MEDRC Water Research Alumni win 1st and 3rd place in PWA Best Water and Sanitation Research Awards in Palestine

Dr Rinad Hamed was awarded 1st place and Dr Ghadir Hanbali was awarded 3rd place in the Awards for the Best Scientific Research in the field of Water and Sanitation issues in Palestine headed by PWA and its partners.

The awards were presented by Minister Mazen Ghanim and Deputy Representative of the European Union Maria Velasco, the United Nations Special Representative to UNICEF Lucia Almi, and founder and CEO of Al Nayzak, Eng. Aref Husseini founder and CEO Eng. Aref Husseini, Dean of Higher Studies at Al-Najah University Fadi Hassouna and Dean of Higher Studies at the Islamic University Youssef Al-Jesh. The top seven winning researchers will receive further support from Al Nayzak Organization to further develop and translate their projects into practical application in the water sector.

MEDRC’s Water Research Fellowship provides funding to researchers at universities in Jordan and Palestine to address immediate and relevant water issues. In Palestine, MEDRC works in close collaboration with the PWA to support students and researchers in Palestine through its Water Research Fellowship Program. Dr Ghadir participated in MEDRC’s pilot PhD Program in Palestine and Dr Rinad received a MEDRC Fellowship Grant to complete her MSc research. Both Dr Rinad and Dr Ghadir have also previously received Innovation Initiative Award funding from MEDRC to support the development of their research into practical solutions to water challenges in Palestine.

 We caught up with Dr Rinad and Dr Ghadir to hear more about their current research projects:

Dr Rinad Hamad – Plant bio stimulator for salt agriculture

I’m delighted to share about the inventor product that I found after several practical lab and field research. This product is classified as a biofertilizer compound that is based on formulating biocompatible and biodegradable materials in combination with specific PGPR bacteria strains, which has the following benefits:

  1. Replace the traditional chemical fertilizer with a 60 % consumption saving.
  2. Direct use in salt agriculture that relies on brackish water irrigation.
  3. Stimulate plant growth under the harsh environmental condition as (salinity effect, climate change effect, and water shortage issues)
  4. Activate the soil biologically and restore natural soil fertility.
  5. Provide high water-holding capacity against drought.

Besides that, this biofertilizer compound has main advantages based on a feasibility study, where it is cost-effective in reducing the costs towards traditional chemical fertilizer, especially for nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, as well it is a supplement to minor fertilizers, and most advantage of these it is an eco- friendly product with no adverse effect to the environment.

Dr Ghadir Hanbali – Assessment and Removal of Heavy Trace Metals by Magnetic Multiwall Carbon Nanotubes

The research aimed to use multi-walled carbon nanotubes after they were chemically modified by different amino acids and magnetized to remove some pollutants from water such as heavy metals, pharmaceutical residues and nitrates. The results showed excellent effectiveness in removing pollutants and obtaining clean water. Now we are working to apply this research as a filter for water purification.

I am pleased to thank Dr Shehdeh Jodeh, my supervisor for this research, and the Palestinian Water Authority and MEDRC for all the support in my Master and PhD research.