The Opportunity

The UK Government estimates that there are opportunities to triple the  UK global market share in water technology innovation by 2030.

Realising this opportunity depends on greater collaboration; a focus on commercial opportunities and customer needs; and access to testing and validation facilities to bring this all together.

There are at least six recognised water innovation hubs worldwide, but the UK is not among them.  Our vision is for North East to be recognised among these.


Have a look at our full programme

09:00 – 09:30

Registration and Coffee

09:30 – 10:15

Tapping the Potential – Keynotes

10:15 – 10:45

Coffee, Networking and Exhibition

10:45 – 12:00

Pitch my Problem – Business Challenges

  • This session will include a series of live challenges faced by local government, public and private sector businesses, utilities and the third sector.
  • Each challenge will have a clear pathway for delivery and some funding associated with it.  We hope our network could be part of the solution.
  • Design of Our Tyne: £2K to bring to life a 3D visualisation of a greener Tyne Estuary – The Tyne Estuary Partnership are seeking inspiration to visualise how the Newcastle Quayside could be transformed and what this green space could look like.
  • Wear Invasive Non-Native Species: £2K to map INNS in the Old Durham Beck – Wear Rivers Trust is looking for a more cost effective and consistent way of mapping invasive plant species in the Wear catchment.
  • Inspiring people to care about our rivers through digital technologies – National Trust want to explore how digital tech can attract new audiences to engage with rivers. They want to see what is possible and how they could adopt this technology. They will award a contract of £1500 to the winning range of ideas.

More to be announced soon….

12:00 – 13:30

Lunch, Bookable 1-2-1s and Exhibition

13:30 – 14:30

Pitch my Product – Solution Providers

We have a range of fantastic pitches lined up displaying innovative solutions that align with our key themes of water and wastewater treatment, flooding, catchment management and data insight.

  • Intelligent Gels – Defining a new era in cleaning drinking water pipelines
  • Wordnerds – Listen.  Understand
  • SDS Ltd– Putting the X-factor into filter drains with SDS Aqua-Xchange™
  • UK Flood Defences – Quick wall barriers
  • e2E –  Enabling affordable data in rural communities. Anywhere. On demand.
  • AFECO – Bio-Cage

14:30 – 15:00

Coffee, Networking and Exhibition

15:00 – 15:45

The Ripple Effect – Panel Discussion

  • Chair: Alan Welby, NE Local Enterprise Partnership
  • Bridget Rosewell, Atom Bank
  • Jamie Ollivere, RTC North
  • Professor Jas Pal Badyal, Durham University
  • Samantha Yates, Global Water Leaders Group
  • Shaun Allan, hedgehog lab

15:45 – 16:00

Closing thoughts


Explore our networking space to see businesses showcasing their technologies and meet potential partners.

Keynote Speakers - Tapping the Potential, 09.30-10.15am

Professor Louise Bracken, Scientific Director, The Water Hub

Louise is also the Director of the Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience at Durham University and the Wilson Chair in Hazard and Risk Research.

Her research expertise is in water management, flooding, and the movement of water, sediment and chemistry fluxes through catchments.

She is keen to apply her scientific understandings to manage water and the environment in an integrated manner to embrace the many uses and demands on water.

Louise will introduce The Water Hub and open the RIPPLE 2019 event.

Dr Jo Burgess, Senior Technology Consultant, Isle Utilities

Jo has 20 years’ experience in the water, environment and wastewater sectors.  She has proven experience in the R&D of new technologies in the UK and internationally, recognised through nine international awards (from organisations such as the Royal Academy of Engineers, Society of Chemical Industry and Institute of Chemical Engineers, and the Vice-Chancellor’s Distinguished Research Medal, at Rhodes University).  Her work has involved academic, public sector and private sector partners.  Jo was the 2014-2016 chair of the board of the Water Institute of Southern Africa (WISA) and remains a director of the company.    She is a Member of the Royal Society and an editor for three water and environment-focused journals.

