CINCINNATI, January 18, 2011 – The University of Cincinnati, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced today the creation and launch of the Water Technology Innovation Cluster (WTIC) for Southwestern Ohio, Southeastern Indiana and Northern Kentucky. The initiative will research and develop new environmental technologies for water enhancement and usage.
Public launch activities at the University of Cincinnati and the Andrew W. Breidenbach Environmental Research Center adjacent to UC’s campus included UC President Gregory H. Williams, EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, SBA Administrator Karen Mills, and Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory, plus representatives of the WTIC Steering Committee.
Following the public announcement, President Williams joined Jackson to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU), further strengthening UC’s long-time partnership with the EPA. The MOU commits the two partners to working together to:
- Conduct joint research and collaborate on innovative technology development
- Encourage undergraduate and graduate students to explore courses of study in the environmental sciences with an emphasis on water;
- Invest expertise to inspire and motivate students to develop innovative and advanced water technology solutions;
- And identify innovative approaches and practices to advance inventive and progressive water technologies potentially for a broad marketplace.
Two members of the University of Cincinnati Foundation’s Board of Trustees, Jerry Leamon, Business ’73, and Jeffrey Williams, DAAP ’75, HON ’09, played leading roles in WTIC’s formation.
“The pre-existing relationship between the EPA and the University of Cincinnati, matched with their enterprises’ similar interests and objectives around water technology innovation, made this venture a natural fit for both enterprises,” Jeff Williams said. “We were happy to play a part in the evolution of such an incredible opportunity for both groups.”
Nearly 40% of the world’s population does not have access to basic sanitation and clean running water. With global water consumption doubling every 20 years (more than twice the current population growth rate), it’s estimated that half of the world’s population will suffer from severe water shortages by 2050.
WTIC intends to attract outstanding scientists and entrepreneurs to address the many issues surrounding water quality and availability, and to expand its initial regional presence to become the world’s leading source for practical solutions and sustainable practices in water usage.