SWIG news – e-newsletter No 21

February 27th, 2018

SWIG summer newsletter

Hello again from SWIG, with the latest newsletter to update you on our activities and water sensing news. It’s been a busy few months for SWIG with events at some really exciting venues including the National Space Centre (more on the fascinating workshop on Robotics and Autonomous Systems below), HR Wallingford (including a fascinating tour of their modelling halls and 3D ship navigation simulator) and Kempton Steam Museum (awe inspiring venue, we recommend a visit!). Looking forward to the second half of 2016 we are holding workshops on:

  • 20 July: Biosensors (kindly hosted by IBST, UWE, Bristol);
  • 28 September: Modelling (sponsored by Crowder, at IWM Duxford near Cambridge); and
  • 3 November: A SWIG event at WWEM with 2 half day sessions on: Sensors for resilient networks and Sensors for challenging applications (kindly hosted by WWEM).

Just a reminder that the call for posters is still OPEN for the 2016 SWIG Early Career Researcher poster competition – but the deadline is fast approaching so get your skates on if you want to submit a poster before Friday 9 September!

We are now planning our programme for the first half of 2017 and the topics we will be covering include:

  • Market Opening – sensors to add value
  • Smart wastewater networks
  • Specification and installation of sensors – ‘giving the sensor the best chance’
  • Leakage
  • Low cost sensors

Followed by our next Sensing in Water 2017 conference and exhibition (27 & 28 September 2017) – save the date!

If you are interested in presenting at any of these events, please drop me a line. (There will be a call for papers for SiW 2017 in early 2017.) We are always interested in hearing expressions of interest to present, or topics you would like us to cover in future.

The below newsletter includes the following items of interest:

  1. Summary of the truly eye opening and at times distinctly scifi Robotic & Autonomous Systemsworkshop provided by the Chairman, Leo Carswell;
  2. Updated SWIG forward workshop programme;
  3. A bumper pack of discounts at external events for SWIG members;
  4. Calls for posters
  5. Calls for funding relevant to water sensors and associated technology
  6. & last but not least other news of interest to the water sensing community

We continue to get good feedback from our events. Just a selection of comments from attendees at our Process Control workshop in June:

  • “Networking with other delegates has highlighted future opportunities for collaborative working.” [A water company representative]
  • “Catch up with old friends and new partners” [Supplier]
  • “First event attended, potential collaborative opportunity identified” [Supplier]
  • “Have met some old customers and renewed relationship” [Supplier]

If you like what you hear in this e-newsletter – please spread the word about SWIG by using the Tweet & Like buttons at the bottom of this email.

If you are proud of being a member of SWIG and would like to shout about this useful networking and knowledge sharing group, we can provide the SWIG logo for you to include on your website with a link to the SWIG website. Just get in touch with me to ask for the logo.

We hope you find this newsletter useful read.
See you at a workshop soon!

Rosa Richards, Programme Manager for SWIG

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Summary of Robotic and Autonomous Systems workshop

From deep sea mining to rovers on Mars via robotics in high pressure gas mains; the SWIG workshop on Robotics and autonomous system was truly eye opening. 

On the 4th May, national Star Wars day, with Tim Peak orbiting the earth at 17,100 mph, it was only right that SWIG was at the National Space Centre in Leicester for the first ever SWIG workshop on Robotics and Autonomous System. For many years robotic systems have been used, with varying levels of human intervention, to carry out repetitive or dangerous tasks: the use of ROV’s underwater and more recently UAV in the air. This workshop looked well beyond these water industry applications to fascinating and inspiring development across different sectors.

The development of new robotic inspection and repair systems, suitable for high pressure gas transmission mains up to 85 Bar, was described by Wez Little from Synthotech. How the Energy Innovation Centre is working with the utility sector to overcome the practical challenges to using drones for asset surveying was also presented. We then explored how advanced systems, developed for use on Mars, are being applied to underground assets by SCISYS and from SMD how the most challenging environments on earth, the deep seas, are being mined using huge robotic systems. The most advanced technique for asset inspection used by James Fisher NDT were described and finally we looked to the future with Sheffield University who are proving autonomous inspection and repair of the water network could become reality.

All the presentations from the event are available on the SWIG website in the member’s area, they are well worth a look.

