The NSF I/UCRC Water and Environmental Technology (WET) Center, in partnership with the Ben Franklin Technology Partners (BFTP), propose to establish a Water Technology Innovation Ecosystem to advance the commercialization of new water treatment technologies. The goal for this Partnership is to assure long term growth and sustainability as a regional innovation ecosystem. This partnership will assist manufacturing industries, municipal wastewater and drinking water treatment plants, equipment vendors and engineering design firms in providing solutions to water and wastewater issues. Center engineers and scientists utilizing microbial, chemical, hydrologic, and mathematic approaches will work collaboratively to perform the translational research. Faculty and students will work with industry representatives and build upon their research dealing with water quality and emerging contaminants, and learn about entrepreneurship. The overriding intellectual merit of the resulting Innovation Ecosystem will be the impact of industrial need-focused translational research and commercialization programs, which will enhance scientific and business understanding to address a major health and environmental problem.
The Innovation Ecosystem will involve faculty researchers, graduate and undergraduate students working creatively with industrial representatives. The Ecosystem will further enhance the ongoing efforts of integrating research in classroom teaching. Many member companies have international operations, and students will be exposed to regulatory, technological, social and cultural aspects of different countries, enhancing their global experience. The Innovation Ecosystem will involve the Temple University Science and Mathematics Assessment and Research for Teachers (TU-SMART), whose mission is to improve the infrastructure for K-12 STEM teaching and learning and student performance in the Philadelphia region; and the NSF-funded Science of Learning Center at Temple with focus on educating children. Results from research projects will be presented at Conferences and published in scientific journals and business magazines. The Innovation Ecosystem will result in significant revenue growth and creation of high technology jobs in impacted companies across the US.