Upcoming Events

    Cover photo for ISS Digital Solutions for Water

    November 17, 2020

    Current and ChicagoNEXT will host the next webinar in our on-going series on Digital Solutions for Water.


    Join us to see how sensing and digital technologies are transforming the way utilities operate and manage critical infrastructure. This showcase will bring together four startups (Waterly, IOSight, SENTRY, and Aquify) – two local and two international – to present their solutions for water and wastewater utilities. Learn about a novel sensor technology that provides real-time visibility into biological processes in wastewater treatment operations, platforms that leverage cloud-based technologies to view plant data and generate reports in a user-friendly and secure way, and an all-around artificial intelligence solution for smart management of drinking water distribution infrastructure designed to serve utilities of all sizes.


    Learn more and register here.

    Cover photo for Third Coast Water Seminar Series

    Third Coast Water Seminar Series


    The Third Coast Water Seminars are a monthly research series hosted by Current in partnership with Argonne National Laboratory, Northwestern University, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and the University of Chicago. The series is intended to share the latest research in water and water-related technologies/areas of need to spur collaboration and solve pressing water challenges.


    Future Speakers and Dates:

  • Previous Events

    October 28, 2020

    The Third Coast Water Seminars are a monthly research series hosted by Current in partnership with Argonne National Laboratory, Northwestern University, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and the University of Chicago. The series is intended to share the latest research in water and water-related technologies/areas of need to spur collaboration and solve pressing water challenges.


    This seminar titled, 'Next Generation Desalination Membranes: Where are we Now?', was delivered by Dr. Menachem Elimelech of Yale University. Water scarcity is one of the greatest global crises of our time. Increasing water supply beyond what is available from the hydrological cycle can be achieved by seawater desalination and wastewater reuse. Highly effective, low-cost, robust membrane-based technologies for desalination and wastewater reuse are needed, with minimal impact on the environment. However, progress in current state-of-the-art water purification membranes has been limited. Dr. Elimelech discussed the state-of-the art existing membrane technologies for water purification and desalination, highlighted their inherent limitations, and established the critical needs for next-generation membranes. He also critically analyzed and evaluated the viability of recent research efforts to (i) lower energy consumption for water desalination by improving membrane water permeability, (ii) reduce the cost of water desalination via increased water-salt selectivity, and (iii) enhance membrane solute-solute selectivity for applications other than water desalination.

    Cover image for World Water-Tech North America

    October 21-22, 2020

    The World Water-Tech North America Virtual Summit was live online with 1-1 meetings, interactive group discussions, start-up pitches and critical intelligence from industry leaders on how our industry is emerging from the current crisis.


    The roundtable discussion, Traversing the Valley of Death: The Role of Non-Profit Innovation Platforms in Start-Up Success, on October 22 featured Alaina Harkness, Current Executive Director, and co-hosts, Steve Kloos, Partner, True North Venture Partners and Tom Ferguson, Managing Partner, Burnt Island Ventures.

    Propelling Our Blue Economy event image

    Propelling Our Blue Economy

    October 01, 2020

    Propelling Our Blue Economy was the signature event of Chicago Water Week 2020. We explored the major players in Chicago and Illinois' blue economy and the actions needed to ensure the sector thrives. Attendees learned about the suppliers of innovative water technologies and the companies that use and implement them to solve their water challenges. And heard from leading innovators, researchers, investors, and industry users who have built successful innovation communities - both locally and globally.


    Speakers included:

    • Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, City of Chicago
    • Kari K. Steele, President of the Board of Commissioners, MWRD
    • Andrea Zopp, President & CEO, World Business Chicago
    • Paul J. Vogel, President, Greeley and Hansen
    • Erin Rothman, CEO & CoFounder, StormSensor
    • Jamail Carter, Chief Commercial Officer & CoFounder, Varuna
    • Dr. Terry Mah, The Malabar Group
    • **KEYNOTE SPEAKER** Seth M. Siegel, New York Times Bestselling Author
    • Diana Palomar, VP of Community Engagement, ABC 7 Chicago
    Third Coast Water Seminar Series 1 event image and video link

    September 30, 2020

    Hosted by Current with Argonne National Laboratory, Northwestern University, the University of Chicago, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign


    This was the inaugural Third Coast Water Seminar, which featured Dr. Rita Colwell from the University of Maryland. The event, which kicked off during the first-ever #ChiWaterWeek and focused on waterborne disease (specifically #COVID19). It was the first of a monthly series that will dive into the latest research in water-related technologies, and is intended to spur collaboration and solve pressing water challenges.

