Research Priority Program

The Research Priority Program is the cornerstone of WRF's research efforts. This competitive program enables WRF to strategically address broadly relevant water sector issues, challenges, and opportunities. Sixty percent of WRF’s annual research budget is allocated to this program.

Researcher in lab pouring liquid into a beaker


The Research Priority Program is comprised of Research Areas that are approved by WRF's Board of Directors. Each area has a specific objective, timeline, and research roadmap of specific projects to meet the objective.

Each Research Area is supported by an Advisory Committee made up of experts and practitioners from utilities, consulting, academia and government. This Committee supports the development and assessment of the research roadmap for each Research Area.

The Research Priority Program is governed by a Board-appointed Research Advisory Council (RAC) that meets twice per year. In the spring, the RAC reviews and approves projects that stem from the Research Area roadmaps. The RAC meets again in the fall to evaluate the Research Areas collectively to ensure they are on track to meet their objectives as well as to recommend new Research Areas.

Selection Criteria

The RAC uses the following criteria for evaluating Research Areas (RAs) (these are not the criteria used for evaluating individual projects/proposals): 

  • Importance: Is this an important topic for WRF subscribers and the water community?

  • Broad Relevance: Does the RA address an issue of regional or national significance to WRF subscribers and the water sector?

  • Feasibility: Is (multi-year, multi-project) research plan sufficiently developed to achieve intended objectives for current RAs? For new RAs, is the objective statement aimed towards a successful outcome? Is it feasible for WRF to make worthwhile progress on the RA? Is it likely that outcomes from this RA can be readily applied to benefit the water sector?

  • Suitability: Is WRF the right organization to conduct the work? Is this research consistent with WRF’s mission and vision? Would WRF stakeholders expect WRF to undertake research to advance knowledge on this topic?

Advanced Notice

Announcements and solicitations for upcoming Requests for Proposal (RFP) can be found on our website or in our newsletters.

Open RFPs

The Research Priority Program is a competitive program in which projects are procured using an RFP process.

Proposal Guidelines

Visit the foundation's Proposal Guidelines page to access supporting documentation for the Research Priority Program RFPs.

Funded Projects

The following projects have been funded by our Research Priority Program.

Research Areas

Projects funded before the integration between the Water Research Foundation and The Water Environment & Reuse Foundation were done so as part of the Focus Area and Solicited Research programs, respectively. Projects funded post-integration, were done so as part of the Research Priority Program.


Please contact John Albert, Chief Research Officer, with questions about the Research Priority Program.