Leo Carswell, Chairman of SWIG

Next SWIG workshop

20 July 2016: Biosensors, University of the West of England (UWE), Bristol, kindly hosted by IBST

Chaired by: Richard Luxton, IBST, UWE

Location: Room 4B027, University of the West of England, Coldharbour Ln, Bristol BS16 1QY

Programme: draft programme

The definition of bio-sensing can be two-fold.  On one hand it is the application of technologies that integrate biological molecules with electronics for the rapid detection of biological interactions on a sensor surface.  The other commonly held view is that bio-sensing is the application of more tradition measurement technologies to detect biological entities within the sample or the environment being studied.  A large number of these bio-sensing technologies rely on optical or electrochemical systems in a variety of configurations from simple dip-stick type devices that measure colour or electric current to more sophisticated and complex measurement systems that may use microfluidic channels and nanostructured transducers.  Notwithstanding the complexity of the device, an important feature of a bio-sensor is that it provides rapid results often using portable instruments and can be operated with minimal of training.

This workshop will focus on the latest insights into bio-sensing technologies that have been developed by companies and universities with a view that they will be deployed in the water industry.  These bio-sensors may be used to detect and or quantify a wide range of chemicals or biologics found in water such as heavy metals, viruses, bacteria, algal toxins, pesticides, pathogens. The talks will cover some of the latest thinking around principles of biosensor instrumentation to talks focused on the application of biosensors to measuring targets in water and issues associated with the use of biosensors for these applications.

Newsflash! We are pleased to announce that for a limited time only we are offering to Water Companies, 1st Tier Contractors and Research Organisations the opportunity to buy one delegate place and get one free! Register to attend and Rosa will offer you a 2nd complimentary place.

Cost: £86 (members), £156 (non members), £43 students, £124 table top display, £65 for literature circulation.

Booking: Please use our online booking form or contact rosa.richards@swig.org.uk

SWIG Forward Workshop programme

28 Sep 2016: Modelling, IWM Duxford, near Cambridge, kindly sponsored by Crowder Consulting

Overview: Modelling is ubiquitous throughout the water & environmental industries and covers everything from urban drainage & networks to treatment works design models to computational fluid dynamics to the way that environmental permits are set. However they tend to be the premise of a few knowledgeable experts within the industry and their use is not understood greatly.

In this SWIG modelling workshop we will discuss the current state of the art and the direction it is heading in and how models can be greater used to aid not only the design but the operation of the water industry.

Draft programme

3 Nov 2016: SWIG event at WWEM: Resilience of networks and use of sensors in challenging applications. Telford International Conference Centre, hosted by WWEM.

Overview: Keeping the Country Running is the current UK Government guidance on resilience. It considers resilience as the ability of assets, networks and systems to anticipate, absorb, adapt to and/or rapidly recover from a disruptive event. Monitoring and control systems are fundamental to the operation of the water utilities and have, in recent years, become increasingly importantin the protection of water industry assets against the effects climate change. This morning session will look at examples of where technology and processes have been put in place to provide the required resilience.

Data from on-line instrumentation is increasingly becoming fundamental for managing risk, maximising efficiency and providing the wider business with reliable and trusted information. Although the quality and reliability of instrumentation has improved significantly over recent decades there remain monitoring applications which are operationally challenging.  The afternoon session will look at examples, primarily form outside the water industry where sensors have successfully been used in challenging applications and potential issues such as installation, maintenance and performance have been addressed.

Please visit the SWIG website for more details on each event.
For offers of presentations for the 2017 programme please contact rosa.richards@swig.org.uk

Also if you would like to suggest a topic for a future workshop or host a future SWIG workshop please contact Rosa.

Discounts for SWIG members

14 September 2016: Integrated Water Resources Management, Birmingham

SWIG is supporting the 5th annual WWT Integrated Water Resources Management Conference. This event brings together those tasked with the sustainable management of water, land and natural resources to maximise economic, social and environmental welfare.

Attend this CPD-certified conference to:

  • Learn how the water industry is implementing the WFD and managing abstraction reform
  • Explore how innovative partnerships are transforming the water sector
  • Discover how to build resilience to enhance cost-savings and drive sustainability

SWIG members are entitled to a 15% discount to attend this event. Register now at www.wwt-environment.net and enter IWRM15SWIG into the promo code box.

26-28 September 2016: Global Leakage Summit, London

Leakage Management has evolved to being just one of many operations in holistic network management, but as a specific discipline, the technologies available to reduce leakage are continually developing and improving, while the methods deployed for overall ‘smart’ management of the network become ever more sophisticated.

The 2016 Leakage Summit Delivers Essential Technical and Practical Information to the Global Water Industry.

For further info see the website

SWIG members are entitled to a 15% discount. Please quote: SWIGLS15 on registering

27 September 2016: WWT Drinking Water Quality Conference, Birmingham

The annual WWT Drinking Water Quality Conference (in association with Northumbrian Water Group) is an essential event for water quality professionals seeking innovative solutions to regulatory and technical challenges. The event will showcase how water companies can optimise their drinking water treatment quality through keynote presentations, panels discussions and networking sessions.

