WRF Announces 2020 Paul L. Busch Award Winner 

Oct 1, 2020
Press Release

$100K Research Prize Will Advance Innovative Water Separation Technologies 

The Water Research Foundation announced today that Dr. Shihong Lin is the recipient of the 2020 Paul L. Busch $100,000 research prize. With this funding, Dr. Lin will advance water separation technologies to address the growing challenges at the water-energy food nexus. 

WRF hosted a webcast showcasing Dr. Lin’s research.

Dr. Lin is an Assistant Professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering and Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. He has previously won notable awards such as the American Chemical Society (ACS) Environmental Chemistry Graduate Student Award and the ACS Petroleum Research Foundation Doctoral New Investigator Award, the ORAU Ralph Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award from the Oak Ridge Associated Universities, and the CAPEES Young Investigator Award from the Association of Chinese American Professors in Environmental Engineering and Science.  

Dr. Lin is an outstanding engineer and is regarded as an emerging leader in the field of water separation technologies. His innovative proposal is timely and poised to have a transformative impact on water treatment and desalination. The selection committee was delighted to have the opportunity to fund work that will make such a positive contribution to utility operations in the future. 

On winning the award, Dr. Lin says, “I am honored and humbled to receive the 2020 Paul L. Busch Award, joining a cohort I have looked up to as role models throughout my career. Separation processes have always been critical to water and wastewater engineering, and I have been fortunate to work in this exciting field. I hope that advances in this new frontier of precise solute-solute separation will enhance our ability to engineer water quality and enable fit-for-purpose water and wastewater treatments that are more cost-effective, adaptable and sustainable, as the need for solutions to address water scarcity grow in urgency.” 

At Vanderbilt, Dr. Lin combines both experimental and theoretical approaches to study a variety of water separation technologies, including membrane-based, electrochemical, and hybrid processes. The main research goals of his lab are to enhance fundamental understanding of various water separation technologies from molecular to system-level and develop new processes and materials that lead to higher process efficiency, reliability, and versatility. The Paul L. Busch Award will enable Dr. Lin to achieve fit-for-purpose water treatment via selective ion and molecular separation using an innovative nanofiltration method called electro-regulated nanofiltration (e-NF). These advanced separation processes can help water utilities desalinate seawater and brackish water, purify contaminated groundwater, and reuse municipal and industrial wastewater. They also make possible the recovery of resources, such as nutrients from wastewater and valuable minerals from industrial wastewater. Learn more about Dr. Lin

Since 2001, the WRF Endowment for Innovation in Applied Water Quality Research has supported the Paul L. Busch Award, providing more than $1.9 million in funding to up-and-coming researchers who are making major breakthroughs in the water quality industry. From energy-producing wastewater to next-generation membrane treatment, WRF has been there to fund this important research, pushing ideas on the brink of discovery forward. 

More information about the Paul L. Busch Award can be found on our website

About WRF

The Water Research Foundation (WRF) is the leading not-for-profit research cooperative that advances the science of water to protect public health and the environment. Governed by utilities, WRF delivers scientifically sound research solutions and knowledge to serve our subscribers and stakeholders in all areas of drinking water, wastewater, stormwater, and reuse.