Home » Case Studies » PhD Expertise Fast-Tracks New Water Filtration System


Clean drinking water is often taken for granted, but a small number of Australian households do not have access to scheme water. Instead, relying on backyard bore water that may be contaminated with chemicals of potential health concern. Endeavouring to develop a whole-of-house water filter for these chemical contaminants, Perth-based water filtration specialists Environmental Water Solutions (EWS) utilised the research expertise of Curtin University PhD student Manaswini Natarajan.

Manaswini was carefully matched with EWS’ research challenge as part of a PhD internship facilitated by APR.Intern and supported by the Defence Science Centre (DSC). A qualified Environmental Engineer, Manaswini’s knowledge of water contaminants proved highly valuable to EWS.

“As a start-up working with new technology, it was particularly beneficial to have access to the specialist expertise of Manaswini and the team at Curtin University,”


Suzanne Dodds, EWS Founder and Manaswini’s Industry Supervisor

“I would absolutely recommend APR.Intern to businesses looking for tertiary-level expertise normally out of their budget,” Suzanne added.

During a 6-month internship, Manaswini carried out extensive on-site testing, the findings of which propelled EWS’s development of an effective filtration system, cleaning water at the source. Guided by her Academic Mentor, Curtin’s Professor Cynthia Joll, Manaswini received hands-on industry experience that broadened her repertoire of skills.

“Being a part of the EWS team during this exciting phase of the project allowed me to observe the entire lifecycle of product development – from testing to commercialisation – as well as the preparation of documents and engagement with the Department of Defence,”


Manaswini Natarajan, former PhD Intern at Environmental Water Solutions

Manaswini’s unique skill set ultimately helped Environmental Water Solutions improve its technology, which has the potential to provide purified water for residents using contaminated bore water. Her contribution highlights the immense advantage academic expertise can bring to an industry challenge.

Suzanne and Manaswini speak more about the innovative water filter technology in a video here.

This internship was supported by the Australian Government Department of Education, through the ‘Supporting more women in STEM careers: Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute (AMSI) – National Research Internship Program’.