Open RFPs

Submit a proposal for the Research Priority Program

This program enables WRF to address broadly relevant subscriber issues, challenges, and opportunities with targeted research, often in a series of projects. We utilize an online proposal submission system to collect incoming proposals for the Research Priority Program.

Early submission of proposals and supporting documents is highly encouraged.

1. Select a Proposal

Review the list of open RFPs, noting their deadlines and objectives. Download the RFP to learn more about the requirements of the RFP. Please ensure your organization can comply with the requirements of the RFP and proposal submission process specified in the proposal guidelines before beginning a proposal.


2. Instructions for Preparing Proposals

Full proposals must be submitted online using the unique project specific link within each RFP. Follow the guidelines to create each proposal component (e.g. project abstract, project description, budget, etc.). Assemble your proposal components into two proposal packets. See pages 5–13 of the Guidelines to build your proposal packets. A recommended naming convention for your two packets is: YourOrgName_Packet1.pdf and YourOrgName_Packet2.pdf.

See guidelines and forms 

3. Use the Submission System

Follow the unique project specific link within the RFP and complete the information presented in the online form. Upload your two proposal packets as PDF files containing your technical documents and your financial documents. Please ensure you upload the required documents before the deadline. Proposals submitted after the deadline will not be accepted.

Note: you will receive a confirmation email after you submit your proposal. Check your spam folder if it is not received. Retain that confirmation email as it contains a link back to your proposal.

Open RFPs - Research Priority Program


Evaluating Innovative and Sustainable Treatment Options for Biosolids


Project Objectives

  •  Identify and evaluate innovative and sustainable biosolids processing technologies (e.g., thermal, chemical, biological) including but not limited to technologies that can provide the destruction of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in biosolids. Technologies that can be integrated with circular economy approaches that yield beneficial co-products (syngas, biochar, etc.) are of particular interest, but not required.
  • Tabulate information such as maturity/technology readiness level, life cycle cost, greenhouse gas emissions, and other relevant characteristics detailed below, to support utilities in assessing the application or adoption of these technologies.

Cost-Effective Approaches for Control of Multiple Constituents of Emerging Concern (CECs)


Project Objectives

  • Establish an integrated framework and cost-effective strategies for the best management practices/control for multiple constituents of emerging concern (CECs) in all water types (i.e., wastewater treatment, stormwater treatment, and other non-point and site-specific source control).
  • Provide utilities with benefit and cost guidance in determining viable treatment options at the water resource recovery facility or the source. If protection measures are implemented at the source, the research would guide the selection of the most cost-effective practices.
  • Outline and address gaps in current and future regulatory drivers for more effective management approaches.

Feasibility of Full-Scale Implementation of LED UV Disinfection


Project Objectives
Evaluate the effectiveness of ultraviolet (UV) light emitting diode (LED) lights for microbial inactivation and assess the feasibility of using them at treatment plants.


Navigating One Water Planning through Municipal Water Programs: Meeting Multiple Objectives and Regulatory Challenges


Project Objectives

  • To apply One Water planning principles and holistic watershed management approaches to multiple municipal programs, enabling utilities and municipalities to meet both environmental objectives and interconnected regulatory requirements (e.g., Clean Water Act [CWA] and Safe Drinking Water Act [SDWA]).
  • To create a decision framework that can help utilities choose from and prioritize interconnected projects and initiatives at utilities.
  • To facilitate engagement with regulatory agencies and proactively identify the priorities and benefits of various actions, including the use of incentive‐based strategies like water quality trading.

Improved Equity & Environmental Justice in Asset Management


Project Objectives

  • Prepare a framework with supporting information that allows for integration of equity and justice consideration into an asset management program
  • Provide tools for better identification of critical customer classes, better engagement and education of stakeholders, fuller identification and understanding of service disruption risks, and improved quantification and monetization of risks
  • Identify potential funding sources available and strategies to optimize access to funding for water equity-related asset management projects

Integrating Wastewater-Based Epidemiology and Clinical Surveillance for Public Health and Utility Operations


Project Objectives

  • Identify what data elements are being generated with clinical surveillance and how wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) methods can be employed to expand the scope and integrity of the typical clinical data spectrum inform public health decision makers and the general public.
  • Inventory and characterize ubiquitous historical and emerging infectious micro agents present in water systems that are usually difficult to detect and propose how WBE methods can improve the scope and timeliness of watershed and community surveillance.
  • Compare and explain how to blend clinical data with WBE metrics to help generate actionable information for timely, reassuring decision making regarding mitigation of infectious agents’ potential risk in water systems, and system damage causing closure or failure.
  • Through new modelling, demonstrate how WBE metrics and clinical data can inform responsive public health policy for the mitigation of potential disease outbreaks originating in water systems.
  • Contrast and justify minimum thresholds of clinical data and WBE metrics for when a water system should implement mitigation measures at utilities to preempt potential and latent disease outbreaks.

