The American Membrane Technology Association (AMTA) is pleased to announce that the 2020 recipient of the Ian C. Watson Fellowship for Membrane Advancement is Mr. Joseph Barnes of the University of Wyoming. Barnes is an Environmental Engineering graduate student studying Nanofibrous Membranes for the Selective Recovery of Nonaqueous Phases from Industrial Brines under the guidance of Dr. Jonathan Brant. Barnes has a BS in Chemical Engineering from Benedictine College, Kansas, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude.
“I first developed an interest in membrane-based water treatment while working as an intern at the Idaho National Laboratory on their forward osmosis research,” said Barnes. “I am honored to receive this fellowship to support my work on smart membranes and selective recovery, which has the potential to revolutionize produced water treatment in the oil and gas industry.”
“Joseph’s work has a multiple of beneficial outcomes that are expected to transform how membrane separations are applied,” said Dr. Brant. “Already, Joseph shows all the markings of an outstanding membrane scientist and being awarded the Ian C. Watson Fellowship will serve as a solid foundation for his growth as a leader in the membrane community.”
Advanced treatment of alternative supplies is becoming increasingly critical for long-term water security, and most such alternatives—including brackish groundwater, seawater, and recycled wastewater—require both membrane filtration and desalination technology. Accordingly, innovations in membrane technology have significant potential to reduce the cost, energy, and environmental impact of advanced treatment, yielding clean, safe, abundant, and cost-effective water supplies across the United States and throughout the world.
As the leading professional association dedicated specifically to membrane treatment technology and research, AMTA administers several fellowships for university students researching the use of membranes for water treatment, with more than $550,000 awarded since 2007. This financial support not only yields cutting-edge innovations in membrane technology, but also provides career development for the industry’s brightest young minds.
“As the professional community of membrane practitioners, AMTA is proud to represent our membership in supporting our industry’s best young talent, as exemplified by Joseph,” said Brent Alspach, who Chairs AMTA’s Fellowship Committee. “AMTA is grateful for all of our outstanding fellowship applicants, who are not only charting the future of membrane treatment, but also growing into the next generation of our community leaders.”
In 2018, AMTA expanded its commitment to academic scholarship and innovative membrane research by establishing the Ian C. Watson Fellowship for Membrane Advancement in honor of his long and distinguished career dedicated to the beneficial application of membrane technology and his positive influence on both novice and seasoned membrane practitioners. Ian is a modern pioneer of membrane processes and served as AMTA’s first Executive Director. Barnes is the third recipient of the Ian C. Watson Fellowship for Membrane Advancement.