Research Innovation Award

(In honor of Dr. Pankaj Parekh) 

The Research Innovation Award honors researchers and research teams who have made significant contributions to advancing the science of water through research sponsored by The Water Research Foundation. The award is in honor of Dr. Parekh, who dedicated his life to ensuring safe drinking water and protecting public health.

Submit your nominations for 2023.
Nominations are due by Friday, April 14.


  • Individual researchers or research teams may be considered.
  • Nominations may be made by Foundation staff, subscribers, research partners or members of the Board of Directors. Self-nominations will not be accepted.
  • Awardees will have made a significant contribution to the water community through their body of Foundation-supported research.
  • Awardees will have conducted Foundation-sponsored research that resulted in a key breakthrough related to water management, water treatment or delivery, wastewater treatment or collection, resource recovery, desalination, reuse, stormwater, utility management or customer communications, or other issue of importance to subscribers.
  • Additional consideration will be given to researchers who have:
    • advanced research excellence through collaboration and/or interdisciplinary cooperation
    • effectively integrated research and application
    • guided sustainable development or environmental stewardship
    • incorporated resources with practical application that offer added value to utilities

2022 Awardee

  • Dr. Jack Kiefer

    Dr. Kiefer has dedicated his career to exploring factors that impact water use and water demand in the urban sector, including climate change, economic recessions, and specific customer categories. He has served as a key researcher on nine WRF research projects since 1999, including two of WRF’s most popular projects ever: Residential End Uses of Water, Versions 1 and 2. Through his research, he has clearly demonstrated research innovation, and most importantly, knowledge that can be applied by utilities to improve future planning and resilience.

    Winning this award is a real honor and a product of a lot of hard work and collaboration with many people. There are typically points in life when you might expect something and you don’t get it, and then other times when you’re surprised with something great but did not expect it. The Research Innovation Award is one of those delightful surprises.”
    Dr. Kiefer
    Senior Associate
    Hazen and Sawyer


Past Recipients

  • 2020
    Dr. David Cornwell
    President, Cornwell Engineering Group

    Dr. Cornwell has served as a Principal Investigator on over 25 WRF research projects, focused on topics including filtration, residuals management, coagulant optimization, and more. More recently, he has led several projects on lead and copper control. Dr. Cornwell’s impressive body of work provides valuable insight and knowledge that can be applied by utilities to protect public health.

  • 2019
    Dr. Karl Linden
    University of Colorado Boulder

    Dr. Linden has served as a Principal Investigator on WRF research projects for over 20 years, including several significant ultraviolet (UV) disinfection-related projects. Most recently, he led a team that developed action spectra correction factors for UV inactivation of Cryptosporidium and other pathogens. He has also served as a Project Advisory Committee member on diverse project topics. He has demonstrated research innovation and knowledge that can be applied by utilities and other end-users to protect public health.

  • 2018

    George Di Giovanni
    Metropolitan Water District of Southern California

  • 2017

    Stuart Krasner
    Metropolitan Water District of Southern California

  • 2016

    Bob Raucher
    Abt Associates

  • 2015

    Shane Snyder
    University of Arizona

  • 2014

    Issam N. Najm
    Water Quality & Treatment Solutions, Inc

  • 2013

    Mark LeChevallier
    American Water

  • 2012

    Jennifer Clancy
    Corona Environmental Consulting