Back to the Future: Guidance for Adaptive and Scenario Supply Planning Approaches


Project Objectives

  • Identify the institutional processes and frameworks utilities are using to monitor how supply conditions change over time. Identify what indicators are being tracked, considering reservoirstorage, water demand, financial resources, climate, hydrology, water quality, regulations (i.e., SDWA, CWA, ESA), equity, etc., and determine best practices.
  • Describe and provide guidance on how utilities identify and monitor drivers of change, develop scenarios, and incorporate them into adaptive planning approaches.
  • Describe the value and limitations of trigger points and monitoring (e.g., ability to plan for large disruptive events).
  • Describe and provide guidance on how utilities establish resiliency goals, use adaptive and scenario planning to identify infrastructure needs and make investment decisions, and quantify and develop performance metrics to measure the level of resiliency achieved.
  • Describe examples of tools and models used in adaptive and scenario planning and provide guidance for utilities in selecting the appropriate tools/models for their situation.
  • Describe and provide guidance on how utilities incorporate public involvement into the adaptive planning process, particularly in dealing with sensitive issues around alternative/contaminated supplies, the use of less preferred strategies, and in situations of significant public opposition.

Guidance developed to meet the project objectives should be sensitive to utility size (identifying differentials in approaches) and the project should consider inclusion of international examples, as well as other sectors for identification of best practices.


Beyond Net Zero: Advancing Interdependencies Between Utility Greenhouse Gas Emission Reductions and Water-Energy-Food Nexus


Project Objectives

  • Develop a decision support framework and operational guidelines for WRRFs (Water Resource Recovery Facilities) to achieve Net-Zero Carbon and beyond (e.g., through Water-Energy-Food nexus).
  • Synthesize case studies worldwide (e.g., North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia) that can help demonstrate the applicability of decision support framework for broader uses.

Establishing Industry-Wide Guidance for Water Utility Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventories


Project Objectives
Develop a utility‐facing guidance document and a supporting spreadsheet tool that capture current best practices worldwide for developing a utility GHG inventory over the life cycle of capital and operational emissions (with a specific focus on operational emissions).


Quantifying the Impact of Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning-Based Approaches on Utility Performance


Project Objectives

  • Provide quantifiable results, real case studies, and an implementation demonstration study to gain insight into the capabilities of vendor-driven, academic-driven, or home-grown solutions for process performance evaluation.
  • Evaluate artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML) techniques and compare them with conventional alternatives such as heavily instrumented processes where the instruments can be expensive and hard to maintain.
  • Demystify AI/ML to enable all utility staff to understand, trust, and embrace AI/ML via provable outcomes and value-driven key performance indicators (KPIs). Provide guidance on how to assess which AI/ML solutions are best for specific use cases.
  • Identify impact types (e.g., efficiency, effectiveness, cost-saving, etc.) and how the benefits from the initial AI/ML implementation could endure with only minimal upkeep (i.e., how sustained are the initial impacts over the long run; what financial and effort investments may be required in the future to at least sustain the initial benefits).
  • Identify and discuss risks and mitigation requirements that may apply when an AI/ML approach is used.

Coming Soon

Five additional RFPs will be coming by early 2023

  • Cost-effective PFAS Mitigation Strategies for Communities (5172, Research Priority Program)
  • Advancing Partial Denitrification Anammox (PdNA) Full-scale Applications (5183, Research Priority Program)
  • Developing an Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Framework for Water Utilities (5206, Emerging Opportunities Program)
  • Establishing a Framework for Integrating Stormwater Capture into Water Supply Planning (5207, Emerging Opportunities Program)
  • Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) Workshop: Better Use of the Systems and Data (5208, Emerging Opportunities Program)

See the Advance Notice page for more details

Respond to an Off-Cycle RFP

An Off-Cycle RFP is posted outside of our normal release of RFPs. Instructions for responding to an off-cycle RFP are contained with the individual RFP file. Follow the guidance within the RFP.

Off-Cycle RFPs

There are currently no RFPs available.

Respond to an Unsolicited Research Program Call for Pre-proposals

The Unsolicited Research Program funds novel, transformative research and innovation projects that can significantly advance the science of water and increase our ability to protect and preserve water in a sustainable and cost-effective manner. Learn more about the Unsolicited Research Program.

Open Call for Pre-proposals – Unsolicited Research Program

The next WRF Unsolicited Research Program Call for Pre-proposals will open in 2024. Stay tuned for more information!

Respond to an Emerging Opportunities RFP

The Emerging Opportunities (EO) Program enables WRF staff to sponsor time-critical research on emergent, high-priority subscriber issues. Learn more about the EO Program.

Proposal Submission: follow the guidance within the RFP itself for submitting your proposal.

Open RFPs – Emerging Opportunities Program

There are currently no RFPs available.