Minnesota Water Research Fund

Established by CEGE alumnus and water industry leader Bernie Bullert, the Minnesota Water Research Fund (MWRF) provides support for research in the areas of water resource management and water treatment. Funds may be used to support faculty or students. 

Water research has an essential role to play in the future of our cities, states, and nation – economically, socially and environmentally. Water resources touch virtually every aspect of our lives encompassing the water we drink, the quality of our streams and lakes, water supply and wastewater treatment, stormwater management, and the infrastructure necessary to make it all work together.

About the Fund

The Minnesota Water Research Fund provides research support for faculty and students of the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geo- Engineering working in water resources management and water treatment. Even as the research conducted solves current and emerging water quality problems, the Minnesota Water Research Fund also helps train students – the engineers and scientists for tomorrow’s water management and treatment industries. 

Bernie R. Bullert, a well-known and respected leader in the regional and national water and wastewater engineering field, created this fund in 2015 (read more here about what inspired Bullert to create the fund). Since its inception, additional alumni and friends of the college have also contributed to build the fund balance and an expert Advisory Committee has been formed. 

Research advances generated in the laboratory with the help of funding from MWRF  help guide critical water infrastructure decisions and investments across the state of Minnesota, particularly in those small communities where funds for water research, training, and education are scarce. 


Enable the University of Minnesota to be a national leader in innovative research to improve public health and protect Minnesota’s water resources.


  • Develop and support research ideas and priorities in any aspect of water in Minnesota, including climate change’s effects on MN water resources.
  • Achieve an endowed chair status for the fund by 2030 - a $2 million goal
  • Annually fundraise and fund top-quality water research at UMN


Our fund has already made an impact by supporting the following research projects:

  • 2023: Identifying Novel Contaminants in Stormwater and Industrial Wastewater from Synthetic Polymer Use: Assistant Professor Boya Xiong and Ph.D. candidate Phoebe Keyes
  • 2023: Improving Climate Change Adaptation Tools: SWMM: Professor Emeritus John Gulliver, Dr. Andrew Erickson, and graduate student Noah Gallagher
  • 2022: Phosphorus Retention in Stormwater Ponds: Professor Emeritus John Gulliver with Ph.D. candidate Vinicius Taguchi
  • 2022: Quarternary Ammonium Compounds in MN Waters - Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Professor William Arnold
  • 2021: Impacts of vegetation on surface water/groundwater interactions: Assistant Professor Judy Yang
  • 2021: Purchase of ISCO automated water sampling devices for use in water research and teaching CEGE students. 
  • 2020: Optimization of Water Quality Monitoring in Streams: Adjunct Associate Professor Paul Capel  
  • 2019: Water-Conscious Cultivar Selection for Protecting Minnesota Groundwater: Assistant Professor Xue Feng with Ph.D. candidate Brandon Sloan  
  • 2018: Integrated Biocatalysis and Reactor Design for Clean Water and Energy from Waste: Professor Paige Novak 
  • 2018: N-nitrosodimethylamine Precursors in the Upper Mississippi River: Professor Raymond Hozalski  
  • 2017: Innovative Nitrogen Removal: Graduate student Anndee Huff working with Professor Paige Novak 

View MWRF Project Summaries

Share Expertise

Contact Bernie Bullert (bernie.bullert@sl-serco.com) or another member of our MWRF Advisory Committee to become a thought-partner to help inform the development of research projects and priorities or to learn more about the MWRF Advisory Committee.

Advisory Committee Members

Bernie Bullert (Chair)
BCE 1968, MBA 1977, University of Minnesota

Michelle Stockness (Vice Chair)
BSCiE 2001, University of Missouri-Columbia


David Allen
BA Mass Comm. 1993, University of Minnesota

Lisa Cerney
BCE 1999, University of Minnesota

Tricia Christensen
BSCE 2001, South Dakota State University


Rebecca Foote
MA Applied Geography 2017, University of Colorado

Heidi Hamilton
MS Infrastructure Systems Engineering 2004, University of Minnesota 

Bo Johnston
MSCE 2005, University of Minnesota

Naeem Qureshi
MSCE 1985, University of Minnesota

Karl Streed
BCE 1972, University of Minnesota

Stew Thornley
BS Business Administration 1981, University of Minnesota

Shannon Wolkerstorfer
University of Minnesota External Relations

Steven Wolsfeld

MSCE 1997, University of Minnesota