    August 26, 2020

    Current and ChicagoNEXT hosted the Innovator Showcase Series: In-Situ Nutrient Sensors and Analyzers for Environmental Monitoring on August 26, 2020. This event focused on technologies, both widely adopted and in development, representing a variety of methods for rapid assessment of nitrogen and phosphorus content of rivers and lakes without physical collection and analysis of samples. As nutrient runoff from point and non-point sources threatens the quality of freshwater bodies and results in dead zones all over the world, in-situ nutrient monitoring helps us better understand the issue and develop effective mitigation strategies.


    See OTT HydroMet, TelLab and Systea's innovations.

    Innovator Showcase Series: A.I. to Solve Nutrient Runoff Challenges

    August 18, 2020

    Current and ChicagoNEXT hosted this Innovator Showcase on 8/18/20, which highlighted A.I. solutions that can solve nutrient runoff challenges. Presenters from Gybe, ConserWater and The Freshwater Trust discussed how their artificial intelligence-based products and services assist with the development of better land and water management practices that lead to more efficient nutrient utilization, as well as nutrient pollution reduction.

    Cover photo for Coffee & Sustainability

    Innovation: Coffee & Sustainability

    July 9, 2020

    When we look to the coffee industry to see what innovative companies are doing to move the industry forward, it is often a study of how they are addressing the triple bottom line: people, planet, and profit. Current and the Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network (CFBN) hosted a conversation that looked at how one of Chicago's finest roasters is pushing the envelope forward and how they are considering water sustainability as a part of that growth and process. The panel discussed coffee innovation, water sustainability, and the current trends in coffee beverages and "better for the planet" beverages!


    Panelist included:

    Tim Coonan, Founder, Big Shoulders Coffee
    Holly McHugh, Marketing, Imbibe
    Tony Fischer, Commercial Systems Specification Manager, Pentair
    Alaina Harkness (Moderator), Executive Director, Current
    Alan Reed (Moderator), Executive Director, CFBN

    CFBN's mission is to be a platform for access and collaboration to help Chicagoland be recognized as "The Silicon Valley of Food & Beverage" based on its growth, ideas, strength and connectedness of industry in the region.

    June 18, 2020

    On June 18, 2020, Current, with Halo and the CoWERC Consortium, hosted an invite-only event titled, 'Workshop: Removing PFAS and Other Emerging Contaminants from Drinking Water and the Environment'. This discussion focused on the challenges of removing PFAS and other emerging contaminants from drinking water and the environment, and gave utilities and large industrial end users, like Evoqua, Mekorot, AECOM, The Israel Water Authority, and Cyclopure, an opportunity to share their challenges and requirements with researchers and entrepreneurs looking to build a supply of innovative solutions. This event built on the public Innovator Showcase Series on the same topic, which took place two days earlier.


    The Workshop's goals were:

    • Close the gap between supply and demand for new ideas and technologies to combat this toxic global problem 
    • Help researchers and entrepreneurs address questions and build solutions that are more closely tailored to the needs of end users 
    • Aid industry and utilities in quickly identifying a pool of promising solutions that could be used to address critical challenges
    • Connect industry partners with R&D needs to the research community, and researchers to relevant funding opportunities

    Towards the beginning of the event, Will Dichtel (Robert L. Letsinger Professor, Department of Chemistry, Northwestern University; CSO and Co-founder, CycloPure) gave a comprehensive overview of the larger PFAS problem that we're all facing.

    June 17, 2020

    Current and the Illinois Water Environment Association, with the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, hosted 150+ local viewers for an early look at the inspiring Brave Blue World documentary. This free at-home screening included special conversations with some of the water-sector leaders highlighted in the film and from our region:

    Film Summary: The Brave Blue World documentary paints an optimistic picture of how humanity is adopting new technologies and innovations to re-think how we manage water. The film takes viewers on an incredible journey to meet with pioneers and innovators who are addressing global water and sanitation challenges. Their stories reveal a hopeful and optimistic future for our most precious resource.


