Waterstink presents the collective critical thoughts and opinions of Roger Ford and Duncan Thomas, who together have a wealth of experience about the UK’s water industry as well as on global water supply and sanitation policy and strategy issues that concern regulation and innovation matters.
Roger started his career at ICI, launching and growing the highly-successful FM21, chloro alkali business. After managing a team of over 180 scientists at ICI, with an annual budget in excess of £15M, Roger was headhunted to North West Water (now part of United Utilities) where he had board-level responsibility as Director of R&D across 10 countries. Roger built-up a team of over 50 scientists, led the acquisition of two membrane treatment companies which were then consolidated under one business unit, and took on additional responsibility as Environmental Quality Director.
Roger remains a keen enthusiast of enterprise and early-stage technologies, and held the position of Professor for Innovation and Technology Strategy at the University of Salford.
Duncan Thomas is a Lecturer at the University of Manchester. His research looks at constraints and enablers of strategies and practices of innovation in the water sector – including regulatory and policy actions, and sustainability and climate change pressures. He also explores the influence of policy, funding and organisational conditions on how science is performed in the UK and Europe – touching upon what strategies and practices facilitate or hinder breakthrough or ‘frontier’ research, as well as related notions of research ‘excellence’, ‘quality’, ‘value’, and ‘impact’.
Duncan originally read Physics at Imperial College then worked at Thorn EMI’s Central Research Laboratories as an electronic engineer. He then took two Masters degrees and an ESRC–United Utilities sponsored PhD.
Duncan and Roger together wrote The Crisis of Innovation in Water and Wastewater book and shortly thereafter researched Barriers to Innovation in the UK Water Industry for UKWIR. In 2009 together they launched the Waterstink blog (you can read our first ever post here!).
Duncan has gone on to provide advice and input to various water-related bodies in the UK and globally, including Ofwat’s Future Regulation Advisory Panel, the European Innovation Platform for Water, and a working group on water regulation for the International Water Association. His most recent work has involved co-teaching water and sanitation planning and policy in developing countries with Prof. Dale Whittington that later has been produced as two Coursera MOOCs.
These MOOCs and Duncan’s classroom teaching with Prof. Whittington has also featured a stellar array of water and sanitation-related intellectual innovators and practice pioneers, such as: Tony Allan, Clarissa Brocklehurst, Barbara Evans, Regina Finn, Arif Hasan, Kamal Kar, Stephen Littlechild, Diana Mitlin, and others.
Disclaimers, take-downs & fair use
Roger and Duncan write here at Waterstink in a personal capacity but on matters that are heavily related to their professional research and teaching. This blog is supported by but should not be taken necessarily to represent the views of the University of Manchester.
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