January 14, 2021 Membership

Influential scientist wins IWA Young Leadership Award

Renowned scientist and engineer Dr. Siddhartha Roy has won the IWA Young Leadership Award (2020/22). Dr. Roy will now also begin a two-year term as an industry ambassador for the IWA and the water sector in general.

Currently Dr. Roy works as an environmental engineer and postdoctoral research scientist at Virginia Tech, USA. He has conducted a range of research, primarily focused on disadvantaged communities. His most significant work in recent years has centred on the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, where he helped to uncover high levels of waterborne lead poisoning.

Dr. Roy’s work in raising awareness of the Flint water crisis, as co-leader of the Flint Water Study team, ultimately led to President Obama declaring a public health emergency. He has been featured on a range of leading media outlets, including the BBC, New York Times and Chicago Tribune, and has also countered misleading and bad science around Flint’s water quality in the past several years. Dr. Roy also participated in the PBS documentary ‘Poisoned Water’.

He was recognised unanimously by the IWA Young Leadership Award Committee, who noted how strong the field of nominees had been, as well as congratulating Dr. Roy.

Gustaf Olson, Professor Emeritus at Lund University Sweden & IWA Distinguished Fellow, said:

“Dr. Roy’s activities have gone much further than traditional academic research and have revealed violations of law and many unethical attitudes from agencies and water departments. In these efforts, Roy has also taken personal risks, challenging bad science and misinformation”.

Emily Ryan, MSc Student at TU Delft & IWA EWL SC Chair, commented:

“Incredible vision – well beyond his years in the water sector – Dr. Roy articulates ideas and concepts beyond his own career”.

Thor Danielsen, Utility Planner at HOFOR A/S & IWA YWP Danish Chapter Chair, added:

“During these troubling times of misinformation, I think the vision of Dr. Roy is even more important than ever. Dr. Roy has been able to advance this agenda through his media appearances, and he has even influenced American legislation”.

Dr. Roy has also received recognition elsewhere, including the Virginia Tech Graduate Student of the Year in 2017, and as one of the 2019 ‘ten new faces of civil engineering’ by the American Society of Civil Engineers. He holds a graduate degree in chemical engineering, as well as both a master’s degree and PhD in civil and environmental engineering. He is an Indian national who now lives and works in the United States.

The IWA Young Leadership Award is presented every two years to an exceptional water professional, who has demonstrated significant achievements in their career.



About the IWA Young Leadership Award

The IWA Young Leadership Award recognises an exceptional contribution made by an individual aged 35 or under within the water sector. The winner is chosen by a panel of experts from across the industry, who are looking for evidence of how they have improved water sustainability and sanitation on a local, regional, or global basis. The next IWA Young Leadership Award will be presented at the IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition, which is being held in Copenhagen, Denmark in September 2022.


About Dr. Siddhartha Roy

To find out more about Dr. Roy, please visit: IWA Connect