The Young Water Professionals movement comes to Bath
For someone at the start of their career in water, the University of Bath was the place to be in April as it hosted a total of 260 young water professionals across three events.
Bath hosts first ever UK Wetskills event
The University’s Water Innovation & Research Centre (WIRC@Bath) in collaboration with the Wetskills Foundation, successfully organised the first ever UK edition of the Wetskills Water Challenge.
This is a pressure-cooker program for students and young professionals from across the world with a passion for water. It aims to promote cross-sectoral collaboration and foster potential new partnerships across Europe, by empowering knowledge and cultural exchange.
Bath hosted a group of 12 talented young water professionals from multiple cultural and scientific backgrounds who worked in transdisciplinary teams and formed innovative solutions for real-world challenges, such as flooding prevention, stakeholder engagement and resilient urban planning.
The event took place at the University’s Claverton campus over a two week period and was supported by the Bath Institute of Mathematical Innovation (IMI), the University’s Alumni Fund, Wessex Water, the Water Authority of Delfland, the European Water Traineeships and the Municipality of Westland. Expert input from across the UK water sector, including Bath & North East Somerset Council and the Environment Agency, assured the scientific robustness of the event’s outputs.
The Young Water Professionals conference
The water sector recognised some years ago that it was ageing and that it needed fresh talent if it was going to solve future important challenges. With this in mind, the International Water Association (IWA), the largest international network of water professionals with members in 130 countries, began to actively push for higher visibility and empowerment of Young Water Professionals (YWP). The UK YWP Chapter is one of the strongest in the world and its annual conference is one of the largest gatherings of YWPs and offers a tailored conference for professionals emerging in the water industry.
Organised by the University of Bath as part of its 50th anniversary festivities, together with a number of partners including Black & Veatch, Wessex Water, The Foundation for Water Research, the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Institution for Chemical Engineers, the conference brought together 200 speakers and participants from academia and industry, from the UK and abroad. The scientific and organising committee involved more than twenty early career and senior professionals to deliver a program packed with presentations, workshops, discussions, new ideas and opportunities for career development.
After a welcome speech by the University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor Prof Bernie Morley, and the Chairs of the conference, Ana Lanham and Marta Coma, the tone for the conference was set by an inspiring series of short talks by senior and mid-career professionals from industry, consultancy and academia in a session entitled “My career in water."
There were four workshops on breaking barriers in career development, unlocking the power of data in the water sector, the importance of cross-sectoral communication and ideas for better public engagement, all facilitated by professionals in the field together which provided attendees the opportunity to learn and develop new skills. Excellent keynote speakers delivered a wide perspective of the challenges the sector is facing from the importance of communication and social sciences across the water sector, to the imminent DNA revolution, as well as the challenges to the sector and to the UK utilities.
The Future of UK Coastal Research – 13th UK Young Coastal Scientists and Engineers Conference
The 13th UK Young Coastal Scientists and Engineers Conference (YCSEC) provided a unique opportunity for leading young coastal scientists and engineers working in academia and industry throughout the UK to present their work and network with their peers. Building on the success of previous conferences, the 13th YCSEC brought together over 60 early career researchers and practitioners from more than 30 UK and overseas universities, research institutes and companies for two days of fascinating presentations and exciting discussions.
To open the conference, Professor Ad Reniers from Delft University, an internationally renowned coastal modeller, gave a highly thought-provoking keynote presentation on ‘Recent advances in modelling of wave impacts on complex coasts’. Over the two day event, there were 27 outstanding presentations on topics including coastal tourism, beach morphology, wave processes, ocean engineering and port operations.
In addition to the talks, 17 posters were displayed facilitating discussions during networking sessions. The finale of the event focussed on bringing together the research students and early post-doctoral students in a friendly and collaborative environment, which was successfully achieved with a lively and entertaining conference dinner at the Tramshed in Bath.