According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the global pressures of population growth, urbanization, water shortages, and climate change impacts are increasing the agricultural demands for treated waste as a steady source of water and nutrients. In addition, freshwater, nutrients, energy, and chemical compounds recovered from treated waste have found application in areas such as irrigation, horticulture, forestry, and industrial water supply. Further research is underway to explore mining waste for other valuable components that could be reused and recovered in other industries.
Collaborations between academia, government, and industry to recover water, nutrients, energy, and valuable chemicals from waste have the potential to yield commercial successes and be scaled up to global markets.
IC-IMPACTS and the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) invite researchers to submit proposals for projects that can be completed in two years (or less) and that focus on extracting Wealth from Waste.
Your proposal should offer biotechnology-driven research-based solutions, and reflect cost and space efficiencies required for deployment in cities such as Delhi, Kanpur, and Varanasi, or in locations with similar geographies.
Central to the successful proposal will be demonstrating a scalable technology that can be developed as a commercially viable option to extract wealth from wastewater and be applicable to rejuvenating polluted bodies of water such as the River Ganga in India.
Your proposal must reflect the principles of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in order to increase equity and enhance research excellence. IC-IMPACTS is committed to the principles of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, adopted from NSERC’s Statement on Equity, Diversity and Excellence in Natural Sciences and Engineering Research.
Note: Funds requested for Part 1 (research) of this proposal must be no more than 40% of the overall budget requested, with the remaining allocated to Part 2 (demonstration).
This call for proposals has two parts: a research component and a demonstration component.
Part 1: Research: The research component should enable the extraction of reusable water, nutrients, energy, and valuable chemicals from waste.
Wastewater is being increasingly recognized as a source for reusable water, nutrients, energy, and valuable chemicals. Reuse of treated wastewater has been adopted for irrigation, industrial water supply, recreation, landscape enhancement, as well as indirect potable use. Being essential nutrients for agriculture, horticulture, and forestry, recovered phosphorus and nitrogen compounds for fertilizer production have been extensively investigated via struvite precipitation, biological capture, and membrane separation processes.
The carbon matter in wastewater has also been recovered as a bioenergy source. For instance, harvesting of biogas as a byproduct of anaerobic wastewater treatment has been practiced for decades. Biochar and bio-oil conversion from wastewater sludge through hydrothermal liquefaction or pyrolysis is an active area of research. Moreover, mining of wastewater microbiomes enables the production of bioproducts of industrial, high therapeutic, and environmental values (e.g., alcohols, fatty‐acids, or polyesters, which can be used as a feedstock of high‐value chemicals or biofuels, antibiotics, and biopesticides). In addition, the temperature difference between the wastewater and the environment renders wastewater a promising source of thermal energy. Use of wastewater as a heat source or sink to supplement the energy expenditure for heating or cooling in residential areas has been demonstrated.
Similarly solid municipal waste is also being gradually accepted as a source of biofuels (such as liquid, gaseous and solid fuels); bulk and platform chemicals such fats and oils, volatile fatty acids and glycerol; high-value products such as fibre products, organic acids, metals, plastics, chitin/chitosan and bio-fertilizer and other materials such as animal fodder, novel microbes, compost/fertilizer and construction materials made from recycled glass and cement
Part 2: Demonstration: The demonstration component may be funded as a follow‐up to a project in Part 1 or concurrently with Part 1.
Biotechnology driven technology demonstrations should rank high on the Technology Readiness Level Scale and enable the extraction of treated water, nutrients, energy, and valuable chemicals from waste. Central to the successful execution of the proposed project will be demonstrating a scalable technology that can be developed as a commercially viable option to extract wealth from waste and be applicable to rejuvenating polluted, sites and/or water bodies.
Successful applications will be relevant to Indian and Canadian ecosystems and conducive to commercialization, particularly in remote and low-resource settings in India and Canada. Successful applications will also include:
The Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India, is entrusted with the promotion of research, development, and innovation in the field of biotechnology. DBT funds and supports all Indian universities, research organizations, non-governmental organizations and industry working in the area of biotechnology. The DBT has promoted and reinforced the development of innovations in biotechnology, and life sciences with far-reaching impacts in fields that range from health, agriculture, environment to animal sciences and industry.
IC-IMPACTS Centres of Excellence is a not-for-profit organization, established by the Federal Government of Canada through the Centres of Excellence Program to serve as a pan-Canadian agency responsible for the delivery of research programs in the areas sustainable infrastructure, integrated water management, and public health, disease prevention, and treatment between Canada and India. It is the only Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) with a mandate focused on research collaborations between Canada and India.
DBT and IC-IMPACTS funded participants in the projects shall agree upon the ownership, access rights, and exploitation of the intellectual property generated during the cooperation. The collaboration agreement(s) shall be made in writing. The guidelines of the funding organizations should be followed when making the agreements.
At a minimum, a letter of intent between the collaborators should be included in the application stating the desire for cooperation and acknowledging that each participant has understood the general terms and conditions of the other project parties.
Dr. Sangita Kasture
To apply for this Call for Proposals, download and complete the following documents:
Canadian scientists must also include the following:
To apply for this call for proposals, submit your completed forms on the IC-IMPACTS Application Portal.
 World Health Organization, Wastewater (https://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/sanitation-waste/wastewater/en/)
 Government of Canada, Annex 2—Technology Readiness Level (TRL) Scale (https://ito.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/ito-oti.nsf/eng/00849.html)