$20 million award will fund resilience research center for five more years


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The Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has renewed a cooperative agreement that funds the Center for Risk-Based Community Resilience Planning. Originally established with a $20 million award in 2015, the center will receive an additional $20 million in support over the next five years. Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) professor Paolo Gardoni (above) will continue to serve as the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Illinois) campus principal investigator (PI). CEE
Eun Jeong Cha
Eun Jeong Cha
at Illinois assistant professor Eun Jeong Cha, whose expertise is in risk analysis, stochastic modeling, and risk aversion and risk informed decision modeling, is co-PI on the campus.

The center brings together NIST researchers and collaborators from multiple universities to develop computer tools that will help public officials make informed decisions about how best to invest resources in communities to lessen the impact of natural hazards on buildings and infrastructure, and guide post-disaster recovery efforts.

“$40 million total funding for this center is very significant and comes from a very challenging competition,” Gardoni said. “The center is at the forefront of the development of a truly interdisciplinary approach to community resilience. In the first five years, the center started to develop the measurement science for resilient structures, infrastructure and communities. In the next five years, the center will focus on the implementation of the developed measurement science to enable communities to make inform decisions.”

Gardoni said the Illinois portion of funding from the renewal – $5.5 million – will continue to bring national and international visibility to CEE, The Grainger College of Engineering and the university. The funding will allow him to continue supporting a large research group that currently consists of 23 students, including 13 Ph.D. students, and will provide new opportunities for recruiting additional Ph.D. students.

Gardoni is an Excellence Faculty Scholar in Civil and Environmental Engineering and Director of the MAE Center, which focuses on creating a multi-hazard approach to engineering. He is also the founder and Editor-in-Chief of the journal Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure published by Taylor and Francis Group. His research expertise is in sustainable and resilient infrastructure; reliability, risk and life cycle analysis; and ethical, social and legal dimensions of risk. 

Dr. Jong Sung Lee at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) works on the development of the software platform.


Read about the Interdependent Networked Community Resilience Modeling Environment (IN-CORE) software platform being developed for this project, which will allow researchers to model the impacts of natural hazards: NCSA Helps Launch IN-CORE Platform to Model Community Resilience and Natural Hazards

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This story was published February 7, 2020.