Industry-Academia Research Seed Grant Program in Water 2018 Call for Research Proposals


The U.S.-Pakistan Center for Advanced Studies in Water (USPCAS-W) established at the Mehran University of Engineering & Technology (MUET) Jamshoro invites proposals for awarding research grants in the area of water, especially to address issues impeding socio-economic development of Pakistan. These issues include: water scarcity, water quality, water governance, agriculture and industrial water management, groundwater management, urban and irrigation water systems, adaptation to climate change, wastewater treatment and use, water and community, and technology development and transfer, among others

The figure below illustrates USPCAS-W vision of Pakistan’s water sector as an integrated sociotechnical system, bringing together resource endowments, engineering systems, and natural and social sciences considerations, as well as, the natural and human impact factors, i.e., natural hazards (especially climate change), and the multiplicity of human responses (policy, governance, law, finance and economics, and culture).

The USPCAS-W Applied Research Program seeks to support water security in Pakistan. Activities are aligned to advance efforts to achieve the targets of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6, Clean Water and Sanitation. SDG6 for water has six targets:

6.1     Universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all

6.2     Adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all

6.3     Improve water quality by reducing pollution

6.4     Substantially increase water-use efficiency

6.5     Implement integrated water resources management at all levels

6.6     Protect and restore water-related ecosystem

The faculty and researchers of USPCAS-W at Mehran University of Engineering and Technology and partners from the University of Utah, Colorado State University, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and other supporters have aligned in research clusters supporting each SDG6 target noted above. The emphasis of these research clusters are to provide tangible impacts on Irrigation and Drainage Engineering, Integrated Water Resources Management, Water Resources Planning and Engineering, Water Supply and Sanitation, and Environmental Engineering. Advanced applications of computational modeling, geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing, informatics, sensors, big data analytics, and social network analysis are applied to address the most pressing applied research needs and the most critical cross-cutting issues of climate change, extremes, population growth, weak governance, and gender inequity.


The goal of the USPCAS-W Research Program is to stimulate competitive and innovative applied research that is multi-disciplinary in nature and developed within the broader context of the water-development nexus to support the achievement SDG 6. To this end, key features of the applied research agenda include:

  • 1. Overcoming water scarcity
  • 2. Developing and maintaining water infrastructure
  • 3. Improving water quality
  • 4. Improving water use efficiency and agricultural productivity
  • 5. Enhancing access to drinking water and sanitation
  • 6. Reversing groundwater depletion
  • 7. Reclaiming degraded lands
  • 8. Strengthening water governance
  • 9. Improving water management
  • 10. Managing wastewater for productive uses
  • 11. Adapting to climate change
  • 12. Improving performance of water utilities
  • 13. Protecting water ecosystems

Call for Research Proposals

The U.S.-Pakistan Center for Advanced Studies in Water (USPCAS-W) invites proposals for research projects from industry-academia teams for addressing water-related issues and challenges mentioned above.

The research proposals should clearly state: (i) project rationale and objectives, (ii) study methodology, (iii) expected project impact in terms of benefits to Pakistan’s economy, (iv) linkages to water SDG, (v) sustainability plan, and  (vi) work plan together with detailed budget. In addition, the proposal should specifically elaborate on the: (i)  novelty, market potential, and feasibility of proposed idea; (ii) strengths of team and technology and venture commercialization experience; (iii) plan for sustainable partnership including identifying funding potential from sales, venture capital, etc.; and (iv) plan for capacity building through training, student involvement, and gender equity.

Team must include one Principle Investigator (PI) from a higher education (or research) institution in Pakistan and one PI from industry. ‘Industry’ for the purposes of this program is defined as a private business, a for-profit entity, or another independent funding source capable of supporting the research beyond the seed grant. Additional team members from government, civil society, academia, and private sector are encouraged. The industry partner must be in Pakistan or working in Pakistan such that person-to-person interaction with academia partner is possible.

Maximum funding available for each grant is around PKR 3 million. Applicants must demonstrate that academia–industry partners have already been collaborating to examine the issues mentioned in the research proposal. The proposals should include cost-sharing contributions from both industry and academia.

All research institutions, HEC approved universities, non-governmental/civil society organizations (with minimum of 5 years’ experience in applied and policy-oriented research related to water issues) are eligible to apply for research grants. The application package should be emailed to at [email protected]. Deadline for receiving research proposals is 19 January 2018.

Download Application Form for Research Grant Proposal (Industry-Academia)

Target Dates

Submission of research proposals: 19 Jan 2018
Announcement of successful proposals with comments: 05 Mar 2018
Submission of revised proposals (including response to comments): 16 Mar 2018
Award of contracts: 28 Mar 2018