Work begins on £30million center to tackle global environmental issues

A pioneering new research facility in Devon aims to solve some of the world’s biggest environmental challenges.

The grass cutting ceremony took place on the University of Exeter’s Streatham campus last Friday to mark the start of construction of the Center for Resilience in Environment, Water and Waste (CREWW) – a partnership between the University of Exeter and South West Water.

Funded in part by a £10.5m UKRPIF grant from Research England and investment from both partners, CREWW will be the first purpose-built transdisciplinary research center in the water sector, drawing on many years of collaboration and representing a radical change in the University. partnership with the water company.

CREWW will combine expertise in geography, biosciences, engineering, economics and psychology at the University with SWW industry colleagues to develop solutions to some of the most pressing environmental challenges of our time.

The questions focus on how best to sustainably manage our limited natural resources and how to protect and adapt vulnerable communities and habitats to climate change and population growth.

State-of-the-art facilities

The new center will house specialized state-of-the-art laboratory facilities and designated space to encourage collaborative research and training between academics and experts from the water industry, government and NGOs.

Vice-Chancellor of the University of Exeter, Professor Lisa Roberts, said: “It is fantastic to mark this milestone on our journey to becoming a leading university in climate and environmental research. .

“The new CREWW facility supports the University’s long-term vision, as part of our 10-year 2030 strategy, to drive meaningful action against the climate emergency and ecological crisis.

“CREWW will conduct essential interdisciplinary research, bringing together our best minds from multiple disciplines with South West Water industry experts, to uncover solutions that will make a difference in people’s lives and protect the future of water systems. in the South West, UK. and globally.

Main role

South West Water will play a leading role in the development and success of the new centre, investing over £20m in the collaborative program over 2020-25 and beyond.

Susan Davy, CEO of Pennon Group, owner of South West Water, attended the grass cutting ceremony.

She said: “We are delighted to celebrate the start of work on the new CREWW building and look forward to seeing the facility take shape.

“This partnership will help find solutions to some of the most pressing issues facing our region and mitigate the risks associated with challenges such as climate change.

“Through collaborative research and innovation, together we will play a leading role in protecting and enhancing our natural environment.”

Located on North Park Road, opposite the Laver and Harrison Buildings and adjacent to the Amory Building, the CREWW Center will be at the heart of the Streatham campus.

Public consultation on the proposed plans for the CREWW building took place in March 2021 and the project received planning approval from Exeter City Council in July 2021.

Learn more?

For more information on CREWW visit and for regular updates on the CREWW construction project visit

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