The government announces £8.2 million to support advances in water treatment and infrastructure research at Cranfield.

The government has announced investment of £7.4 million to support advances in water treatment and infrastructure research through Cranfield University’s Water Science Institute in the Autumn Statement and Comprehensive Spending Review.

The investment comes through the UK Collaboratorium for Research in Infrastructure & Cities (UKCRIC) which involves 14 UK universities engaged in cutting-edge national infrastructure research.

The investment at Cranfield will enhance the University’s existing industrial-scale test facilities, providing extended access to on-site wastewater, water, and stormwater treatment and conveyance systems. Several new facilities including a pilot hall and infrastructure monitoring & control suite will complete the investment portfolio.

Professor Sir Peter Gregson, Vice-Chancellor of Cranfield University said: “We are delighted to have been successful in securing this funding. Cranfield has an international reputation for pioneering research and education in water and sanitation. This investment in the infrastructure will enhance the existing industrial-scale facilities for which Cranfield University is renowned.

Professor Paul Jeffrey, Professor of Water Management at Cranfield, said: “The new facilities at Cranfield will enhance our research into the future of our most fundamental utility. Our expertise in water science is already well-established and these facilities will allow us to advance our understanding of water infrastructure further.

Research at the enhanced facility will focus on treatment and distribution processes; future technologies like low energy treatment and nutrient and energy recovery; condition monitoring and performance assessment including development of repair techniques which are less disruptive to supply; system-wide operation and control and integrated data systems.

This investment forms a part of a wider UKCRIC package of £138 million from the government with 100% matched funding from other sources. Outside national security and medicine, this will be one of the largest collaborative research projects in the UK. UKCRIC will work to provide a knowledge base to ensure the long-term functioning of the UK’s transport systems, energy systems, clean water supplies, waste management, flood defences and the development of SMART infrastructures.

Professor Brian Collins, chairman of the UKCRIC Coordination Node from University College London, said: “UKCRIC is more than just another research project. This is the first step to creating long-term partnerships between the people who build our infrastructure, the people who regulate and fund it, the people who own and operate it and those of us who study how it works and is used.

This news follows last week’s announcement that Cranfield University has been awarded a Queen's Anniversary Prize for its work pioneering improved water services which benefits the quality of lives and livelihoods in the most impoverished parts of the world. 

Notes for editors

UK Collaboratorium for Research in Infrastructure & Cities (UKCRIC) provides leadership and support for the development and growth of a coordinated and coherent, world class, UK-based national infrastructure research community, spanning 14 universities. It engages government, city and commercial policy makers, investors, citizens and academia in a joint venture that drives innovation and value creation in the exploitation of services provided by national infrastructure.

About Cranfield University

Cranfield University is a specialist postgraduate university that is a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management.

Environment and Agrifood at Cranfield

For the past 50 years, Cranfield has been contributing to enhancing natural capital and ensuring that global food systems are more resilient for the future. We are recognised worldwide by industry, government and academe for our research and teaching in plants, soil, water and air.

We believe that environmental problems can be alleviated through technological innovation and risk management.

Cranfield is a key partner in two of the four UK Government-sponsored Agri-tech Centres – Agri-Epi (Agricultural Engineering Precision Innovation Centre) and CHaP (Crop Health and Protection), with over £10 million invested in new infrastructure since 2017.

Our education, research and consultancy is enhanced by our world-class facilities including the National Reference Centre for Soils, which houses the largest collection of its kind in Europe and is recognised as the UK’s definitive source of national soils information, and our big data visualisation suite, which has tools to analyse big data collections including environmental resources from 280 countries/territories worldwide.

In 2017, Cranfield was awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for research and education in large-scale soil and environmental data for the sustainable use of natural resources in the UK and worldwide, the first time in the Prize’s history that an award has been given for soil science.