The Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) is offering $100,000 to encourage researchers working in wastewater, water reuse, biosolids, stormwater, watersheds, and other areas to use their imagination, take risks, and explore new directions. The annual Paul L. Busch Award is one of the largest in the water quality industry. Now in its ninth year, WERF says the award supports researchers 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.

Past awards are supporting research on the effective removal of endocrine-disrupting compounds in waste streams, the creation of self-sustaining wastewater treatment facilities by using microbial fuel cells, and the fate of nanomaterials in wastewater treatment systems.

"The Paul L. Busch Award allows researchers to respond quickly to opportunities to do research in new areas," says 2003 award recipient David Sedlak of the University of California, Berkeley. "By the very nature of it being an award and not a more traditional grant, it has given us a lot more flexibility to explore the possibilities and to pursue new lines of research that arise in our ongoing work."

The WERF Endowment for Innovation in Applied Water Quality Research grants the award 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.

Interested individuals or teams must submit their application to WERF by June 1, 2009. All submissions should be sent to the Water Environment Research Foundation, Paul L. Busch Award, 635 Slaters Lane, Suite 300, Alexandria, VA 22314. More information on the Paul L. Busch Award, as well as the application process, is available online at