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Driving Innovation Through Research

Our research programs generate the knowledge that drives innovation — helping our clients make informed decisions while propelling the industry forward. Research is integral to our success in developing forward-thinking solutions for our clients and communities. 

The People Side of Technical Concerns

Our social and behavioral scientists offer expertise on a wide range of projects across a diverse set of disciplines, including environmental psychology, policy research, geospatial analysis, demography, epidemiology, statistics, public health, sociology, cultural anthropology, ethnography, and systems science. Our work spans quantitative, qualitative and mixed-methods approaches. With a focus on collaboration, we design and conduct rigorous and actionable human-focused research that helps our partners create more human-centered strategies, systems and environments. 

Understanding 21st Century Challenges

With hundreds of research projects completed and underway, we can provide the resources needed — human labor, technical expertise, equipment and facility space — to support the discovery and development of creative solutions. Our in-house testing facilities include:

We also collaborate with industry and professional organizations to advance the state-of-the-art research and apply new processes or technologies back into the marketplace. Our researchers push the industry forward with published reports, peer-reviewed articles and manuals of practice. Our research programs target the technical issues facing our clients and our industry.

Research Services

Community Studies

We help our partners conduct equitable, accountable and participatory research that authentically captures and represents participants’ voices. 

Facility Evaluation

Our building-focused studies enable clients and colleagues to better understand the experiences, behaviors and needs of the people who inhabit spaces and places — empowering human-centered planning and design that has positive impacts.  

Material Testing

Whether new or old infrastructure, our material testing capabilities can help you decide what to use, where to use it, or how to fix it. With a focus on geophysical, geochemical and geotechnical outcomes, we have performed field and laboratory services for over four decades. We are highly regarded for our technical expertise, thoroughness and reliability. Our Geotechnical Materials Testing Laboratory is accredited through the AASHTO Materials Reference Laboratory and validated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for soils, aggregate, concrete, rock and masonry testing, and our Applied Research and Engineering Center specializes in soil and water corrosivity testing.

One Water Institute

Our in-house laboratories, various mobile testing capabilities and technical experts create the foundation of our One Water Institute. The other layers involve you: utility clients, research organizations, equipment vendors and universities. We believe in moving the industry forward with collaborative projects that demonstrate proof of concept. Through these applied studies, we tackle one water challenges spurred by water availability, financial pressures, regulatory drivers and the desire to protect public health.

Organizational Assessments

Organizations prosper and consistently achieve their objectives when they clearly understand themselves and the people they serve. We provide credible data and expert insights to help organizations customize programs and plans to meet their goals.

Process Testing and Modeling

Our research teams conduct independent process and flow sheet development through bench testing, pilot scale testing and computer modeling for clients. The investigations supply critical engineering design data in order to minimize overall risks and reduce costly retrofits after a facility is commissioned. We’re fully equipped to conduct this work remotely at our facility, or at a client site.

Model & Test Systems to Solve Complex Problems Efficiently

One focus of our process research is on mining clients where we bench test, pilot scale test and model in a lab. The early research at this lab supplies critical engineering data and provides the info our mining clients need to minimize risk and costly post-commissioning retrofits.

Social and Behavioral Sciences

Driven by curiosity and creativity, our expert social and behavioral sciences team designs and conducts people-focused studies using scientific methods to create human-centered strategies, systems and environments for our clients.