Jonathan Smith, Business Development Manager, Reece Innovation

Jonathan has a Business Development role within Reece Innovation. In previous roles he has gained a wealth of experience working in a number of different industries including Manufacturing, Oli & Gas and Power Generation. His role involves understanding the clients’ requirements, the scope of the Development Project and successfully bringing together this with the core services Reece Innovation offer. Jonathan was this year’s winner of The Water Hub’s heat of “Water Dragons”, which they hosted on behalf of Future Water Association. Jonathan will talk about how Reece Innovation are trying to ‘tap the potential’ of water, what they’ve learnt from working across sectors, and how this compares to the Water Industry. He’s also keen to tell us why they want to see engineering at the heart of the North East economy.

Discussion Panel - The Ripple Effect, 15.00-15.45pm

Alan Welby, Innovation Director, North East Local Enterprise Partnership

Alan leads the LEP’s Innovation Programme, which aims to drive delivery of key programmes and stimulate investment in innovation and its ecosystem in the North East of England.  Prior to this, Alan has worked in Local Government, the Higher Education Sector, a Regional Development Agency and the European Commission.  Alan will be chairing ‘The Ripple Effect’ panel.

Bridget Rosewell, Chairman, Atom Bank

Bridget has founded several economic consultancies, all of which are successfully operating, and has non-executive roles with major organisations.  Bridget is a Commissioner for the independent National Infrastructure Commission and has led on its project on Northern connectivity and the East West corridor from Cambridge to Oxford.  Her interests include risk and risk management, infrastructure and its funding, public and private sector co-operation, planning policy and corporate management.  Bridget will draw on this expertise to comment on how we can position the north east to capitalise on the market opportunity in water.

Professor Jas Pal Badyal, Professor of Chemistry, Durham University

Jas Pal is a Professor in the Department of Chemistry with a research focus on functional surfaces and surface science.  He is an elected Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS).  His research output includes 182 peer reviewed publications, 41 first named inventor patents and three start-up companies; one of which, won the 2015 International Business Award for ‘Most Innovative Company in Europe’.  Jas Pal provides expertise and experience of research (water purification, fog collection, and water harvesting), product development and SME growth for ‘The Ripple Effect’ discussion.

Jamie Ollivere, Managing Director, RTC North

Jamie is managing director of innovation and technology transfer company, RTC North.  The company employs over 80 people, to deliver a range of innovation and business growth programmes to help companies innovate, compete and grow.  Jamie will discuss opportunities for growth and highlight the support available to SMEs in the region.

Samantha Yates, Secretary General, Global Water Leaders Group

Samantha is the Secretary General of the Global Water Leaders Group, which aims to create a better story for urban water, and she is also the Editor of Water Leader publication series.  Samantha has a strong and diverse background in research looking at the Australian water crisis, water efficiency technologies in the UK, and more.  She has a Bachelor of Commerce (Commercial Law and Marketing with Honours), Bachelor of Arts (Anthropology and Sociology) from the University of Sydney, and a Master of Science in Water Science, Policy and Management from the University of Oxford.

Shaun Allan, Chief XR Officer, hedgehog lab

Shaun heads up hedgehog lab’s Team XR who develop solutions for national and international clients across retail, utilities, health, oil and gas, including E.on Germany, Microsoft, Nissan and others.  Shaun setup one the UK’s first virtual reality companies – Vector76 – in 2008.  Vector76 worked with NWG on a range of augmented/virtual reality and gamification projects in 2015, before he joined hedgehog lab in 2017 as Director of Immersive Technologies.  Shaun runs an annual XR workshop at Thinking Digital.  He also helped design PROTO with colleagues at Gateshead Council to help future proof the XR industry in the region. Shaun will discuss how technology can be a catalyst for accelerating innovation in water.

Registration is free and includes:

Supported networking and introductions

Discounted all day parking at Time Square (£4.50)

Access to all sessions during the day

Delegate pack including full delegate list

Presentations available online after the day

All refreshments and lunch

Ripple 2019


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Durham University
European Union
Environment Agency
Northumbrian Water