Spring Launches First Innovation Challenge

After a successful launch in December 2021, Spring – the water sector’s innovation centre of excellence – has launched its first innovation challenge.

This gives innovators of all shapes and sizes the first opportunity to share their solutions with every water company in the UK and Ireland.

Following the results of a Spring community poll, the first challenge theme was announced as Net Zero Carbon – and between 14 February and 25 April, Spring will hold two challenges on this theme.

The first is a call for implementable innovations, which address the specific challenge statement “How can a reduction in operational emissions from water and wastewater treatment be achieved?”.

This challenge is open from 14 February until 14 March – giving innovators four weeks to submit their solutions.
The second is an open call for solutions and ideas within the theme of Achieving Net Zero Carbon.

Submissions will be assessed by a panel of water industry carbon experts – and successful innovators will have the opportunity to collaborate with participating water companies.

For our first round of challenges, Spring is partnering with Isle Utilities to learn from their global expertise in utility innovation and change.

Erin Zhang, Isle Utilities Project Director for the challenge said:

We are delighted to have joined forces with Spring to support the development and delivery of the first round of Spring Innovation Challenges.

Over the last decade, Isle has worked to accelerate the adoption of new solutions and ideas in the water sector. We have been at the centre of the ecosystem, scouting for technologies and forming collaborative projects that lead to their uptake – and we’re bringing this experience to Spring.

We believe in collaboration and supporting Spring is part of our ambition to continue to drive innovation in the UK to meet the challenges of the next decade.

Carly Perry, Consultant Executive Lead at Spring & Future Water Board member said:

This is a huge moment for Spring and for the sector.

Our first innovation challenge is the first chance to really test our platform and kick-start the iterative innovation process to improve it for future challenges.

Operational net zero carbon is, arguably, the biggest innovation challenge the water sector faces at the moment. Our challenges will accelerate solutions water companies can start rolling out, delivering efficiencies and improving the services they provide for their customers.

This first challenge will be an incredibly valuable learning opportunity for us too. Innovation is an iterative process – and so are our challenges. We’ll capture our users’ and stakeholders’ feedback and use them to shape future challenges – making sure the process is effective and efficient.

Andrew Tyler, Scotland Hydro Nation Chair (FRSE), University of Stirling and Co-Lead of Spring’s Achieving Net Zero Carbon Community said:

Cutting process-based emissions and delivering on Net Zero is the biggest climate challenge related to the water sector. This is the number one priority, and we need to tackle this head on. So, it is wholly appropriate, that this is the first challenge launched by Spring which will lead to many further developments and opportunities across the water sector.

The first challenge will close on 14th March and successful applicants will be invited to pitch their innovations to key industry decision makers in April.

More information about Spring – including the latest updates on our challenges and full terms and conditions – can be found at www.spring-innovation.co.uk.

More information: Charlie Palmer – charlie@create51.com

Notes to editors

The idea for Spring was first put forward in the water sector’s innovation strategy – Water Innovation 2050, published in 2020. Since then, it successfully bid for £250,000 from Ofwat’s first Innovation in Water Competition in May which was matched by water companies through UKWIR