Q&A WE&RF-WRF Integration

Q: What is the vision for the new Foundation?

A: WRF is a nonprofit and educational organization that funds, manages, and publishes research on the technology, operation, and management of drinking water, wastewater, reuse, and stormwater collection, treatment and supply systems—all in pursuit of ensuring water quality and improving water services to the public. The new Foundation has approximately 1,200 subscribers, 2,300 research studies, and a $700M portfolio.


Q: What are the benefits of integration?

A: For the water community, the integration offers a stronger, broader, more interconnected research agenda with greater value and services to subscribers and funders. We are stronger together. Specifically, the integrated organization (1) provides the water community with access to an expanded collection of water research, (2) leverages funding more successfully, (3) shares a greater knowledge base, and (4) more effectively communicates new results and research needs with federal and state regulators. 


There is much value to be derived from our expanded research cooperative with the following new and upcoming subscriber benefits:

The value of the integration to our subscribers now includes the world’s largest One Water knowledge base. By leveraging research funding among over 1,200 subscribers, a greater number of research projects and initiatives can be undertaken. In 2018 alone, we have 310 active projects representing over $57 million of research.


Q: When will the integration be complete?

​A: The two organizations were officially integrated on January 1, 2018. The new organization is led by a single Board of Directors comprised of the directors from the two organizations with Co-Chairs Chuck Murray and Kevin Shafer and CEO Rob Renner. The integrated Board of Directors are addressing solicitation and selection of leadership of the organization as well as other strategic decisions in 2018.


Q. What will the integrated organization be called?

​A: The integrated organization is “The Water Research Foundation.”


Q: Will the research portfolio change as a result of the integration?

​A: The integrated foundation advances a One Water research portfolio that is a resource for the entire water sector. We are continuing to conduct research that is most important to all our subscribers. 


The Board is dedicated to ensuring that research dollars are applied to the research programs our subscribers value the most. We have defined two key research programs through which we will manage approximately 80% of the 2019 funds. To achieve this, we will launch:

  • The Research Priority Program. This program will address broadly relevant subscriber issues and challenges through focused, sustained (multi-year) research efforts.
  • The Tailored Collaboration Program. This program will target regional or subscriber-specific research needs that have broader sector application. The new program will maintain the matching elements of the previous programs (up to $100k) and incorporate a more competitive application process as opposed to a first-come basis. This will ensure highest priority and transformative research needs are addressed. 

Additional research programs including Unsolicited, Emerging Opportunities, Facilitated Research, Tailored Collaborative, and Partnership will continue to be available in 2019 and open to all subscribers to partner, participate, and engage in.

Q: Will subscription rates change as a result of the integration?

​A: To accomplish the goals of the combined research cooperative, the Board reviewed the research needs and subscription rates in tandem. The goal of the 2019 rate structure is to provide a framework for a sustainable and equitable subscription program. Additional details on the rate structure will be shared in separate communications.


Q: Will volunteer opportunities change as a result of the integration?

​A: Volunteers from the water sector provide the backbone of our organizations. We continue to depend on volunteers to participate in our leadership, research programs, research projects, and through other avenues.


Q: Will the integration have an impact on existing partnerships with other organizations?

​A: Both foundations have a history of successful partnerships with many other organizations. These partnerships will flourish through the integrated foundation.


Q: Will the in-kind contribution approach continue?

​A: In-kind contributions and matches are one of the many keys to the success of both research foundation’s portfolios. Through the transition period, we will work to clarify this and any other questions regarding research program operations.


Q: Will the integrated organization maintain two offices?

​A: Two offices are being maintained, with the headquarters in Denver, CO and an office in Alexandria, VA. 


Q: Why was this integration successful now compared to two years ago?

​A: In the time since the last integration discussions, the sector has made substantial progress towards One Water, making the integration of the two foundations even more imperative. The due diligence completed during the first round of conversations led to a much easier path towards approval and integration.


Q: Who should we contact with further questions?

​A: The Chairs of each Board of Directors and CEO can answer questions.


Q: Will those with a subscription to one organization but not both have full access to the integrated portfolio?

​A: Subscribers will be able to access all resources and both websites in 2019. When a single, integrated website is launched later in 2019, our entire portfolio of research and resources will be available to you in one location.