Eric Hoek to Receive Top Water Research and Technology Prize
Sep 2, 2022
UCLA Samueli Newsroom
The National Water Research Institute has selected Eric Hoek, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering, as the 2022 Athalie Richardson Irvine Clarke Prize laureate — one of the highest honors in water research, science, technology or policy in the United States.
Hoek is the faculty director of UCLA’s Sustainable LA Grand Challenge — an interdisciplinary campuswide initiative designed to help transform Los Angeles into the world’s most sustainable megacity by 2050. He is also a member of UCLA’s California NanoSystems Institute and Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, as well as a faculty scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
Established in 1994, the Clarke Prize is awarded annually to thought leaders from wide-ranging disciplines and includes $50,000 and a prize lecture. Previous recipients have developed technologies to improve flood forecasting, clean up soils and wetlands, model acid rain impacts, and detect and disinfect pathogens in water supplies.
At UCLA, Hoek directs the Nanomaterials & Membrane Technology Research (NanoMeTeR) Lab, focusing on ways to produce clean water and energy more efficiently through advances in nanomaterials, membrane technologies and electrochemistry. The lab’s research also has broad applications in human health and the environment.
Most recently, Hoek is part of a multi-institutional team that was awarded a three-year, $3.3 million grant from the National Alliance for Water Innovation to develop a new class of reverse osmosis membranes that can effectively treat high-salinity industrial wastewater. The tech breakthrough will significantly reduce both the energy consumption and the costs of recovering usable water from high-salinity brines by up to 50%.
A co-founder of 11 technology companies, Hoek has recently authored two books on water management. Over an academic career spanning more than two decades, he has advised more than 50 graduate students, published more than 120 peer-reviewed journal articles, and filed for more than 70 international patents. He received his doctoral degree in chemical and environmental engineering from Yale University, a master’s degree from UCLA and a bachelor’s degree from Penn State University — both in civil and environmental engineering.
Hoek will receive the 29th Clarke Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Water Science and Technology and give the 2022 Clarke Prize Lecture on October 22 at the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center of the National Academies of Sciences and Engineering in Irvine, California.