The Water Initiative for the Future (WatIF): Graduate Student Conference is designed to empower graduate students to become strong, passionate leaders in future water-related endeavours. The backbone of WatIF is creating future water leaders. Students will discuss the implications of their research on the future of the world's most important resource; water. This multidisciplinary conference will encourage collaboration and communication among students, and will provide students from across the globe an opportunity to take a leadership role among their peers and share their research at every stage from ideas to a finished product.
WatIF is working towards creating a global community of early water professionals who will become influential leaders in the future. By bringing together like-minded graduate students during the early stages of their careers, we hope to inspire them to value communication and collaboration across disciplines, empower them to make change, and give them the hope for a bright future.
Establishing a graduate-level network of researchers from around the globe. Create a community of water leaders from diverse disciplines. Fostering unexpected connections between researchers.
Connecting researchers to industry opportunities during and after graduate school. Developing bi-directional relationships between industry partners and graduate students. Encourage multidisciplinary collaboration.
Provide a platform for researchers to showcase their work. Encourage accessible research related to water through social events.
The seeds of an idea were planted: WatIF was inspired by a local symposium held in 2013 at Queen’s University in Kingston. The Water Research Centre (WRC) at Queen’s University hosted an annual local graduate student symposium between Queen’s University and the Royal Military College of Canada (RMC) to showcase research across the two campuses. The 4th Annual Water Research Centre Graduate Student Symposium was the first organized by graduate students, including WatIF co-founders Donya Danesh and Sarah Thompson, WatIF2014 committee member Dan Lamhonwah, and a graduate student volunteer. After seeing the breadth and depth of water research simply within RMC and Queen’s, this initial team of students realized how isolated they felt to their individual research and how disconnected they were from the early water research community as a whole (across Canada). Ms. Danesh, Ms. Thompson and Mr. Lamhonwah aspired to share the sense of community, unity, and inspiration they gained from this local symposium with other graduate students across Canada. The team also felt that an opportunity was needed for graduate students across Canada to share their water research across disciplines, so they decided to create a unique platform tailored specifically to students.
The seeds were given water to grow: In May 2014, a multidisciplinary group of 131 graduate students and 55 professionals from all provinces across Canada joined together at Queen's University to discuss challenges, solutions and opportunities for the future of Canada's water. Graduate students represented research from 23 universities from provinces across Canada. Non-student attendees represented industry, government, not-for-profits, NGOs, and academics. The outcome of WatIF was greater than the organizing committee could have ever imagined.
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