Delft, The Netherlands, 11 Jun 2021

IHE Delft alumnus Marcos von Sperling won the IWA Global Water Award 2021

We have the honour to announce and congratulate Prof. Marcos von Sperling, IHE Delft alumnus and guest lecturer from Brazil who has won the acclaimed International Water Association Global Water Award, during a presentation at IWA’s Digital World Water Congress 26 May 2021. The award, held every two years, recognizes the outstanding achievements of IWA members and water sector professionals.

“The award recognises an innovative leader who has made a significant contribution to a world in which water is wisely managed. Professor von Sperling, who works at Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais in Brazil, won the award for his work on wastewater and water pollution. Marcos’ research has focused on innovative solutions which have practical application. His research, which has influenced policy in Latin American and beyond, has inspired many students, researchers and policy-makers.” Words describing the winner at the IWA ceremony where upon receiving the award.

Marcos commented: “I am extremely happy and honoured to be the recipient of such a prestigious award. I come from Brazil, a country which faces huge challenges related to water and sanitation. So many countries have similar challenges, and require support from responsible and knowledgeable institutions. IWA continues to play a pivotal role in strengthening regional science, technology and practice, always taking into account local specificities.”

Marcos completed the programme of Sanitary Engineering at IHE Delft in 1981 and obtained his PhD Diploma in London in 1990. He is a civil Engineer, working in the field of wastewater treatment and pollution control for more than 35 years. He is currently Professor in the Department of Sanitary and Environmental Engineering of the Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil, where he has worked since 1993. He is also a level 1 Researcher of the Brazilian Research Council.

In 2013 he started to participate as a guest lecturer at IHE Delft in the MSc specialization course on Sanitary Engineering. “It was an immense pleasure for me to be back at the Institute and have contacts with international students who share similar aspirations as those I had 35 years ago” he said. He also participated in an important international research project coordinated by UNESCO-IHE, entitled “SanUp Sanitation for the urban poor” and is regularly invited to act as external examiner on MSc and PhD defence committees.

Marcos is also a prolific author of recognized textbooks in three languages (English, Portuguese and Spanish), back then, low-cost versions widely adopted by students and professionals. He is a member of the IWA where in 2005, he published a comprehensive textbook entitled “Biological Wastewater Treatment in warm Climate Regions” that was later divided into six books comprising the “Biological Wastewater Treatment Series”. In 2013 he pioneered the initiative within IWA of granting free access to his books in electronic format to everyone, which is of special relevance for developing countries. He also has published more than 100 papers in scientific journals and 200 papers at conferences proceedings.

At IHE Delft we have the pleasure to continue having Prof. Marcos von Sperling as a guest lecturer inspiring our sanitary engineers students every year. We also would like to announce that he will be our guest speaker at the “Alumni & partners Online Seminars Series” in the coming months.


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