Freshwater Collaborative Awards $4.34 Million to Bolster Student Training and Workforce Development

MILWAUKEE, Wis — The Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin has awarded more than $4.3 million in funding for 22 projects that will increase research and training opportunities for high school and undergraduate students and will address Wisconsin’s biggest water challenges, including emerging contaminants such as PFAS and agricultural water management issues such as phosphorus pollution.

“The collaboration of our public universities to protect and preserve Wisconsin’s freshwater will pay dividends for every Wisconsinite for generations,” said UW System President Jay Rothman. “Using the resources and expertise we have at all our 13 universities leverages Wisconsin’s extraordinary higher education system. I am very proud of the work of our students, faculty, and staff on this important initiative.” 

Funding will support expansion of summer research programs that allow students from Wisconsin and across the nation to conduct freshwater research at one of the UW System campuses; summer programs for high school students to educate them about careers in the water industry; and university-led research projects that help fulfill community and government agency needs for water quality monitoring. Numerous projects will address phosporus PFAS, “forever chemicals” used in everyday products that have been shown to cause significant health issues in humans and which have been identified at high levels in drinking water throughout the state.

“The most exciting thing about this latest round of funding is seeing how programs are becoming more interconnected. For example, high school students attending a summer camp in western Wisconsin are interacting with undergraduate students and faculty who are working on other Freshwater Collaborative–funded projects throughout the state,” said Marissa Jablonski, executive director for the Freshwater Collaborative. “We can really see how these connections are building a pipeline from high school to college to jobs in freshwater in Wisconsin.”

Grant descriptions for the latest funded projects are available at

The funding is part of a statewide initiative, backed by the Wisconsin State Legislature and Gov. Tony Evers, to tackle Wisconsin’s grand water challenges and support curriculum development, undergraduate research opportunities, career development, and field training experiences for students interested in studying water-related fields at the 13 UW universities. 

About the Freshwater Collaborative

The Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin is a partnership of Wisconsin’s 13 public universities, connecting with industry partners, local communities, policymakers and advocacy groups. The Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin is training the next generation of scientists to solve global water problems through academic programs, collaborative research and career development across the UW System. Learn more at