By Oscar Michel, Masters in Journalism, DCU. Water image from pixabay here.

A £6 million global research project has been announced by Ulster University to find safe water solutions for the developing world.

The SAFEWATER research facilities will try to find low cost technologies and smart devices to tell if water is drinkable.

£4.7 million will be founded by the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) to help other partners like academics in South America and NGOs working in Columbia and Mexico.

GCRF is £1.5 billion fund that supports cutting-edge research which addresses the global issues faced by developing countries. It harnesses the expertise of the UK’s world-leading researchers, focusing on: funding challenge-led disciplinary and interdisciplinary research; strengthening capacity for research, innovation and knowledge exchange; and providing an agile response to emergencies where there is an urgent research need.

According to the lead researcher Professor Tony Byrne from Ulster University, the safe water issue is one of the greatest problem that the developing world is facing.

“In the developed world, we take it for granted that our drinking water is safe yet nearly 25 per cent of the global population drink water that is not safe because of contamination that can cause deadly disease. Clean water saves lives and while we know how to make water safe to drink the cost of doing so may be too high as nearly half the world’s population live on less than £2 per day.

Ulster University will lead on this cutting-edge research which will form part of the SAFEWATER project. It will involve academics from the University of Sao Paulo Brazil and the University of Medellin Colombia, along with the NGOs Fundacion Cantaro Azul Mexico and CTA Colombia who are already working with, and trusted by, the local people.

Through the NGOs, local people will be involved in the development of clean water solutions from the beginning of the project so the technologies will meet their needs. The project will make a real impact on the ground by bringing direct benefits to the lives of people living in developing countries.

Ulster University is a world leader in research which delivers across a number of priority disciplines. This work will further develop our links with international partners and reinforce our ability to deliver research that makes a tangible impact to society, both locally and internationally” said Professor Tony Byrne.

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