Creating the ULTIMATE Young Professional programme

KWR recently initiated a new network has to unite young water professionals across Europe.

Called the ULTIMATE Young Professional, the network is part of the four-year, Horizon2020 ULTIMATE project (indUstry water-utiLiTy symbIosis for a sMarter wATEr society). The initiative aims to drive knowledge exchange and support career growth in an international setting.

The ULTIMATE project aims to create economic value and increase sustainability by valorising resources within the water cycle and across industries. We call it Water Smart Industrial Symbiosis. The project partners range from water utilities to industries, policy, academia and research institutes.

So far, 21 young professionals (YP) from the partners have joined the initiative. What do the UYP participants hope to achieve through the collaboration? Find some reactions here!

Tavishi Guleria, Scientific Researcher – Innovation & Valorisation, KWR Water Research Institute
The Netherlands

Tavishi Guleria

Circular solutions are the need of the hour. YPs can play an essential role in realising this transition and bridging science to practice. This initiative can accelerate circular solutions in the water sector by creating a community and providing a network for UYPs to share knowledge and experiences, develop social skills and brainstorm. As American author and speaker Ken Blanchard says: “None of us is as smart as all of us.”

My ambition is to develop technical and non-technical skills and collaborate with colleagues to add value to the sector. I am fascinated by sustainable technologies and solutions that can enable water reuse. I want to work on projects that facilitate homegrown solutions to water shortage and pollution problems in the long term.

Loïc Charpentier, Water Innovation Policy Officer, Water Europe

We facilitate future collaborations to help drive the circular economy and digitalisation by connecting young professionals. Creating a network builds bridges between different actors with different visions and skills and fosters a holistic approach.

The YPs can raise the visibility of the water sector. So many people are not aware of what happens behind their tap. The YPs can also bring fresh ideas on communicating the results, reaching out to the public, and bringing new innovative solutions.

In terms of my ambitions in the water sector, I am keen to learn more about national narrative and solutions. I want to positively impact our society in Europe and beyond, as water-related challenges are becoming increasingly important.

Myrto Touloupi, R&D Specialist, Greener than Green Technologies

The YPs can work together, share our experience and concerns, and propose innovative actions towards the circular and digital transformation of the water sector.

These actions should include stakeholders’ engagement and public’s awareness activities. In that way, we can create water-based synergies, accelerating the adoption of circular solutions on a local, regional and European level.

The water sector may become more attractive to YPs through events and activities dedicated to them. YPs will attract and motivate their peers through social media groups, publications, and conferences. In addition, it is of great importance to support YPs in developing skills in writing EU proposals.

Through my work in the water sector, I want to achieve water availability for all through water reclamation. My experience until now has revealed that to achieve that, we need to address two aspects: we need to develop units, similar to the example constructed in Nafplio, Greece, that treat the outflow of industries and reclaim water for irrigation. In parallel, we should work on value-added compounds extraction and energy exploitation.

It is also of great importance to increase social acceptance. Reclaimed water will have no value if people do not want to use it. The public should understand that by-products from factories and other manufacturing processes are not waste and are a great source of water and other valuable compounds.

Mattia Ciampechini, Environmental Engineering, Aretusa Consortium

This initiative has great potential, thanks to its multi-perspective approach and composition. It’s not just business; it is a high-performance “professional friendship”. Young Professional means innovation, ambition, sense of belonging, confidence, sharing and flexibility: these are the ingredients to bring new ideas and solutions.

The initiative can accelerate circular solutions in the water sector, create a sharing network of experiences on the field, monitor progress, analyse scenarios together, and compare different technological or digital solutions to face specific topics.

YPs can help create a collective awareness, encourage environmental and sustainability values, and show the impact of scientific-technological research.

My ambition in the water sector is to collaborate with colleagues on the ARETUSA symbiotic system and share this knowledge with European partners. We want to increase water quality and volume for industrial reuse, reducing groundwater withdrawal. We aim to increase the impact of circular solutions at the local level, creating social awareness and analysing replicability opportunities of this system. Additionally, we are studying the obstacles and barriers to the possible reuse of wastewater in agriculture and exploring the eventual path to face the local problem of water shortage.