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ASU Professor Paul Westerhoff selected for 2019 Clarke Prize


ASU Regents Professor of Environmental Engineering Paul Westerhoff

Paul Westerhoff has been selected for the 2019 Clarke Prize, one of the most prestigious awards in the world for water research.

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July 30, 2019

Arizona State University Regents Professor Paul Westerhoff has been named the 2019 Clarke Prize laureate by the National Water Research Institute for outstanding achievement in water science and technology. Westerhoff will receive a medal and a $50,000 prize. 

The Athalie Richardson Irvine Clarke Prize is one of the most prestigious awards in the world presented to active researchers and practitioners making significant advances in water technology. Clarke Prize laureates demonstrate excellence through their continuous contributions to the body of knowledge related to protecting, maintaining, treating and reclaiming water resources. 

“It is an incredible honor to be named among such an accomplished group of scientists and engineers,” said Westerhoff, the Fulton Chair of Environmental Engineering in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering and a senior sustainability scientist at the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability. “This would not be possible without great students, awesome collaborators and the support of a great university.”

While much of Westerhoff’s work has focused on the risks nanomaterials can pose to contaminating rivers, lakes, streams and water treatment and delivery systems, he and his team are now exploring ways scientists can use nanotechnology to safely solve previously intractable water problems. He will also examine how machine learning and artificial intelligence can be applied to water quality datasets to help resolve global water issues.

Throughout his career, Westerhoff has been a leading contributor in the fields of environmental engineering and contaminant science, earning support from the Water Research Foundation, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Science Foundation, among numerous others. He currently directs the EPA Center for the Life Cycle of Nanomaterials and serves as deputy director of the NSF Nanosystems Engineering Research Center for Nanotechnology-Enabled Water Treatment. NEWT is developing technologies to provide sustainable water treatment systems for drinking water and industrial wastewaters. 

Westerhoff also teaches in the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, one of the six schools in the Fulton Schools of Engineering at ASU.  

“The Clarke Prize is recognition of the extraordinary impact of Paul’s work in advancing research on the science and technology of water quality and safety,” said Kyle Squires, dean of the Fulton Schools of Engineering. “He’s been instrumental in helping the Fulton Schools become a leader in the water research community and it’s extremely rewarding to see him regarded in such high esteem by his community of peers.” 

The Clarke Prize marks the latest achievement for Westerhoff, who has garnered wide recognition for his work related to the treatment and occurrence of emerging water contaminants. He is the recipient of the 2018 WEF Fair Distinguished Engineering Educator Medal, a 2018 Fellow of the International Water Association and winner of the 2017 Sustainable Nanotechnology Organization Achievement Award and the 2006 Water Research Foundation Paul L. Busch Award. 

Westerhoff is the 26th winner of the distinguished award. Among the list of Clarke Prize recipients is ASU Regents Professor of Environmental Engineering Bruce Rittmann, the first ever Clarke Prize laureate and winner of the 2018 Stockholm Water Prize

“Dr. Westerhoff’s innovations in interdisciplinary water research have touched on many aspects of water quality and have helped create a healthier drinking water supply,” NWRI Executive Director Kevin Hardy said. “His unanimous endorsement by the Clarke Prize Executive Committee is a testament to his contributions and his standing in the water community.” 

The NWRI is an independent industry institute that collaborates with water utilities, regulators and researchers to develop new, healthy sources of drinking water. Westerhoff will be recognized during an award ceremony on Oct. 19, 2019, in Orange County, California, where he will deliver the 2019 Clarke Prize Lecture.

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