, different socio-economic backgrounds and the LGBTQ+ community) in the water sector. This will help to increase representation both within academia and industry. 

Keynote speakers

Our inspirational keynote speakers Professor Katrina Charles and Dr Piers Clark will discuss their projects, career development and how we can work towards a more diverse and inclusive water sector. Professor Katrina Charles is specialised in Environmental Health Risks at the School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford. Dr Piers Clark is the founder and chairman of Isle Utilities.

Professor Katrina Charles

Professor Katrina Charles is a Sloane Robinson Official Fellow in Environmental Change and Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Champion, Reuben College; Chair of the Oxford Water Network; and Member of the Economy and Society: Transformations and Justice research cluster.

Her research focuses on environmental health risks, using interdisciplinary approaches to analyse how we construct our understanding of environmental health risks, and how to communicate those risks to affect change. She leads research across two international, interdisciplinary research programmes on water security. As co-director of the REACH: Improving water security for the poor programme, she is leading research on water security challenges in Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Kenya. On the GCRF Hub for Water security and sustainable development, she is leading research on water security and health.

She undertook her PhD on a risk-based approach to management of decentralised wastewater treatment systems in Sydney's drinking water catchments in Australia. She joined the University of Oxford in 2013 having previously been a lecturer at the University of Surrey.

Dr Piers Clark 

Dr Piers Clark was previously the Managing Director for the private equity fund Global Water Development Partners, a Blackstone portfolio company. From 2010-14 he was the Commercial Director at Thames Water. Prior to joining Thames Water, Piers was Managing Director for Mouchel, leading a team of 3,000 staff providing engineering consultancy and operational maintenance services in the water, energy, environment and rail sectors.

In 2006, Piers helped establish an innovative funding mechanism for technology companies, called TAG (Technology Approval Group). TAG bridges the gap between venture capital investors and the water company end-users and has resulted in over $1bn being invested in water-related cleantech companies. Piers is a board director for Modern Water plc and OzoInnovations.

He holds a BSc Environmental Science, PhD in Civil Engineering, Member of Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Management, Member of Institute of Asset Management.

Cost

To accommodate individuals who might not be able to travel to Cranfield, the conference will be hosted in a hybrid form, offering the opportunity for face-to-face as well as virtual participation.

  • £60 – face-to-face, two days. Day one: tours and workshops, conference drink reception; day two: conference day, lunch.
  • £40 – face-to-face, one day. Day two only.
  • £40 – online participation, two days (restricted sessions available)

Presentations and posters

If you wish to contribute with a presentation or a poster, please submit an abstract online before 26 September 2022. After submitting a poster, you may be offered the possibility to present it in a poster pitch session. All accepted abstracts will be published in a Conference Proceedings Book, available with open access on Cranfield University’s institutional repository, CERES.

Event programme

14:00 – 15:30 Registration – Tea and coffee
14:30 – 16:30 Cranfield’s Water & Wastewater Treatment Pilot Hall and Urban Observatory tour
16:30 – 17:30 Cranfield Equality, Diversity and Inclusion workshop
17:30 – 18:30 Drinks, canapes and networking

Sponsorship

To help fund the conference, a collection of attractive sponsorship packages is available for organisations who wish to support this initiative. All sponsors will be acknowledged during the conference and listed on relevant communications.

Package Conference offer Cost
Platinum sponsor 2x attendance for sponsor
Stall in the conference hall
Logo displayed on conference web page and communications
Logo displayed in the conference hall (banners)
£300
Golden sponsor 2x attendance for sponsor
Stall in the conference hall
Logo displayed on conference web page and communications
£200
Silver sponsor 1x attendance for sponsor
Stall in the conference hall
Logo displayed on conference web page and communications
£100
Bronze sponsor Stall in the conference hall £50


Location and travel details

For those attending in person, the event will take place at:

Vincent Building Auditorium
Cranfield University
College Road
Cranfield
MK43 0AL

How to find Cranfield campus

Who should attend

  • Young water professionals,
  • Early career researchers in water,
  • MSc students,
  • PhD students,
  • Professionals of the water industry.

How to register

Please complete the online registration form.