National Natural Science Foundation Major Program Led by School of Environment Receives Funding

News Dec 7, 2022

In recent days, the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) has announced the list of funded projects for the National Natural Science Foundation Major Program (referred to as "Major Program") for 2022. The major project "Ecological utilization and regulation mechanism of reclaimed water" led by Professor Hongying Hu from the School of Environment at Tsinghua University has received funding.

The project will run for five years and consists of five sub-projects jointly undertaken by scholars from Tsinghua University, the University of Science and Technology of China, Harbin Institute of Technology, Jilin Jianzhu University, and the Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Professor Hongying Hu will serve as the project leader and be responsible for the sub-project "Ecological risk generation mechanism and safety threshold of reclaimed water," while Professor Ming Xu from the School of Environment will be the sub-project leader for "Environmental benefits and low-carbon coupling mechanism of ecological utilization of reclaimed water."

Ecological utilization of reclaimed water is a major national requirement to solve the problems of water scarcity and water pollution. It is essential for ensuring water resource security, river and lake water environmental quality, and water ecological safety. The premise of ecological utilization is safety assurance. The major project led by Professor Hongying Hu from the School of Environment at Tsinghua University aims to break through the theoretical evaluation of the ecological effect and water quality safety threshold of reclaimed water. The project will innovate the principle of reclaimed water purification, clarify the ecological integration mechanism of reclaimed water, develop low-carbon optimization methods for the full life cycle of reclaimed water utilization systems, and build a theoretical and technical system for ecological utilization and safety assurance of reclaimed water. This project is of great significance for ensuring the water resource and ecological environment security in China, supporting the goals of "reducing carbon emissions, reducing pollution, expanding green areas, and promoting growth," and achieving the comprehensive management of water resources, water environment, and water ecology.

Professor Hongying Hu and her research team have long focused on the research of safe and efficient utilization of reclaimed water. They have achieved a series of results in the methods of reclaimed water quality and water evaluation, the theory of reclaimed water treatment and water quality safety assurance, the ecological and industrial utilization of reclaimed water, and the standards of reclaimed water. Professor Ming Xu and his research team mainly conduct research in the field of environmental system engineering, and have achieved a series of results in industrial genomics theory, environmental data science methods, credible carbon footprint system construction, and missing data prediction technology for life cycle assessment. The approval of this major project marks a new milestone in the research of reclaimed water utilization and can provide a more systematic and solid theoretical basis and technical support for reclaimed water utilization.

The Major Program is one of the significant flagship projects established by the National Natural Science Foundation, aiming to tackle major scientific problems at the forefront of science, national economic, social, and technological development, and national security requirements. Through forward-looking deployment, interdisciplinary and comprehensive research, and the full play of supporting and leading roles, the Major Program aims to enhance China's basic research and innovation capabilities. The "Ecological utilization and regulation mechanism of reclaimed water" project is part of the second batch of Major Projects for the 14th Five-Year Plan.