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ALEXANDRIA, VA.—The Water Environment Research Foundation’s (WERF) annual Paul L. Busch Award offers $100,000 to support innovative research that will lead to solutions for communities and the organizations that serve them. The award, one of the largest in the water quality industry, is in its eighth year and has provided nearly $750,000 to support researchers who, according to WERF, are "imbued with the visionary spirit of its namesake, a leader in the water quality community who challenged engineers and scientists to devise new technologies and solutions for addressing ongoing water quality issues."

Recent award recipients are exploring issues such as the fate of commercial nanomaterials in wastewater treatment receiving waters, self-sustaining wastewater treatment facilities through the use of microbial fuel cells, and effective removal of endocrine disrupting compounds in the waste streams of biofuel producers.

Cutting-edge research is often just far enough ahead of the curve to be overlooked by more traditional funding sources, said 2004 award recipient and Penn State professor Bruce Logan. "There aren’t a lot of opportunities for people with truly groundbreaking ideas to get funding," he pointed out. "This award is wonderful because it rewards innovation; gives researchers pursuing new, creative solutions an outlet for their work; and provides some much appreciated visibility."

The award is granted to an individual or team. Utilities, universities, environmental firms, and others conducting water quality research or engineering work are encouraged to apply. Applicants may self-nominate or be nominated by a third party. Applications must be submitted to WERF by June 1, 2008. More information on the Paul L. Busch Award, as well as the application process, is available online at www.werf.org/paullbuschaward.