Research Centers

Through the research centers based in the department, CEE students participate in a wide range of groundbreaking research projects with immediate relevance to real-world engineering applications. 

Center of Excellence for Airport Technology

The Center of Excellence for Airport Technology is a research center headquartered within CEE at Illinois. CEAT was founded in 1995 as a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Center of Excellence focused on airport pavement issues, and has since broadened to include wildlife issues, anti-icing, and lighting. In 2004, the O'Hare Modernization Program (OMP) initiated a research program through CEAT that targets technical issues related to construction of new and extended runways at O'Hare International Airport. Through these partnerships, the Center is able to collaborate on common research goals and complementary outreach programs.

Professor David Lange,

Critical Zone Observatory for Intensively Managed Landscapes (IMLCZO)

The Critical Zone Observatory for Intensively Managed Landscapes is an NSF funded multi-institution effort to understand the present-day dynamics of landscapes with significant human induced change in the context of their long-term natural coevolution with soil and biota. An observational network of three sites in Illinois (Upper Sangamon River Basin), Iowa (Clear Creek Watershed) and Minnesota (Minnesota River Basin) that capture the geological diversity of the low-relief, glaciated, and tile-drained landscape allow for novel scientific and technological advances in understanding the Critical Zone, the region between the top of the trees and bottom of the groundwater (or bedrock). IMLCZO is part of a national network of ten such facilities located across the United States to capture a range of ecological, physiographic and climatic regimes that aim to support sustainable development by serving as nucleus of advanced research.

Professor Praveen Kumar (Director),

Fabricated Geomembrane Institute

The FGI is an industry-sponsored institute advancing the use of fabricated geomembranes through Education, Research, and Technology Transfer. Fabricated geomembranes are all geomembranes that can be factory fabricated into panels and deployed in the field.  Fabricated geomembranes are used for a variety of applications including floating pond/reservoir covers, potable water applications, landfills, golf course water features, industrial waste ponds, secondary containment structures, canals, mining, and waste water and water containment.  The Institute is funded by about 30 members consisting of manufacturers, fabricator/installers, raw material suppliers, and associate members in related industries. 

Professor Timothy D. Stark,

Illinois Center For Transportation

The Illinois Center for Transportation (ICT) is an innovative partnership between the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The ICT builds on the experience of renowned experts in transportation and related fields at the U of I, IDOT, and other universities by providing the appropriate tools and support required for objective research. The ICT facilitates the development and timely implementation of cost-effective technologies that improve safety and reliability, reduce congestion and impact on the environment, optimize the utilization of the state transportation infrastructure, and maximize the return from taxpayers’ dollars.

Watch a video about ICT

Professor Imad Al-Qadi,

MAE Center

The MAE Center started as one of three national earthquake engineering research centers established by the National Science Foundation and its partner institutions and has since expanded its focus to consider multiple hazards around the world. MAE Center's mission is to develop through research, and to disseminate through education and outreach, new integrated approaches necessary to minimize the consequences of future natural and human-made hazards. Core research is separated into the following five thrust areas: Multi-hazard Analysis, Consequence-based Risk Management Framework, Engineering Engines, Social and Economic Sciences, and Information Technology.

Professor Paolo Gardoni,

Rail Transportation and Engineering Center (RailTEC)

For more than a century, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has been the leading academic institution in rail transportation engineering in North America. RailTEC recognizes the expanding importance of rail transportation to the economy, to society and to a safe and sustainable environment, and is committed to further growth and development of its teaching and research activities in support of the nation’s need for talented young minds and new technologies for this vital transportation mode. 

Professor Chris Barkan,

Safe Global Water Institute

Safe Global Water Institute (SGWI) is a consortium of global centers of excellence in research, academic institutions, government agencies, international organizations, non-governmental agencies, industry, and community leaders working across the boundaries of Water & Health, Water & Energy, and Water & Food. United, we are integrating scientific, technological, educational, and socio-economic approaches to overcome the challenges of providing safe water and adequate sanitation to the world's vulnerable populations. The joint collaborative efforts between SGWI partners will ensure long-term sustainability and success through increasing the human capacity of the regional universities and stakeholders in the targeted nations.

More information:


The Center of Advanced Materials for the Purification of Water with Systems (WaterCAMPWS), is a National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center. The mission of the WaterCAMPWS is to develop revolutionary new materials and systems for safely and economically purifying water for human use, while simultaneously developing the diverse human resources needed to exploit the research advances and the knowledge base created.

Professor Benito J. Mariñas, mariñ