    Check out the what the speakers had to say here (sorry, the film is not included included in this recording).

    June 16, 2020

    Current, with ChicagoNEXT, Northwestern University and Halo, hosted 70+ attendees at the Innovator Showcase Series: Removing PFAS & Other Emerging Contaminants from Drinking Water and the Environment on June 16, 2020. 


    The Innovator Showcase Series is a free, public, virtual opportunity to highlight the entrepreneurs building innovative solutions to the specific water-related challenges facing Current’s community, which includes utilities, industrial end-users of water technology, investors, university researchers, civic leaders, and other entrepreneurs.


    This particular event focused on the challenges of removing PFAS and other emerging contaminants from drinking water and the environment, and highlighted novel solutions being developed by researchers and early-stage companies. See what Frank Cassou (CEO & Co-founder, Cyclopure), Chuck Meek (VP, SolvePFAS), Brendan Ryan (CEO, Hydrus Technology Holdings), and Brian P. Chaplin, Ph.D. (Associate Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering at University of Illinois at Chicago; Co-founder, Zyvant Research & Innovations) had to say here.

    May 13, 2020

    Current hosted New York Times bestselling author, Seth M. Siegel, to discuss his latest book Troubled Water: What's Wrong With What We Drink. We asked Seth about his writing process, why he chose this topic for his latest book, how COVID-19 has impacted water, fielded questions from the audience, and more.

    May 6, 2020

    Current and ChicagoNEXT teamed up again for this fast-pitch lunch-and-learn to showcase local entrepreneurs, who are building inspiring solutions to a range of Chicagoland water-related challenges. Nina Kshetry (President, Ensaras), Seyi Fabode (CEO/Co-founder, Varuna Tech), Donato Ceres (Founder, Aquamox) and Len Bland (CEO, Nano Gas Technologies) gave lightning talks highlighting: (1) the problem they are trying to solve; (2) their innovative solution; (3) their target customer. Missed it? Check out the recording for yourself!

    April 29, 2020

    Current, with ChicagoNEXT, kicked off this new webinar series - the first episode highlighted the great work that entrepreneurs from around the country are doing to tackle persistent water challenges, like lead pipe detection, urban flooding and more. Check out what Erin Rothman (CEO, Storm Sensor), Ian Robinson (Managing Director, Blue Conduit), and Mike App (VP Northeast Region, Electro Scan) had to say about their companies' innovative technologies.

    April 21, 2020

    A convening to advance technology applications that can improve our understanding, management and use of the Great Lakes, hosted by the Great Lakes Observing System with the Cleveland Water Alliance, Council of the Great Lakes Region, and Current, on Zoom.

    Image of attendees discussing a water-related topic at a round table at Current's Vision For Water event in January 2020

    January 8, 2020

    Premier Sponsors: MillerCoors, Nalco Water

    Partners: Metropolitan Planning Council, Field Museum

    Image of Alaina Harkness, Randy Conner, Kari Steele and Steve Kloos at WEFTEC 2019

    September 2019

    Premier Sponsors: Greeley and Hansen, Umore

    General Sponsors: Flume, Ozinga, Hidrate Spark, Open Water, Simple Water

    Partners: BlueTech Research, Imagine H2O, Water Environment Federation

    March 2019

    Sponsors: Arcadis, The Pizzo Group, W.S. Darley, Greeley and Hansen

    Image of a panel at the Innovators Forum at WEFTEC 2018

    October 2018

    Sponsors: Capstone Headwaters, Greeley and Hansen, IOSight, Nalco Water, Organica Water, SUEZ – Water Technologies & Solutions, Water Foundry, Wells Fargo

    Image of a panel at Current World Water Day Symposium 2018

    March 2018

    Sponsors: Beam Suntory, Government of Israel Economic Mission to the Midwest, West Monroe Partners

    November 2017

    Partners: SWAN Americas Alliance, Alliance for Water Efficiency, Global Water Works, Uptake

    Image of a panel at the Innovators Forum at WEFTEC 2017

    October 2017

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