Achieving sustainable water futures in an uncertain world

The 2021 Global Water Futures (GWF) Annual Open Science Meeting, May 17 - 19, will bring together the GWF community (researchers, affiliates, partners, collaborators, and stakeholders) in a virtual setting to share our latest scientific achievements and success stories, provide updates on end user solutions, and support the actions needed to secure Canada’s water future.  

The meeting will feature a variety of virtual programming to enable shared learning and insightful discussions through key events, including keynote talks, panels, and an interactive poster session. These will be complemented by parallel sessions, networking, social activities, and workshops for GWF’s Young Professionals. The meeting’s creative programming will engage both researchers and stakeholders in two-way learning and exchanges.

The meeting is being organized and co-hosted by our partners from the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University. While we wish that we could all come together in person in beautiful Waterloo, ON, we still look forward to seeing you online. 

Save the date: May 17 -19

There will be no cost to register - this meeting is open and free to attend!


Poster Abstracts

The call for poster abstracts is now open!

We are now accepting abstracts for the online poster session. Abstracts may be submitted from the broader GWF community, including researchers, partners collaborators and stakeholders.

Abstracts will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • Involvement / affiliation with the broader GWF community
  • Alignment with the conference themes
  • Addressing relevant cross-cutting challenges and opportunities

The maximum length for an abstract is 2500 characters (including spaces).

Timeline for submissions:

19 March: Call for Abstracts opens
16 April: Final date for abstract submission
19-21 April: Review and selection of abstracts
21-23 April: Notification of acceptance
12 May: Final deadline for submission of final poster

Poster Format

Poster authors will be able to create their own poster using software of their choice (PowerPoint, etc.). The final poster must be uploaded in a standard PDF format. Poster authors will have the option of also submitting an audio MP3 file with their poster.

Online Poster Session During GWF2021

There will be a dedicated and interactive poster session time during each day of the 3-day virtual meeting. During this time, poster authors are requested to be available for a live session where conference attendees can join them to learn and discuss about their poster. Further details to follow!


We will continue building on the themes of the meeting from last year. The themes provide the context for the overall program and encourage interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary dialogue and research co-creation. The themes are underpinned by cross-cutting challenges and opportunities that further emphasize solutions across sectors and stakeholders.

The meeting's themes are:

1. Climate-driven changes of water environments in cold regions

This theme will examine how climate change will shape future water security in cold regions. Addressing the projected changes in hydrology, biogeochemical cycles and ecological functions, this theme will explore the cascading impacts of climate change in cold environments and propose adaptive and integrated management solutions.

2. From anthropogenic pressures to ecosystem services

This theme will examine the complex interactions between human activities and ecosystem services. Addressing a range of interconnected issues related to anthropogenic disturbances of water environments, this theme will explore the impacts on the state and function of aquatic ecosystems, and the responses required to safeguard and restore the services they provide.

3. Turning research into policy and management solutions

This theme will explore options for translating water research, from the natural, social and health sciences, into concrete and relevant policy and management solutions. Addressing how to effectively respond to water risks and adapt in the face of uncertainty, this theme will examine how adopting new or improved practices and tools enhances evidence-based policy and decision-making.

4. Innovations in water science and technology

This theme will examine advances in water science and technology and the challenges facing knowledge mobilization and technology transfer. Addressing the increased need for and access to data-supported information and advanced analytics, this theme will explore innovations in the collection and use of environmental data and the potential to revolutionize decision-making for water management.

5. Knowledge co-creation with Indigenous communities

This theme will examine the role of Indigenous co-led and co-produced research in shaping a shared water future. Addressing the need for inclusive solutions and policies that reflect different knowledge systems, this theme will explore co-created research, the co-learning of different knowledges, and the experience of different communities working together towards shared water management solutions.

The themes are supported by the following cross-cutting challenges and opportunities:

  1. Transferable knowledge and tools

  2. Predictive modelling and forecasting

  3. (Big) data science and management

  4. Social, economic and health determinants and impacts

  5. Stakeholder engagement and knowledge mobilization