Barclays and Columbia University Students Address Global Water Stresses

Jun 22, 2018 9:40 AM ET

Originally published on Barclays

Graduate students in Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs program joined Barclays this spring in a commitment to help address stresses on the world’s freshwater supplies through a Capstone workshop. This was the fifth consecutive year Barclays hosted its work-study program with Columbia University students.

During the semester-long program, this year's cohort explored the challenges and opportunities associated with international water development projects. With guidance and insights from Barclays’ experts and support from the World Bank’s water team, Columbia students analysed financial and social returns for various water-related infrastructure projects.

The students developed a screening process to explore projects based on their social and economic merits. The team conducted wide-ranging interviews with private companies, public contributors, and development banks. Their discoveries stemmed from a semester-long investigation into several water infrastructure projects leveraging diverse technologies and financing mechanisms in several countries.

After conducting their analyses, Columbia University students presented four case studies at Barclays Investment Bank's NYC headquarters, including two desalination projects in the Middle East, a flood-resilient urban infrastructure initiative in China, and an early-stage water technology company that is gaining traction in various Asian markets. 

Students complemented their project with a trip to the World Bank, where they participated in a full day of workshops on financing international water infrastructure, the integration of social considerations into project development, as well as the importance of subsidies and climate integration for water projects.

Barclays congratulates this year's cohort on its work and findings, and reaffirms its commitment to helping solve global challenges such as water shortages.

About the Capstone workshops 

The Capstone workshops pair graduating Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs students with leading private and public institutions under the guidance of an expert faculty advisor to work together to solve pressing, cross-discipline, real-world problems, such as the world’s freshwater shortages.