Alternative Water Resources Prize - 10th Award


The team of Menachem Elimelech (Yale University) and Chinedum Osuji (University of Pennsylvania)

Dr. Elimelech and Dr. Osuji has made significant advances in nanostructured materials for next-generation membranes and water purification technologies, with a particular focus on implementation issues like manufacturing, sustainability, self-assembled materials, and biofouling. They have advanced our knowledge on a wide range of issues: from carbon nanotubes to graphene oxide, cellulose triacetate and plant-derived feedstocks; from the use of magnetic fields to surface confinement, to engineering crystallite size; and from pressure retarded osmosis to membrane distillation and nanofiltration.

Winner Profile

Dr. Menachem Elimelech

Dr. Elimelech is the Roberto Goizueta Professor, Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Yale University.


• 1989 – PhD; The Johns Hopkins University (Environmental Engineering)
• 1985 – MSc; The Hebrew University, Jerusalem (Environmental Science & Technology)
• 1983 – BSc; The Hebrew University, Jerusalem (Soil and Water Sciences)

Selected Awards:

2019 –AEESP Outstanding Paper Award (with Nathalie Tufenkji)
2015 – Eni Prize for ‘Protection of the Environment’
2014 – The Charles R. O’Melia Distinguished Educator Award, Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors
2012 – Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (AEESP) Outstanding Paper Award (with Amy E. Childress)
2012 – Super Reviewer Award, Environmental Science & Technology
2012 – Yale University Postdoctoral Mentoring Prize
2011 – The Simon W. Freese Environmental Engineering Award and Lecture, ASCE
2010 – Liza Cariaga-Lo Faculty Award for Diversity in Scholarship and Service, Yale University
2009 – World Class University Professor, Korea University, Seoul, Korea
2008 – American Institute of Chemical Engineers Lawrence K. Cecil Award in Environmental Chemical Engineering
2006 – Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (AEESP) Frontier of Research Award
2005 – The Athalie Richardson Irvine Clarke Prize, National Water Research Institute
2004 – Excellence in Review Award, Environmental Science & Technology
2004 – Yale University Graduate Mentor Award
2002 – Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (AEESP) Outstanding Paper Award
1996 – American Society of Civil Engineers, Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize
1994 – W.M. Keck Foundation, Engineering Teaching Excellence Award
1990 – National Science Foundation, Research Initiation Award
1989 – Environmental Engineering and Chemistry Graduate Student Award, American Chemical Society-Division of Environmental Chemistry



Dr. Chinedum Osuji

Dr. Osuji is the Eduardo D. Glandt Presidential Professor and Department Chair in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Pennsylvania.


• 2007 – Post-doctoral research; Cornell University (Materials Science and Engineering)
• 2003 – PhD; Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Materials Science & Engineering)
• 1996 – BS; Cornell University (Applied Physics)

Selected Awards:

2019 – Nano Research Young Investigator Award
2016 – Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Graduate Mentor Award
2016 – YSEA Award for Advancement of Basic and Applied Science
2016 – Yale Science and Engineering Association “Advancement of Basic Science” Award
2015 – Hendrick C. Van Ness Award
2015 – American Physical Society John H. Dillon Medal
2012 – Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award
2012 – 3M Nontenured Faculty Award
2010 – Yale College Arthur Greer Memorial Prize
2008 – National Science Foundation CAREER Award
2000 – Omnova Polymer Science Award, MIT



Acceptance Speech








Winning Work

[1] Park, H.B., Kamcev, J., Robeson, L.M., Elimelech, M., & Freeman, B.D. “Maximizing the right stuff: The trade-off between membrane permeability and selectivity”, Science, Volume 356. June 2017, eaab0530.

[2] Yao, Y., Zhang, P., Jiang, C., DuChanois, R.M., Zhang, X., Elimelech, M. “High performance polyester reverse osmosis desalination membrane with chlorine resistance” Nature Sustainability, October 2020, pages 1-9

[3] Werber, J.R., Osuji, C.O., & Elimelech, M. “Materials for next-generation desalination and water purification membranes”, Nature Reviews Materials, Volume 1, April 2016, page(s) 16018.

[4] Werber, J.R. and Elimelech, M., “Permselectivity limits of biomimetic desalination membranes”, Science Advances, 4(6). June 29, 2018, eaar8266.

[5] Lu, X., Feng, X., Yang, Y., Jiang, J., Cheng, W., Liu, C., Gopinadhan, M., Osuji, C.O., Ma, J. & Elimelech, M., “Tuning the permselectivity of polymeric desalination membranes via control of polymer crystallite size”, Nature Communications, 10(1), May 28, 2019. pages 1-7, #2347.

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