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El-Gohary Wins CAREER Award for Value-Focused Infrastructure Models

11/12/2012 10:37:00 AM

Yeh Center
Yeh Center
Nora El-Gohary
Nora El-Gohary
Assistant Professor Nora El-Gohary has received a National Science Foundation CAREER award to develop computer models for assessing the value of infrastructure projects in a way that takes into account the perspectives of various stakeholders.

“This project aims at advancing our knowledge of how to plan, design, construct and operate our civil infrastructure systems in a way that maximizes their collective life cycle value,” El-Gohary said.

The goal of the project, titled “CAREER: Axiological Modeling and Simulation for Value-Sensitive Infrastructure Project Planning and Design,” is to better understand, predict and analyze the impact of civil engineering decisions on the environmental, social and economic value of civil infrastructure systems for its stakeholders—for example, residents and businesses.  Axiology is a theory of value.

The models developed by El-Gohary’s team will offer a structure for soliciting and aligning public values and expectations about infrastructure systems. They will also guide the planning and design of solutions that are socially equitable, economically effective and environmentally viable.

The National Research Council of the National Academies has called it a “national imperative” to “conduct a fundamental reexamination of the value of infrastructure systems that guide their planning, construction, operation and investment,” El-Gohary said.  This research is particularly critical in light of the fact that the nation’s infrastructure is deteriorating and will require significant investment, she said.

Educational and outreach activities conducted as part of the project will engage undergraduate and graduate students, and reach out to K-3 children and female high school students.

“These efforts will help foster the ‘engineer of the future,’ who has a blend of knowledge, skill, and humanistic understanding of the role and impact of civil engineering in society,” El-Gohary said.

CAREER awards, administered under the Faculty Early Career Development Program, are the NSF’s most prestigious form of support and recognition for junior faculty who “exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations.”