Program Changes Will Lead to Actionable, Timely Results
Two-thousand ten was a pivotal year for the Water Research Foundation. In addition to
managing hundreds of ongoing projects and producing over 80 research reports and
Webcasts, we took important steps in changing, and improving, the way we do business.
These steps included restructuring the existing research program, adding a new Facilitated
Research Services Program, and expanding and improving how we deliver research results
to subscribers. These three separate actions center around one ultimate goal: providing
indispensible value to our subscribers.
The restructuring of the research program, recommended by the Board of Trustees’
Research Strategy Committee, was approved by the Board in January 2011. This
restructuring is intended to streamline and focus the research planning process and to
deliver research solutions to subscribers in a more timely manner. The number of discrete research programs was reduced from
six to three: the Focus Area Program, the Emerging Opportunities Program, and the Tailored Collaboration Program. The Focus
Area Program, comprising 60% of the annual research budget, will identify a limited number of broadly relevant subscriber
issues and solve them with a targeted, multi-year research response. The Emerging Opportunities Program, comprising 20%
of the research budget, will enable the Foundation to respond quickly to emerging subscriber challenges and research ideas
identified throughout the year. The Tailored Collaboration Program, comprising the remaining 20% of the research budget
and unchanged from previous years, enables the Foundation to partner with utility subscribers on research that may be more
limited or regional in impact.
In 2010, we launched the Facilitated Research Services Program, designed to help subscribers more effectively manage
and complete internal research. This program will let subscribers tap the Foundation’s research management expertise,
ensuring that projects are completed in a timely fashion with independent supervision and enhanced credibility. Participants
benefit from the Foundation’s independent management of research, the added credibility of the Foundation’s established
research management processes, and tailored communication of research results to other subscribers and the drinking
Lastly, we began the transformation from an organization that funds research and produces reports, to an organization that
produces actionable, timely information, whether in the form of email alerts about breaking news and regulations or synthesis
documents summarizing what you need to know about important issues. We also undertook efforts to more effectively tailor
our information to different subscriber audiences, recognizing that the needs of the utility CEO and water quality supervisor
may be very different. In 2011, we plan to continue these efforts to target different audiences by incorporating other forms
of communication, such as social media. We’ll still produce research reports for those who need them, but we’ll also produce
summaries of those research results in ways that can be accessed immediately.
Moving forward, the Foundation will remain the leader in producing credible, groundbreaking research on drinking water. But
through the research program restructuring, we’ll provide more complete and timely solutions to subscriber problems. And
we’ll summarize results from our research, as well as information from other sources, and deliver it to you in the format that
suits your needs.
Roy L. Wolfe, PhD
Chair, Board of Trustees
Robert C. Renner, PE, DEE