New IWA Young Water Professionals Chapter in France
As part of IWA’s mission to empower Young Water Professionals to contribute to sustainable water management, a new IWA Young Water Professionals (IWA YWP) chapter has officially been established in France this year. This IWA YWP French Chapter will be the country’s go-to network boosting connections for YWPs and a platform to support equal opportunities and quality career development.
The IWA YWP French Chapter is a voluntary network open to all water and waste management professionals aged 35 or below who are enthusiastic, dedicated, and passionate about water-related issues. Here, Gabriel Capson Tojo, Chair of the chapter, presents some key points about the chapter.
Q: What was the motivation for setting up an IWA YWP Chapter in France?
GCT: France hosts many renowned research centres, such as the Laboratory of Environmental Technology (National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and the Environment; INRAE), the Toulouse Biotechnology Institute, and the National School for Water and Environmental Engineering, and world-leading companies in the water and waste sectors, such as SUEZ and VEOLIA. Moreover, there are many senior experts affiliated with the International Water Association (IWA) in the country. As such, France offers excellent opportunities for those willing to pursue a career in water and waste management.
Within this context, there is a growing need to establish a dedicated network for Young Water Professionals (YWPs) in the country. Together with IWA’s Governing Member in France, the French Scientific and Technical Association for Water and the Environment (ASTEE)1, we have identified an ideal opportunity to merge their existing active network for young professionals in wastewater and solid waste and create a joint IWA-ASTEE YWP Chapter in France.
Q: How will the chapter contribute to the empowerment of YWPs in France?
GCT: The chapter will provide a unique opportunity for YWPs to expand their network, making use of opportunities offered by IWA and ASTEE. In addition, building up such a professional network will foster the acquisition of new skills and knowledge sharing, favouring both YWPs and the water and waste sector as a whole. After all, YWPs are the future leaders of the water and waste industry. Other than the aforementioned benefits, the creation of this chapter will also allow to:
- Actively identify and discuss challenges and opportunities in the sector
- Present a platform to share working experiences and job opportunities
- Bring closer industry and academia, as YWPs from both sectors will be part of the chapter
Q: What are your aims and objectives, and what activities do you plan to do?
GCT : The IWA-ASTEE YWP French Chapter will focus on two main themes: professional networking & mentoring for young professionals, and knowledge sharing & interdisciplinary cooperation, especially between solid waste engineering and water-related fields, and also between industry and academia. The YWP French Chapter will undertake the following activities:
- Promote the activity of the Chapter through social media and IWA Connect Plus, via the monthly ASTEE newsletter, and by posting our activities on official IWA/ASTEE channels.
- Organise YWP events in IWA/ASTEE conferences where YWPs will meet and organise workshops and seminars on water and waste topics. We will also consider organising stand-alone YWP conferences when the time is right.
- Organise regular national networking events, including seminars, guest lectures, and visits to companies, utilities, universities, and research centres.
- Organise mentoring meetings with experienced water and waste professionals to provide guidance. The meetings will be open for everyone interested, not just chapter members.
- Organise webinars regularly or contribute to existing ASTEE and IWA webinars to present results from both academia and industry.
Meet the founding members!
Gabriel CAPSON TOJO, Chair
Current affiliation: Researcher at Laboratory of Environmental Biotechnology – National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and the Environment (INRAE)
Gabriel is a chemical and environmental engineer (University of Santiago de Compostela and Ghent University) working around the concepts of circular economy and resource recovery. Gabriel holds a PhD in process engineering (Montpellier University 2017). Since 2022, he has been a researcher at INRAE, where he works mostly on anaerobic digestion and fermentation, resource recovery from wastewater (mostly using purple phototrophic bacteria) and biogas conversion. His main working interests include biological and chemical processes for resource recovery, involving process engineering, modelling, integration, and fundamental science.
Current affiliation: ASTEE
Adeline is a project manager at the French Scientific and Technical Association for Water and the Environment (ASTEE). She oversees the activities of 20 multi-stakeholder working groups in the water and wastewater fields and edits scientific and technical publications on various topics pertaining to these domains. She also coordinates ASTEE’s European and International Affairs committee as well as the association’s young professionals’ group. Adeline holds a BA in Geography and a M.Sc. in Integrated Water Resources Management from McGill University (Canada).
Current affiliation: IFB environment
Sidonie comes from Annecy, France. She graduated as a chemical engineer from EPFL (Lausanne, Switzerland) in 2014. During her studies she did an exchange with the National University of Singapore for one year, and took part in the organisation of the Balélec festival, the biggest student festival in Europe. After that, Sidonie took a year off, as a physics and chemistry teacher in a high school. She started her PhD in September 2018 studying the carbon valorisation from granulated sludge. Sidonie finished her PhD thesis in September 2022, and became a project engineer at IFB environment in January 2023.
