Unsolicited Research Program

The Unsolicited Research Program (URP) is designed to fund innovative research projects that can significantly advance scientific knowledge and result in practical water quality solutions. The program routinely receives 10% of WRF’s allocated research budget each year.


Projects are selected using a two-step process consisting of the submission and review of pre- and final proposals.

Funding ranges from $25,000 - $175,000.

> Access the FAQ

Program Details

Proposals may:

  • Complement the Research Priority Program
  • Address local and regional issues
  • Involve the piloting of novel technologies
  • Address research on drinking water, wastewater, recycled water, and stormwater.

Selection Criteria

Proposals will be selected based on:

  • Technical and scientific merit
  • Quality and soundness of research approach and objectives
  • Likelihood of advancing knowledge and understanding 

Submissions & Inquiries

To be invited to submit a full proposal, you must comply with the Unsolicited pre-proposal instructions. 

Go to the “Unsolicited Research Program” section and download the pre-proposal instructions and forms.  A coversheet is required.  The Unsolicited Research Program Pre-Proposal Instructions detail the deadline for your proposal, where to send it, and other requirements.

Finalist Invitation

The pre-proposals will be evaluated and finalists will be selected to submit a full proposal by June 8, 2020.

Proposal Guidelines

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

Program Highlights

  • 2020

    Funding Available


    Proposals Received


    Top Proposal Topics


    Projects Awarded


  • 2018


    Funding Available


    Proposals Received


    Top Proposal Topics

    Water Treatment Processes (Treatment Intensification), Microbes & Pathogens, Compounds of Emerging Concern, Reuse, Stormwater

    Projects Awarded

    Partial Denitrification/Anammox as Alternative Pathway to achieve Mainstream Short-Cut Nitrogen Removal (5027)

    Fate of Antibiotic Resistance Genes (ARGs) and Antibiotic-Resistant Pathogens in Full-Scale Activated Sludge Processes and the Optimization of Activated Sludge Processes for Reduction of ARGs (5028)

    Environmental Persistence and Disinfection of Lassa Virus and MER-CoV to protect Worker and Public Safety (5029)


Please contact our Program Director, Lola Olabode, MPH, BCES, with questions about the Unsolicited Research Program. She can be reach by phone at 571.384.2109.