The top global water research institutes

April 30, 2013
Lux Research has ranked the top water research institutes and universities across the globe.

BOSTON, MA, April 30, 2013 -- Two Singapore universities top the world in water research while a set of geographically widespread players specialize in key subsets of the water space as water efficiency attains global priority. The National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University took the top two spots, respectively, in a ranking of the top global water research institutes by Lux Research. Both focus mostly on desalination, reuse and membranes, the latter two topping global agendas as well.

The Top 10 water research institutes in Lux's rankings, along with their areas of specialization, are:

1. National University of Singapore, Singapore; Membranes, desalination and reuse

2. Nanyang Technological University, Singapore; Membranes, desalination and reuse

3. Delft University, Netherlands; Infrastructure, drinking water and wastewater

4. University of California Davis, U.S.; Drinking water and reuse

5. Wageningen University, Netherlands; Nutrient recovery and infrastructure

6. Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Switzerland; Drinking water and infrastructure

7. Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology, South Korea; Desalination

8. Penn State University, U.S.; Membranes

9. Tsing Hua University, China; Drinking water, wastewater and reuse

10. University of Waterloo, Canada; Infrastructure

"As water efficiency becomes a priority for countries around the world, well-funded universities and institutes are proliferating, doing research that could transform the water industry," said Brent Giles, Lux Research Senior Analyst and the lead author of the report titled, "Top Academics and Institutions in Water Research 2013." "Still, for a corporation or investor, finding the best university or institute partnerships is often hit or miss."

Lux Research surveyed water research institutes, and profiled and interviewed key thought leaders across the world, to identify best practices for partnering with academic research over the next 15 years. Among their findings:

  • Singapore's research is highly focused. Singapore has a specific focus on water reuse and desalination, besides membrane research. Strong government funding for three leading institutes make Singapore a world leader.
  • Dutch research addresses European needs. Plugged into European priorities, Dutch universities such as Delft and Wageningen are strong institutes. But European corporations more often work with national research centers like Wetsus.
  • University of California tops U.S. research. The arid western U.S. gives rise to several top universities. Many smaller schools have carved out a niche for themselves in advanced water research, but the University of California system holds some of the most innovative.

About Lux Research

Lux Research provides strategic advice and ongoing intelligence for emerging technologies. Leaders in business, finance and government rely on us to help them make informed strategic decisions. Through our unique research approach focused on primary research and our extensive global network, we deliver insight, connections and competitive advantage to our clients. Visit for more information.


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