Current affiliation: Bluefield Research
Chloé is a senior research director at Bluefield Research. Her work focuses on supporting company strategies through water market intelligence, particularly in the municipal sector. Previously, she was a project officer in the UNESCO Division of Water Sciences and worked on water resources governance and transboundary cooperation in the Mediterranean region. Chloé holds a BA in History and an MA in Geography and Water Management from Paris Nanterre University.
Current affiliation: University of Pau and the Adour Region
Catalina is a PhD candidate at the University of Pau and the Adour Region, working in collaboration with TotalEnergies. Her research focuses on microplastic contamination related to the anaerobic digestion process of bio-waste. She received her B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the National University of Colombia and M.S. in Bioprocess Engineering from the University of Lorraine. She is passionate about environmentally friendly engineering solutions for the welfare of agricultural regions.
Current affiliation: INRIA Centre at the University of Bordeaux
Pablo is an applied mathematician who has dedicated his academic career to the study and modelling of microbial communities. He has worked in a broad range of ecosystems ranging from bioreactors to larger engineered ecosystems as well as the human gut. Pablo is interested in the integration of omics data in already existing models describing microbial ecosystems. He also likes combining elements from different disciplines, namely, bioprocesses, systems biology, bioenergetics, microbial ecology, and mathematics.
Current affiliation: DEEP Laboratory, INSA Lyon
Éloïse is mainly interested in Nature-based Solutions (NbS) in urban areas, particularly in the frame of preserving water resources and adapting cities to climate change. Éloïse has a multidisciplinary engineering background, holding a hydraulic engineering degree, an MBA and a PhD in process engineering from the the National School for Water and Environmental Engineering (ENGEES) at the University of Strasbourg. She has mainly worked with constructed wetlands for wastewater and stormwater management in France, Cambodia and Colombia. Her doctoral work was multidisciplinary, combining hydraulics in open systems and porous media, urban hydrology, micropollutants analysis, soil analysis, botany, plant ecology and ecological engineering in a pilot site. She is now focusing on hydrological-hydraulic modelling to create a decision-making tool aiming at implementing wisely urban NbS for stormwater management.
Current affiliation: SUEZ International Water and Environmental Research Centre (CIRSEE)
Felipe is an Environmental and Sanitary Engineer (Brazil, 2015) and holds a PhD degree in Process Engineering (France, 2019). Felipe’s work has been almost fully oriented towards anaerobic digestion and digestate valorisation. As an R&D project manager and Head of Department at the CIRSEE, Felipe performs business-oriented research that addresses the needs and ambitions of SUEZ’s clients and its 40,000+ employees worldwide. Felipe’s work takes maximum advantage of his operational and plant design background in assessing the cost and performance of promising technologies. Felipe is a young scientific researcher (with a H-index of 7) and he continues to contribute both as publisher and reviewer for recognised journals and conferences in the waste(water) management and biotechnology domains.
Current affiliation: SUEZ Technical Distribution Center
Assia is a Moroccan-French engineer holding a PhD in Hydraulic Engineering from the École des Ponts ParisTech. She has an extensive background in water and environmental engineering, with a double Master’s degree in the field. Currently, she holds the position of research engineer at SUEZ’s Technical Distribution Centre, where she leads innovation projects dedicated to improving water network performance and management. Her research primarily centres around enhancing the resilience of intermittent water supply networks. As a management committee member for two IWA Specialist Groups (Water Loss, and Intermittent Water Supply), Assia plays an integral role in the expertise centre, maintaining close contact with academics, operational experts, and regulatory representatives within the water sector to drive practical advancements and solutions.
Current affiliation: National School for Water and Environmental Engineering (ENGEES) at the University of Strasbourg
With an international and multidisciplinary education in business and sustainability, Noah graduated with a Master’s thesis on the topic of environmental and social issues in the supply chains of activated carbon. Commissioned by the Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority HSY, the largest Finnish water utility, the results have been presented at the 2022 IWA World Water Congress in Copenhagen. After graduation, Noah worked at the Euro-Mediteranean Water Information System (SEMIDE/EMWIS) on a European research project on Nature-based Solutions for water scarcity in the Mediterranean region (HYDROUSA). He recently started a new Master’s degree in geography at the University of Strasbourg. He is committed to acquire more scientific knowledge to consciously preserve the Earth’s most precious resources. He advocates for a cultural shift in local, national, and international water and agricultural policies.
Current affiliation: nextProtein
Since 2010, Noé has worked in the USA, Brazil and France mainly in the biotechnology and agriculture sectors. Throughout his career, Noé has worked with a wide range of stakeholders, such as SUEZ and local network operators, managing digitalisation efforts and supporting with water quality data and pipes diagnostics to better understand the real condition of drinking water distribution networks. Today Noé works as a strategy and business development manager for nextProtein, an international company that raises insects from food waste to produce feed for farmers. Food waste is used to raise black soldier flies and produce insect meals and oils mainly for aquaculture and feed industries.