Australian Macinley Butson Wins Stockholm Junior Water Prize for 2019

Stockholm Junior Water Prize brings together students from 35 countries. Butson's project developed a novel and innovative ultraviolet sticker to measure large UV exposures for solar disinfection of water.

Macinley Butson from Australia is the winner of the 2019 Stockholm Junior Water Prize. The 18-year-old inventor from the coastal city of Wollongong, NSW received her prize from Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden at an award ceremony during World Water Week in Stockholm.

Butson’s project developed a novel and innovative ultraviolet sticker to measure large UV exposures for solar disinfection of water. The SODIS sticker measures the solar UV exposure required to sanitise drinking water through two innovative products built together.

“There are no words to describe how I am feeling because I can’t process what has just happened. Amazing people have inspired me so much this year and I never expected this outcome. Everyone here is doing so many amazing things, I feel confident the future is in good hands and will never forget the connections I made here in Stockholm,” Butson said.

The competition draws more than 10,000 entries from over 30 countries. The prize is given by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) under the patronage of King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden.

Selected as the 2018 NSW Young Australian of the Year, Butson has won many awards for her science endeavours. She also created the SMART Armour, a device for radiotherapy breast cancer patients. It shields the breast which is not being treated from excess radiation which is received during external radiotherapy.

“This year’s winning project addresses public health through renewable energy and water. The project embodies simplicity and affordability leaving no one behind. Water for society: including all! This invention is practical, ready and globally deployable. The project demonstrates experience and expertise by a dedicated and creative young scientist,” the jury said in their citation.

“This inspirational project has immense potential for local and global communities. My hope is that this project will act as a catalyst to inspire others both young and old to innovate for new and sustainable ways to access clean and potable water,” Torgny Holmgren, executive director of SIWI, said.

A Diploma of Excellence was awarded to Diana Virgovicova from United Kingdom for her discovery of a new photocatalyst to solve water pollution. In their citation, the jury stated that Virgovicova has “solved a long-lasting challenge by opening new windows in using fundamental science, combined with the most recent techniques within chemistry to formulate a novel molecule with high potential in promising future water treatment.”

During World Water Week, national winners gather in Stockholm to vie for the international title. The prize is sponsored by Xylem, the Raincoat Foundation and Stockholm Vatten & Avfall.

The entries for Stockholm Junior Water Prize for 2020 for India will open shortly. For more details, contact prasanna(at)

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Anirban Roy

Anirban Roy

Anirban has been a journalist all his working life having worked with leading global media brands for most of this time. He has a strong interest in sustainability too and is an occasional writer for IamRenew.

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