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Northwestern Center for Water Research

Mission and Vision

Our Mission

The Northwestern Center for Water Research strives to increase opportunities for NU faculty and students in all domains touching on water, to catalyze and coordinate water research across NU, and to increase the visibility and impact of NU water research by solving current and emerging grand challenges in water systems sustainability, efficiency, and robustness.

Our Vision

Northwestern will be a world leader in designing, simulating, and integrating innovative materials and engineered bioprocesses into water systems to achieve global solutions for regional and local water challenges.

About the Center

The Northwestern Center for Water Research formed in September 2015 to link the University’s water research efforts in basic sciences, technology development, law and policy, and systems analysis and simulation. The Water Center will enable the Northwestern community to achieve:

  • Fundamental advances in water science, enabling new water technologies and improved prediction of water systems.
  • High-performance discovery, design, and commercialization of materials for water monitoring and processing technologies.
  • Efficient, robust and durable solutions for water reuse, low-purity water sources, and resource recovery from wastewaters.
  • Integration of theory, data, and models to predict large-scale, long-term outcomes in complex water/energy/food/ecosystems, and enable safe, efficient, and sustainable management of water.

The Water Center will develop global solutions for regional problems  by engaging diverse industrial, governmental, and community partners to apply the highest levels of science and engineering to solve water challenges in the Chicago region and throughout the Great Lakes and Mississippi Valley.


Taking a Stand at Standing Rock

New York Times

Clean Water in Kenya: NU Engineers Without Borders Develops Water Distribution System in Maasai Community Near Nairobi

Northwestern Magazine

Diving Deep to Save Coral Reefs

Northwestern Magazine

NOAA Launches America’s First National Water Forecast Model

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

As Louisiana Flood Waters Recede, The Scope of Disaster Comes Into View

New York Times

Poverty, Drought and Felled Trees Imperil Malawi Water Supply

New York Times

Giant Coral Reef in Protected Area Shows New Sign of Life

New York Times

Israel, The Water Superpower

Triple Pundit

Quick Analysis Finds Effect of Climate Change in French Floods

New York Times

Looking, Quickly, For the Fingerprints of Climate Change

New York Times

Nature: A Better, Faster, Cost Effective Answer for Climate Resilience

Nature Conservancy

Watershed Degradation Costs Global Cities $5.4 Billion in Water Treatment Annually

Nature Conservancy

Floating Food Forest Arrives in New York City

Wall Street Journal

Maryland Flood: Never Seen Such Devastation


Paid 6-Month Internship at RainReady

RainReady Careers


A “Sixth Sense” for humidity helps insects stay out of climate trouble

The Conversation

Symposium Looks to Israel as Role Model for Water Sustainability

Northwestern University

Water Sustainability Symposium to Examine Solutions for Middle East

Northwestern University





See below for upcoming events

ter/Energy/Climate Symposium
8:30 am to 4:30 pm

Keynote Address: Representative Mike Quigley, U.S. House of Representatives, 5th District Illinois
Plenary Talk: Diana Bauer, PhD, Director, Office of Energy Policy Analysis and Integration, Office of Energy Policy and Systems Analysis, U.S. Department of Energy
Plenary Talk: Mark Johnson, PhD, Director, Advanced Manufacturing Office, U.S. Department of Energy


Harriet Festing, Center for Neighborhood Technology
Andrew Gronewald, PhD, NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory
Jessica Hellmann, PhD, University of Minnesota
Thomas Kunetz, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District
Joseph Ryan, PhD, University of Colorado

Louis Room South, Norris University Center, 1999 Campus Drive, Evanston Campus

Click here for our full calendar

Program Leadership

Susan Black


Academic Partners

The Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern

ISEN advances global energy and sustainability solutions through transformational research, interdisciplinary education, and public engagement.

Center for Optimization and Statistical Learning

OSL provides innovative research to better utilize the growing amounts of data available in our increasingly networked world.

Northwestern Argonne Institute in Science and Engineering

NAISE fosters collaborative research in energy, national security, and biological and environmental systems. NAISE supports computational facilities at both institutions.

Environmental Advocacy Center, Pritzker School of Law

The Northwestern Pritzker School of Law Bluhm Legal Clinic’s Environmental Advocacy Center pursues issues in clean air and water, clean up of hazardous waste sites, safe drinking water, green technology, climate change, and renewable energy.

Conservation Partnerships

Partnerships with conservation organizations including the Chicago Botanic Garden and The Nature Conservancy engage students and the public in sustainable water solutions.