The Global Water Research Institute enables water-centered research that can transform the health and well-being of local, regional and global communities.

Our interdisciplinary, collaborative student and faculty research provides improved understanding of water and equips communitites to make data-driven decisions about their water use.

The Need for Water Research

Global Drinking Water CrisisSOLUTION: Access to safe water
  • 2.2 billion people worldwide are living without access to safe water
  • Nearly 1,000 children (under age 5) die daily due to unclean water
  • Communities in Michigan and Northern Indiana (like Benton Harbor) have contaminated drinking water
Poor Environmental Water Quality in Our CommunitiesSOLUTION: Environmental health and sustainability
  • Working with Project Clarity to address extensive pollution of the Macatawa watershed
  • Evaluating the impact of human activity on Lake Michigan and Lake Macatawa (nutrients, contaminants, microbial life, microplastics and climate change).
Dangerous Viruses that Harm Public HealthSOLUTION: Wastewater testing to positively impact public health
  • Monitoring of SARS-CoV-2 throughout Southwest Michigan to inform public health decisions
  • Future expansion to other diseases and public health concerns

“The problem is acute and needs to be addressed, and we believe that Hope can move into this area and have an impact.”
—Dr. Aaron Best

Working toward Solutions

Multi- and interdisciplinary research conducted by the GWRI will help people worldwide with these water-related problems. Problems can only be solved by student and faculty researchers across disciplines. Our research involves faculty and students from:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Geological and Environmental Science
  • Global Health Program
  • Mathematics
  • Political Science
  • Religion

Bringing together Hope’s water-related research under the umbrella of the GWRI provides a structured way for those involved in the work to connect, brainstorm and look for additional opportunities to collaborate. 

Current Funding

Current funding through a gift from Sawyer Products and the Sawyer Foundation:

  • $250,000/year for five years
  • Year 1 is 2021–2022

Current budget covers:

  • Undergraduate research
  • Global drinking water projects
  • Administrative costs

“I’ve turned down research programs at universities because they weren’t up to speed. Hope runs an outstanding science department with people who are top of the line in the country — where else would I want to go?”
—Kurt Avery, founder and president of Sawyer Products