To view more details and to register, visit the website.

Alternatively, contact Lisa Matthews on +44 (0)1342 332016 or email lisa.matthews@fav-house.com

SWIG members are entitled to a 15% discount on registration: use the discount code SWIG15DW

5 October 2016: Water Scotland, Glasgow

SWIG is once again supporting the WWT Water Scotland Conference. Now in its 5th year, this annual event provides the flagship platform to address the whole of the Scottish water sector to discuss, hear and share insight on a diverse array of key water challenges.

Attend this CPD-certified conference to gain new insight on:

  • Retail competition both in Scotland and south of the Border
  • Driving employee satisfaction throughout the water sector
  • What is being done to tackle floods and SuDS through regulation, collaboration and modelling
  • Improving water quality and customer service across Scotland
  • Asset management and innovation – how to drive a cutting edge and efficient sector

SWIG members are entitled to a 15% discount to attend. Just register online at www.wwt-scotland.net/book and enter the discount code SWIG15WS. This offer may also be used in conjunction with the early bird rate, which expires on July 29th.

For full details of the event visit the website

11-12 October 2016: European Wastewater Management Conference, Manchester

The European Waste Water Management Conference (EWWM) is the UK’s leading conference on problems and solutions for the management and treatment of wastewater.

Technical Sessions will cover:

  • Phosphorus Removal
  • Resource Recovery
  • Cost Saving & Energy Recovery
  • Real Time Control
  • Inlet Works & Pumping
  • Novel Technologies
  • Priority Substances

If your organisation works within the water and wastewater industry, the EWWM Conference is not to be missed. Visit www.ewwmconference.com for full details or contact Frances at Aqua Enviro: franceswoodhead@aquaenvir.co.uk

SWIG members are entitled to a 10% discount to attend. Just register online and enter the discount code ‘SWIG10’.

12-13 October 2016: The Flood Expo, London

The Flood Expo is the largest event of its kind in the world presenting solutions to widespread flooding problems from 200 of the world’s leading flood prevention companies, alongside 80 seminars from leading experts such as Jerry Cotter from the US Army Corps of Engineers, an extensive workshop schedule and live demonstrations on the Thames highlighting new, cost-effective ways to prevent and manage floods.The latest research, products and solutions on the marketplace to help minimise – or even better, entirely avoid – the risk of potential flooding.

SWIG member discount on a limited number of exhibition stands, on a first come first served basis, please contact Jon Greenslade on 01179296099 / 07837867533 or jon.greenslade@prysmgroup.co.uk. 

15-16 November 2016: European Biosolids & Organic Resources Conference, Edinburgh

The programme is due to be published shortly. Please see the website for further details.

SWIG members are entitled to a 10% discount to attend. Just register online and enter the discount code ‘SWIG10’.

29 November 2016: WWT Water Industry Technology Innovation Conference, Birmingham

The 5th Annual WWT Water Industry Technology Innovation Conference is the essential event for water industry professionals looking to develop novel technological solutions and drive innovative business strategies. Attend this CPD-certified conference to:

Learn which technology game-changers could positively impact your business

  • Hear how your peers are implementing innovative solutions
  • Break down barriers and instigate change
  • Explore the challenges and opportunities in collaborating with the supply chain
  • Understand the role of people and processes in driving innovation

SWIG members are entitled to a 15% discount to attend this event. Register now at events.wwtonline.co.uk/innovation and enter SWIG15 into the promo code box.


Calls for posters

Call for oral and poster presentations: Bright Spark Symposium, 12 September 2016, University of Warwick

Building on the success of our annual Emerging Analytical Professionals conference, the Bright Spark Symposium is a one day conference that provides opportunities for early career analytical scientists to present their work in a low pressure, friendly environment. Talks are welcome on all aspects of analytical science, including but not limited to: environmental science, standards, pharmaceuticals, forensic science, sport science, as well as safety and security. The event also provides a great opportunity to network with like-minded individuals from both industry and academia.

Oral Abstract (1 A4 page) – 31st July 2016
Poster abstract (title and topic) – 31st July 2016

The event is free to attend, but spaces are limited.

For further information, or to submit a talk/poster abstract, please contact Zoe Ayres (Conference Chair) at asnenquiries@hotmail.co.uk or visit the website


Call for posters: 2016 Early Career Researcher Poster competition, for display at WWEM 2 November 2016, Telford International Centre

SWIG invites students and employees in the field of water sensor research to design a poster summarising their work.
This is an opportunity for researchers within the water and environmental sectors to showcase their scientific talents and innovative thinking.

This year there is a £1,200 1st prize, £500 2nd prize and £200 3rd prize!

The competition is open to all ‘early career researchers’ to include undergraduate and postgraduate students either in full time education or within the first 4 years of employment within their area of expertise.

