New name; next chapter: J-WAFS changes name to reflect breadth of capability and impact

The Abdul Latif Jameel Water and Food Security Lab at MIT (J-WAFS) has changed its name to the Abdul Latif Jameel Water and Food Systems Lab.  A new tagline, “Securing humankind’s vital resources” accompanies the new name.

The change, announced in September, is to reflect the broader range of food and water challenges the lab’s research focuses on.

The terms “food system” or “water system” refer to the diverse array of activities, resources, and technologies—as well as policies and economics—involved in the production, processing, transport, and consumption or use of food and water.

This includes water and food security, generally defined as providing people with access to sufficient clean water and safe and nutritious food, as well as issues such as food and water safety, access to fertilizer, water purification, climate change, and the sustainability of our water supplies and food production systems.

  “Our goal in this name change is to even more accurately represent what we already do,” said J-WAFS’ director, Professor John Lienhard.

We considered various terms that reflect the range of water and food sector issues that we focus on:  supply, safety, solutions, sustainability… ‘systems’ was a clear winner for conveying the comprehensive perspective and breadth of our work across the Institute.”

Established in 2014, J-WAFS works to advance knowledge and innovation to build resilient systems that can deliver safe and adequate supplies of water and food for our changing world.

It has funded innovative research projects from all five schools at MIT. Well over 10% of all MIT faculty—from disciplines as diverse as mechanical engineering, chemistry, and anthropology—have submitted proposals for J-WAFS funding.

To date, two companies have spun out of MIT as the result of J-WAFS support, and millions of dollars of follow-on funding have been raised by the recipients of J-WAFS’ seed grants.

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