BGU | Water Summit



The Zuckerberg Water Prize
offers a biannual award of $60,000

The Zuckerberg Water Prize offers a biannual award of $60,000

To acknowledge outstanding achievements and global impact of an
individual or organization in the broader field of Water.

Nominations for the next round of 2024 are expected to open by September 2023.


Meet the 2022 Laureate

Prof. Ashok Gadgil

It is our pleasure to name Professor Ashok Gadgil the recipient of the 2022 Zuckerberg Water Prize for his outstanding leadership, vision, innovation, and lasting global impact in the field of Water.

Prof. Gadgil holds the Distinguished Chair Professorship of Safe Water and Sanitation in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at the University of California, Berkeley. 

Prof. Gadgil is among the foremost pioneers of the engineering-development nexus. Throughout his career, he has been a true visionary and leader in the field of water, having laid the foundation for the field of Development Engineering and serving as one of its most influential researchers ever since.

For the past three decades, Prof. Gadgil has been identifying water challenges posing a wide range of adverse health and other human impacts, inventing robust, inclusive and affordable engineering technologies, and implementing them at scale to serve human health and development in remote, developing, and resource-poor areas globally. 

In particular, Prof. Gadgil has trail-blazed utilizing multiple technologies to treat different water contaminants and developed these into viable, cost-efficient, patented, licensed, and globally deployed systems. 

Among his developments are a system using ultraviolent light to disinfect water now deployed in five countries; an effective and affordable technology for removing arsenic from groundwater piloted in  India and slated for field testing in California; a low-cost effective fluoride treatment technology using lightly treated mineral bauxite as an adsorbent, scheduled for field testing; effective and highly cost-efficient electrocoagulation of lead pipes to curb leaching of the deadly heavy metal; and, most recently, a newly developed method for removing chromate from contaminated groundwater. 

With a holistic approach, Prof. Gadgil’s leadership spans the entire water ecosystem, bridging a critical gap between academic research, engineering, technology, policy-making and human development with innovation dedicated to achieving real-world impact. Among others, his founding and co-stewardship of the open-access journal “Development Engineering” reflects this holistic vision to ensure that new knowledge is cross-cutting, accessible, and benefits all stakeholders – not least of whom are young scientists in developing countries.  His intellectual breadth and commitment are also reflected in his serving for the past 14 years as the Co-Editor in Chief of the prestigious (and now Open Access) non-profit journal Annual Reviews of Environment and Resources.

Through his inspirational research, work, publications, teaching, and mentoring, Prof. Gadgil has been a career-long champion of Sustainable Development Goal 6: Access to Safe Drinking Water for All, long before the formation of the SDGs. The R&D 100 Award, the Prince Sultan Abdulaziz International Prize for Water, and the Lemelson-MIT Award for Global Innovation represent but a few of the awards he has received, as well as being recognized by NASA and USAID as One of the Top 10 Global Innovators for Water Technologies.

It is for all this and more that we are delighted to name Prof. Ashok Gadgil as the recipient of the 2022 Zuckerberg Water Prize.

More information on Prof. Gadgil’s work and research can be found here

About The Zuckerberg Water Prize

Mr. Roy Zuckerberg

This legacy award is granted through the generous donation of Mr. Roy Zuckerberg – General Partner, Executive Committee member and Senior Director at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and former Vice Chairman of the firm. He also serves as Trustee of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and is a member of its Executive Committee.

Mr. Zuckerberg is Honorary Chairman of the Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research (ZIWR), which leads interdisciplinary, cutting-edge research and advanced education in water sciences, aimed at improving human well-being in drylands through technologies and policies for sustainable use of water resources. Mr. Zuckerberg is a past long-serving Chairman of the Board of Governors of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel and holds an honorary doctoral degree from the same university.

A distinguished investment banker and philanthropist, Mr. Zuckerberg is a lifelong champion of education, health and human services. The Zuckerberg Water Prize reflects the spirit of this ongoing commitment.

