Media Releases

India and Canada contribute $3 million to “Water for Health” project

May 1, 2014

TORONTO, ON – The Indi­an Government’s Depart­ment of Biotech­nol­o­gy (DBT) and the Cana­di­an Net­work Cen­tre of Excel­lence, IC-IMPACTS, have part­nered to cre­ate a joint “Water for Health” ini­tia­tive, sup­port­ing col­lab­o­ra­tive research projects focused on devel­op­ing and eval­u­at­ing new tech­nolo­gies in the research areas of water and health.

DBT and IC-IMPACTS will each com­mit $1.5 mil­lion to help strength­en inno­v­a­tive part­ner­ships between researchers work­ing in India and Cana­da, and to help stim­u­late prac­ti­cal research out­comes applied in com­mu­ni­ties of both nations.

“This is an excel­lent oppor­tu­ni­ty for Cana­di­an and India researchers to part­ner on projects which will devel­op new solu­tions to ensure access to safe and clean water for com­mu­ni­ties in both coun­tries,” said Stew­art Aitchi­son, asso­ciate direc­tor of IC-IMPACTS and pro­fes­sor in the Fac­ul­ty of Applied Sci­ence and Engi­neer­ing at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to.

Access to safe water is a sig­nif­i­cant issue around the world.  In 2013, the World Health Orga­ni­za­tion report­ed that 768 mil­lion peo­ple in the world – about one tenth of the world’s pop­u­la­tion – do not have access to safe water. In Cana­da, more than five mil­lion peo­ple do not have access to a reli­able source of clean drink­ing water and over 37.7 mil­lion peo­ple in India are affect­ed by water-borne dis­eases due to con­t­a­m­i­nat­ed drink­ing water.

“We are excit­ed and thank­ful for the oppor­tu­ni­ty to launch this col­lab­o­ra­tion,” says Nemy Ban­thia, CEO and Sci­en­tif­ic Direc­tor of IC-IMPACTS and a pro­fes­sor in the Fac­ul­ty of Applied Sci­ence at the Uni­ver­si­ty of British Colum­bia. “We hope that the pro­gram will lead to tech­no­log­i­cal break­throughs that will bring safe drink­ing water to mil­lions.”

IC-IMPACTS, or the India-Cana­da Cen­tre for Inno­v­a­tive Mul­ti­dis­ci­pli­nary Part­ner­ships to Accel­er­ate Com­mu­ni­ty Trans­for­ma­tion and Sus­tain­abil­i­ty, is the first Cana­da-India Research Cen­tre of Excel­lence estab­lished through the Cana­di­an Net­works of Cen­tres of Excel­lence.

The “Water for Health” ini­tia­tive is focused on improv­ing water sources to bet­ter the over­all health of a com­mu­ni­ty. Through this col­lab­o­ra­tion, IC-IMPACTS and DBT will specif­i­cal­ly fund research in the areas of (1) Mon­i­tor­ing and man­age­ment of water borne or water- relat­ed dis­eases using mobile or net­worked health tech­nolo­gies; (2) Waste water treat­ment and impacts on water qual­i­ty; (3) Water purifi­ca­tion biotech­nolo­gies; (4) Heavy met­als iden­ti­fi­ca­tion using biosen­sors; and, (5) Sus­tain­able waste-water infra­struc­ture and man­age­ment using biotech­nolo­gies.

Ded­i­cat­ed mem­bers at DBT and IC-IMPACTS have been work­ing to cre­ate the “Water for Health” ini­tia­tive since Novem­ber 2013.  Through this part­ner­ship, DBT and IC-IMPACTS aim to help strength­en over­all research and inno­va­tion rela­tion­ships between Cana­da and India. By fund­ing col­lab­o­ra­tive research projects, research experts, indus­try lead­ers and com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers from both nations will come togeth­er to form prac­ti­cal solu­tions to great­ly improve the health of both Cana­di­an and Indi­an cit­i­zens.

More infor­ma­tion regard­ing the “Water for Health” ini­tia­tive can be found at Researchers are invit­ed to sub­mit pro­pos­als for research fund­ing online at this web­site from May 1, 2014 to August 1, 2014. Fund­ing deci­sions will be made no lat­er than Decem­ber 1, 2014.

About Depart­ment of Biotech­nol­o­gy (DBT), Min­istry of Sci­ence and Tech­nol­o­gy, Gov­ern­ment of India

The Depart­ment of Biotech­nol­o­gy (DBT) is one of the lead­ing research orga­ni­za­tions for biotech­nol­o­gy in India, and an impor­tant fund­ing source for biotech­nol­o­gy. DBT is man­dat­ed to pro­mote large scale use of biotech­nol­o­gy and to sup­port research, devel­op­ment and man­u­fac­tur­ing in the biol­o­gy indus­try. DBT also pro­motes nation­al and inter­na­tion­al col­lab­o­ra­tions with acad­e­mia and indus­try and pro­vides sup­ports research and devel­op­ment through the estab­lish­ment of infra­struc­ture facil­i­ties.

More infor­ma­tion:

About IC-IMPACTS Cen­tres of Excel­lence

IC-IMPACTS is a pan-Cana­di­an Cen­tre that brings togeth­er a large inter­na­tion­al team of researchers, indus­try inno­va­tors, com­mu­ni­ty lead­ers, gov­ern­ment agen­cies and com­mu­ni­ty orga­ni­za­tions from India and Cana­da, to find solu­tions to the key chal­lenges that affect the qual­i­ty of life of mil­lions of peo­ple in Indi­an and Cana­di­an com­mu­ni­ties. The Centre’s part­ner-com­mu­ni­ty strat­e­gy sup­ports rapid mobi­liza­tion of new solu­tions to improve water qual­i­ty, increase the safe­ty and sus­tain­abil­i­ty of crit­i­cal civ­il infra­struc­ture and improve health across both nations.

More infor­ma­tion:


 For fur­ther infor­ma­tion please con­tact:

UofT Media Rela­tions
Tel: 416–978-0100;

Nemy Ban­thia
CEO & Sci­en­tif­ic Direc­tor, IC-IMPACTS
Tel: 604–822-9541;

Ashish Mohan
Man­ag­er of Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, IC-IMPACTS
Tel: 604–827-1707;