Research and Innovation Community

The WEF Research and Innovation/Research and Innovation for Strengthening Engagement (RISE) Community will continue to support the core value of accelerating the adoption of innovative technology within the water industry, integrating utilities, academics, and consultants in the discussion.

The community will:

  • Ensure communication between researchers working in academic and other research settings and coordinate input to WEF's efforts to understand and address priorities such as knowledge development and transfer, research funding, and so forth.
  • Support and foster the participation of members from the academic and research communities in WEF's critical objective of driving innovation.
  • Lead and support efforts to increase the participation of academics and other researchers in WEF programs.
  • Provide leadership for and coordination of WEF's research-related conferences, including proposing events and meetings.

Erika Bailey, 2022-2024

Vice Chairs
Pusker Regmi, 2023-2025

Xavier Fonoll-Almansa, 2024-2026

Past Chair
Annalisa Onnis-Hayden, 2021-2023 

Staff Manager
Fidan Karimova
Practice Leader, Global Sustainability and Innovation

View archived RIC Forum Webcasts and Research and Innovation Community Technical Resources.

Below are the latest RISE focus groups. The focus group topics were selected by the RISE community. Each focus group has a timeframe of about one year, after which the focus group members vote to continue the work for another year, or to sunset the group. If you would like to join any of the focus groups, or to join the RISE community, please email Fidan Karimova ( 


Bioforms and Intensification

Chair: Rudy Maltos, Metro Water Recovery - 


Digestion Intensification 

Chair: Parisa Chegounian, Metro Vancouver - 


Hydrothermal Liquefaction

Chair: Michael Thorson, PNNL - 


Improvements in Pre-digestion Hydrolysis Processes

Chair: Tom Nangle, Brown and Caldwell - 
Vice Chair: Rashi Gupta, Carollo - 


Mainstream Carbon Efficient Nitrogen Removal through PdNA

Chair: Stephanie Klaus, Hampton Roads Sanitation District - 

Membrane Aerated Biofilm Reactor (MABR)

Chair: Jeff Peeters, Veolia - 
Vice Chair: Per Henrik Nielsen, VandCenter Syd - 


Resource Recovery through FOG 

Chair: Michael Simpson, LA Sanitation and Environment - 


Soft Sensors and Machine Learning Possibilities and Applications

Chair: Aditya Ramamurthy, Kennedy Jenks - 
Vice Chair: Jennifer Loudon, Intelligent Water Services - 
Vice Chair: Fenghua Yang, MMSD - 


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