All posters passing to the final judging phase will be printed and displayed at the WWEM 2016 conference and exhibition on 2-3 November, with the top 3 entrants being invited to give a short presentation at WWEM.  The winner will be judged on the poster and presentation, and announced at the WWEM Gala Dinner.

The SWIG Early Career Researcher Prize is intended to raise awareness of technology development and novel applications related to water measurements and thereby promote innovation in sensor research and commercial application.

Further details including terms & conditions are on the SWIG website.

Deadline for submissions: Friday 9 September 2016

Submissions this year must be made using the web portal
For further info please contact rosa.richards@swig.org.uk

Funding calls

NEW EPSRC Funding Call: Remote Sensing for Extreme Environments

EPSRC invites proposals for collaborative research projects to undertake ambitious multidisciplinary research that will advance the development, deployment and/or management of novel technologies to maximise performance of assets and systems in extreme environments. In particular they are looking for research focusing on the application of remote or autonomous technologies in the challenge areas described in the call. The call aims to bridge the gap between the fundamental development of sensors and related technologies and the application of these in extreme or challenging environments.

Deadline for applications: 4pm 2 August 2016

For further info see the website

NEW Innovate UK Funding Call: Infrastructure Systems Funding Competition

Infrastructure forms the backbone for economic stability, growth, competitiveness and productivity in modern society and is key for social wellbeing and environmental sustainability. Yet these infrastructure systems in the UK, and globally, face increasing social and environmental pressures. As an example, to be successful in the future, cities need to deliver a thriving economy, great quality of life and reduced environmental footprint, whilst managing growing economic, social and environmental stresses.

Innovate UK are to invest up to £15m in business led, innovative projects in Infrastructure Systems, provisionally including (amongst others):

  • Resilience of infrastructure and cities to environmental and societal pressure
  • Integrated solutions to systemic challenges in urban areas

Where possible, projects should address more than one of these areas particularly through the introduction of cross-cutting technologies (e.g. digital, sensors, autonomous systems) that can address system integration.

For further info see the website

UK Innovate R&D Open Funding Competition

Innovate UK is investing up to £15M in innovative R&D projects through the first of its “Open” funding competitions.

The competition is open to the best business-led ideas or concepts, which can be drawn from any technology, engineering or industrial area, including Innovate UK’s 4 priority sectors for growth (Emerging and Enabling Technologies; Health and Life Sciences; Infrastructure Systems; Manufacturing and Materials).

The aim is to fast-track ideas to commercial success. Projects should demonstrate disruptive, cutting-edge innovations and businesses should demonstrate ambition and potential for growth.

Deadline: 4pm 2 August 2016

For further info see the website

New funding opportunities in soil security and water risks (Innovation Projects Open call)

Following the announcement of the Innovation Projects call earlier this month, NERC has added ‘Water risks to global food supply chains, ecosystems and communities’

Deadline: 27 September 2016

For further info see the website

Other news of interest to the water sector

Free demonstration of 4-Deep’s Subsea Holographic Microscope

For any SWIG members interested in phyto- and zooplankton ID, water particle analysis and harmful algal bloom detection, John Samson from 4-Deep (4-deep.com) will be providing a demonstration of the 4-Deep Subsea Holographic Microscope on the following dates:

26 July 2016: CEFAS, Weymouth
29 July 2016: CEFAS, Lowestoft

For further details or to book a free place, please contact Ryan Mowat (r.mowat@rsaqua.co.uk)

Stakeholder Consultation on Horizon 2020 Societal Challenge 2

The European Commission has launched a stakeholder consultation on the Horizon 2020 Societal Challenge 2 including the topics of ‘marine and maritime and inland water research; and the bioeconomy’ Work Programme 2018-2020. The consultation will remain open until 28 August 2016. 

For further info see the website

RCUK Call for Evidence

The Government Spending Review on 25th November 2015 announced “a new £1.5 billion Global Challenges Research Fund, to ensure UK science takes the lead in addressing the problems faced by developing countries, whilst developing our ability to deliver cutting-edge research”. The Global Challenges Research Fund is a BIS initiative which operates across a number of delivery partners, including the Research Councils, National Academies and HEFCE.

The Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) represents the largest portion of this Fund. They have launched a call for evidence to gather your views on the high-level challenges that will form the basis of the funding calls from the GCRF Collective Fund, the information gathered will also be share with the other delivery partners so that it may inform their own strategies. They would also like your views on the most effective ways of delivering GCRF.

They are seeking inputs from individuals and institutions across all academic disciplines, non-governmental organisation and industrial sectors both in and outside of the UK.

For further info, see the website

Deadline: 22 August 2016