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Water Systems

‌During this pandemic, everyone has been advised to wash their hands frequently. This one, key, piece of advice highlights the differences in access to water systems across the world.

Modern water treatment plants, available in industrialised nations are already equipped to remove pathogens, including viruses. Although COVID-19 has been found in human waste, the standard disinfection methods used eliminate the virus. This treatment of water isn’t widely available across middle and low income countries.

How can we find new sustainable practices to ensure clean water systems are available to all and can help fight future outbreaks of diseases? How can water systems protect society from sewage leaks of infected material causing reinfection or even a new disease? How can we design efficient and environmentally friendly water systems for the future?

These are just some of the possible topics your team might find solutions for, but the scope is much wider.

Find a team. Work on a solution. Make a change in the world and be in with a chance of winning a prize.


Sarah Bell

Sarah Bell

Sarah Bell is Professor of Environmental Engineering in UCL’s Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering. She is an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council Fellow working on bottom-up approaches to infrastructure resilience. She is co-investigator on the Natural Environment Research Council funded project ‘Community Water Management for a Liveable London’, leading the community engagement work stream. She is a Fellow of both the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management and the Institution of Civil Engineers. Her most recent book ‘Urban Water Sustainability’ was published in 2018 by Routledge Earthscan.

Theo Semertzidis

Theo Semertzidis

Theo is a teaching fellow and deputy director of the MSc Sustainable Resources: Economics, Policy and Transitions at UCL’s Institute for Sustainable Resources, UCL. He holds a PhD from UCL on the water-energy nexus of hydropower in Brazil. His background is in civil and environmental engineering, and urban planning. His past research includes sustainable development concepts, climate change and sustainable resources, the Resource Nexus and its metrics, energy and water modelling, and future projections and scenarios.‌

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Idea submission is now open! Join our Slack community to post and discuss ideas, get feedback, find teammates and get inspired.

Register a team

Once you’ve found an idea, pull together a team of 3-7 dedicated people with the skills to find a solution. The team leader must now officially register the team through Microsoft Forms.

Submit for evaluation

Upload a video, presentation, document or poster explaining the problem being solved, your proposed solution and how you will make a change in the world.

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