The award ceremony will take place during the biannual International Water Summit where the recipient will deliver a plenary talk in their field of expertise and attend the full program. To further grow the reach, equity and impact of this award, recipients are encouraged to donate $5,000 of the prize money to a water-related cause of their choice


The Zuckerberg Water Prize is an international award and welcomes nomination of candidates researching, developing or implementing impactful and lasting water knowledge, solutions, management and policies all over the world. Nominations for the next round of 2024 are expected to open by September 2023.

Nominated candidates are evaluated on the following criteria:

Outstanding achievements of lasting significance

Academic, technology or policy research, or international development

Public Advocacy

Leadership in Water Issues


Nominations will be evaluated by a panel of leading international experts comprising the Executive Committee of the Zuckerberg Water Prize.

Members of the Executive Committee are foremost leaders in their fields and represent different disciplines, approaches, institutions and organizations within the global field of Water.

Contact Us

Ella Nicolaevsky

Special Projects Officer, The Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research (BIDR),
Zuckerberg Water Prize coordinator

2022 Zuckerberg Water Prize - Nomination Package Information

Deadline for Prize submission – March 8th 2022. All forms and letters must be completed in English. Submissions must include all the following items:


1. Nominee Information
2. Primary Nominator Information




• Outstanding and lasting achievements: Top career accomplishments, with special attention to significant and lasting projects with enduring results.

• Academic, technology or policy research, or international development: Current research or policy endeavours, including active engagement in basic or applied research, policy endeavours, policy-to-practice and/or applicable developments, including technologies.

• Public Advocacy: Contribution to increasing public awareness of water issues around the world.

• Leadership in Water Issues: Demonstrated leadership in advancing safe and sustainable water supply, water conservation and management of water resources.




Please note:

• Letters from members of the Zuckerberg Water Prize Executive Committee are prohibited.

• Only one letter may be submitted from the candidate’s institution/organization. If the nominator and candidate are from the same institution/organization, letters from that institution/organization will not be accepted.

• Letters should be submitted in PDF on the recommender’s letterhead, electronically signed, and limited to two pages each.




Ben-Gurion University of the Negev​

The fastest growing research university in Israel.
With 20,000 students, 4,000 staff and faculty members, and three campuses in Beer-Sheva, Sede Boqer and Eilat, BGU is an agent of change, fulfilling the vision of David Ben-Gurion, who envisaged the future of Israel emerging from the Negev. Today, BGU’s mission continues to be effecting change, locally, regionally and internationally. With five faculties and several world-renown research institutes, BGU is a recognized national and global leader in many fields, actively encouraging multidisciplinary collaborations with government and industry, and nurturing entrepreneurship and innovation in all its forms.

The Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research

The BIDR were established in 1974 and are composed of three institutes: The Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research, French Associates Institute for Agriculture and Biotechnology of Drylands and the Swiss Institute for Dryland Environmental and Energy Research. The BIDR mission is to combat desertification and face global challenges by bringing together water, food, energy, and environmental research. Today, the BIDR is a global leader in research on desertification and sustainable development of the drylands. BIDR researchers and students focus on new and alternative ways to meet global challenges related to food security, water scarcity, clean energy and more. To address these challenges, researchers help to harness dryland ecosystems around the world for human habitation and survival with innovative science and cutting-edge technology. The knowledge gained here is hared worldwide, where the rapid expansion of drylands, water scarcity, food security problems, and energy crises are affecting the lives of billions of people living in more than 100 countries.

The Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research

The ZIWR was founded in January 2002 within the Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research, at the Sede Boqer Campus of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. ZIWR scientists use experimental and theoretical approaches to conduct fundamental water related research to understand wide-ranging phenomena. Our broad-based research encompasses nanoscience and pore scale phenomena, and extends to pilot projects and field studies. Our interdisciplinary team includes hydrologists, soil scientists, geologists, chemists, microbiologists, and engineers. The result is a unique scientific environment facilitating the investigation of environmental challenges and the development of engineering solutions for water-related problems. Young and dynamic, the Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research is open to change, and research topics are “fine-tuned” to remain responsive to constantly evolving needs and challenges. The ZIWR vision is to be a leading international multidisciplinary institute studying water in the anthropogenic and natural spheres, and a national center of expertise and training in water issues. In its research and education activities, the ZIWR will identify current and emerging fundamental and applied challenges in water-related developments, rehabilitation, and stewardship.