In conjunction with WEFTEC 2016, the world’s largest annual water quality exhibition, The Water Council, headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, today launched a groundbreaking commercialization initiative that will match manufacturers, utilities, and the agricultural industry with promising water and water-related technology research and innovations for advancement into the marketplace.
As part of a dramatic expansion of The Water Council, the ICE (Innovation. Commercialization. Exchange.) Institute will aggregate, evaluate, and connect emerging technologies that address water issues across a wide range of industries.
Working in partnership with the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer (FLC), Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), and Alliance for Water Stewardship – North America, the ICE Institute will serve as a technology-vetting program, providing:
• Access to a broad spectrum of innovations within federal and university research labs;
• A nationwide scouting team to identify emerging technologies and processes;
• A detailed database and clearinghouse of pre-screened innovations powered by the Global Water Port, a web-based research and data dashboard, allowing members to evaluate options applicable to their specific needs; and
• Product matching and development teams to connect users to promising technologies to advance to market.
“Water technologies are often a generation behind, due to a variety of factors, including lack of federally led channels or venture capital, siloed research in university and federal labs, and lack of awareness and resources among small and medium businesses,” stated Rich Meeusen, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Badger Meter and co-founder and co-chair of The Water Council. Meeusen added, “While water technology solutions may readily be available in labs across the country, industry is likely unaware of the research nor can they easily access this work.”
Increasingly, it is understood that water is the lifeblood of the world’s economy. Pressure is now growing for investors and companies to build long-term resilience to water security into their businesses.
“Similar to scouts in sports, we will utilize a team of experts to identify promising research and innovations that are spread across the United States,” said Dean Amhaus, president and CEO of The Water Council. “In addition, much like an executive search firm, the ICE Institute will also incorporate a powerful evaluation process that will target promising innovations for our members, which will save them considerable time and money.”
The ICE Institute focuses on an array of water intensive issues and processes common to all industries and translates solutions between sectors. Its pipeline provides prioritized needs, assessed technologies, and routes to market.
In March of 2016, The Water Council made a commitment during the White House Water Summit to develop a channel of access to Federal Labs’ water and water-related technologies. By partnering with the FLC and the U.S. Water Partnership, the ICE Institute will make water technologies from federal labs more accessible through the Global Water Port.
In coordination with the launch of the ICE Institute, on October 26, 2016, The Water Council is joining efforts with the FLC to host the Water Innovation Virtual Forum, a one-day, online event where Federal labs will showcase their available water technologies, and policy makers and industry will converge to strategize new solutions to water challenges through innovation.
WEDC invested $75,000 through a Targeted Industry Projects Program grant to support the development of strategy, institute design, and operating model, recognizing that this is a highly important phase in the evolution of The Water Council.
With the launch of the ICE Institute, The Water Council is debuting a new membership structure for the organization with special reduced memberships through December 31, 2016.