Partnership seeks entrepreneurial solutions for threats to Great Lakes

WATERLOO, ON, March 22, 2017 /CNW/ - The Water Institute at the University of Waterloo and the de Gaspé Beaubien Foundation launched a three-year partnership that will combine water research and tech to mitigate threats to our vital water resources.

The partnership will bring to Waterloo the AquaHacking 2017 Challenge, a five-month hackathon, to challenge water students, hackers and engineers to develop technology that tackles issues related to Lake Erie. The health of the lake and its watersheds is critical in sustaining local economies, communities and environments.

"AquaHacking is a multi-generational, multi-sector and multi-stakeholder movement that aims to conserve the Great Lakes and the Saint Lawrence, and to foster the quality and responsible use of these waters," said Claude Perras, executive director of the de Gaspé Beaubien Foundation. "Partnerships like this one are important to our mission of championing emerging clean-tech innovation and entrepreneurship while bringing together stakeholders from multiple sectors, jurisdictions and generations to develop integrated strategies for water policy and governance."

A panel of expert judges will select the winners of the AquaHacking 2017 Challenge in September as part of an international water research conference, "The Role of Water Technology Innovation in the Blue Economy" that will take place in Waterloo Region. Five winning teams will share $75,000 and the top three teams will earn placements in local incubator and accelerator spaces to grow their ideas. Similar AquaHacking events will take place in 2018 and 2019.

"The University of Waterloo has been engaged in water research and entrepreneurship throughout its 60-year history," said Roy Brouwer, executive director of the Water Institute at Waterloo. "We are thrilled to partner with the de Gaspé Beaubien Foundation to challenge our students, and to tap into Waterloo Region's thriving tech community to develop new, innovative solutions. We thank the Foundation for their continued leadership in protecting fragile water resources."

The Water Institute and the de Gaspé Beaubien Foundation announced this new partnership at the World Water Day celebration that UWaterloo hosted with Wilfrid Laurier University.

The Water Institute is an interdisciplinary hub for more than 150 UWaterloo faculty members and 400 graduate students who use research and education to address complex water problems.

About the de Gaspé Beaubien Foundation

Founded in 1990, the de Gaspé Beaubien Foundation is a family-run philanthropic organization dedicated to water conservation and to supporting family businesses. The foundation employs an approach known as entrepreneurial philanthropy in its aim to support individuals, families in business, and organizations in becoming responsible agents of positive and sustainable change within their communities.

About the University of Waterloo

University of Waterloo is Canada's top innovation university. With more than 36,000 students we are home to the world's largest co-operative education system of its kind. Our unmatched entrepreneurial culture, combined with an intensive focus on research, powers one of the top innovation hubs in the world. Find out more at

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SOURCE de Gaspé Beaubien Foundation

For further information: Media Contacts: Renee Denomme, BICOM Communications, 416.504.1440,; Source : University of Waterloo,, De Gaspé Beaubien Foundation

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