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Centre for Resilience in Environment, Water and Waste

Centre for Resilience in Environment, Water and Waste

Centre for Resilience in Environment, Water and Waste

The Centre for Resilience in Environment, Water and Waste (CREWW) is an exciting new venture on the University of Exeter's campus.

CREWW is the first, Net-Zero-in-Operation research centre to be co-funded and co-created with an institution of higher education and water industry partnership. It is the only water sector facing partnership to receive support from the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (UKRPIF), as well as being the largest supported RPIF-sponsored project in the southwest.

CREWW has been established to undertake research into some of the most pressing environmental challenges in our time - namely how we can manage our precious natural resources in ways which are sustainable, innovative and resilient in the face of climate change and population growth. Our research is undertaken by academics from across disciplines (including Geography, Biosciences, Engineering, Economics and Psychology) who work with partners in industry, government and NGOs to develop a shared understanding toward solution-based research.

CREWW research focuses on pressing issues facing the water and waste sectors, including:


  • Leakage reduction


  • Process technology
  • Catchment management, natural capital and biodiversity improvements
  • Co-located commerically viable laboratory spaces


  • Understanding microplastics in the water environment
  • Bioresources


  • Reducing water use
  • Leading edge metrics, machine learning & AI
  • Energy use
  • Climate change


  • Prediction technology
  • Sewer rehabilitation technology

Our background

The Centre for Resilience in Environment, Water and Waste (CREWW) was established thanks to a grant from Research England and investment by South West Water.

Combined with investment from the University of Exeter, we are creating a new, purpose built centre on North Park Road on the University of Exeter’s Streatham Campus. Construction on the new centre started in January 2022 and we expect the facility to be complete by Autumn 2023. The centre will contain specialist laboratory facilities for water, waste, soil and vegetation analysis and space to facilitate collaboration between industry, policy makers and our academics.  CREWW will also accommodate new, state of the art field monitoring equipment which we will use to improve our understanding of the interactions between the water sector and the natural environment. This is vital if we are to make informed, sustainable choices about how we manage water supplies in the future.

 CREWW will support existing research excellence by providing facilities which will:

  • Contribute to research that is part of delivering the Industrial Strategy and Defra’s 25 year Environmental Plan
  • Strengthen transdisciplinary research by bringing researchers from across academic disciplines
  • Enhance strategic research partnerships by providing collaboration and training facilities where industry staff can work with our own researchers.

To find out more about the progress of the construction project, visit our website.

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

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

Susan Davy, Chief Executive Officer for Pennon Group, which owns South West Water.

The transdisciplinary research centre at Exeter provides a great opportunity to help answer some of the big questions facing the water sector. The centre will be a focal point, not only for trialling new solutions but also for bringing together regulators, utilities, the supply chain and academia.

Steve Kaye, Chief Executive of UKWIR