PULLMAN, Wash. – The State of Washington Water Research Center is partnering with the American University in Cairo and other Egyptian and U.S. universities to create the Alexandria Water Resilience Center for Excellence. The initiative is funded by a $30 million grant from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) as part of a program to initiate Centers of Excellence in water, energy and agriculture in Egypt.

The State of Washington Water Research Center, located on the WSU Pullman campus, holds a leadership role aimed at designing a sustainable governance system for the center.

“This is a great opportunity for us to design a governance structure that will help the center be successful,” said Jonathan Yoder, director of the State of Washington Water Research Center and professor of economic sciences at WSU.

The Alexandria Water Resilience Center for Excellence will be located at Alexandria University in Alexandria, Egypt. The center will serve as the hub for applied water research, education, partnership development and training for the benefit of Egypt. WSU joins a large consortium led by the American University in Cairo, including five U.S. universities, five Egyptian universities, several private sector companies, and several ministries and public entities in Egypt, with oversight from the Egyptian Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research.

The establishment of the Alexandria Water Resilience Center for Excellence will increase the capacity of Egypt’s higher education institutions and create scholarly linkages between the public and private sectors. With a focus on applied research, the center will train a new, highly-skilled workforce to drive innovation and competitiveness in the public and private sectors, and strengthen Egyptian government policy to stimulate economic growth by leading efforts to understand and effectively address Egypt’s most pressing water challenges.

“With more than half a century of work on water resources for the benefit of the state of Washington and the American West, the Water Research Center has become an important connection between academics, government, and the private sector,” Yoder said. “In collaboration with our Egyptian partners, we will take the lessons we’ve learned over the past 50 years to help them develop center governance in the Egyptian context that will support their efforts to understand and effectively address their many water management challenges.”

The Water Research Center’s partnership in the project will create research funding opportunities for WSU faculty and students to collaborate with faculty and students at Egyptian partner universities on critical water research needs for Egypt. The partnership also will establish an exchange program for faculty and students between WSU and Egyptian partner universities.

“Through this new partnership, we now have a number of different avenues to share and grow new ideas about how to manage scarce water resources,” said Julie Padowski, assistant director for the Center for Environmental Research, Education, and Outreach at WSU and clinical assistant professor with the State of Washington Water Research Center. “We would like to see new ideas evolve and new collaborations form from joint efforts between U.S. and Egyptian scholars on research that has great societal impact to both Egypt and the state of Washington.”

The five-year USAID-funded project kicked off in early 2019 and is expected to be completed by 2023. USAID launched the Centers of Excellence program in March 2019 at an event in Cairo. In addition to the Alexandria Water Resilience Center for Excellence, USAID is funding projects to develop a Center of Excellence in Energy, and a Center of Excellence in Agriculture to foster high quality applied research and build relationships among the education community, the private sector, and policymakers in three key sectors.

Media Contact:

  • Karen Hunt, public relations coordinator, Office of Research, 206-219-2427, hunt@wsu.edu