Interdisciplinary Research

The world faces significant challenges in the decades ahead, and many of the solutions will come from the civil and environmental engineers who are today learning, working and leading in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

We work at the front lines of these grand challenges, at the intersection of social and economic systems, the built environment, and our natural world — creating healthy communities and sustainable cities; building resilient systems and communities that can withstand and recover from natural and man-made disasters; improving how our societies use energy resources; and using advanced data and analytics to create smart systems, all to address the most pressing problems and exciting opportunities of our time.

We are harnessing the potential of data to:

  • create new ways of understanding our built environment and how it interfaces with the natural world.
  • fundamentally change how we build and maintain the systems that enable our societies to function.
  • instrument our interconnected infrastructure systems to assess their health and functionality.
  • model future scenarios for city and regional infrastructure development
  • enable people to make real-time decisions in economic development, transportation, energy-use, construction and beyond.

In an effort to reduce energy consumption and improve efficiency of the uses that remain, we are developing innovative ways to:

  • generate electricity via alternative sources.
  • power our transportation with fuels that emit less carbon.
  • plan communities and transportation systems to foster energy-efficient mobility.
  • reduce the carbon footprint of the infrastructure systems that make our growing societies possible.
  • learn how climate change influences and, ultimately, shifts how we produce and distribute energy.
  • monitor and model global water, energy and greenhouse gas cycles.

We are imagining new ways to:

  • provide clean air and water to underserved communities.
  • adapt to a changing climate while working to slow those changes
  • address crumbling infrastructure systems, prioritizing repairs and replacements while envisioning next-generation systems.
  • responsibly plan for and build infrastructure in rapidly developing areas.
  • plan for our future communities while balancing the needs of urban and rural areas.
  • share water, energy and land resources and use them efficiently.
  • understand the impact of climate change on the interactions between energy, water and land systems in order to mitigate the effects on human society.

Our engineers are working to:

  • harden our communities to withstand nature’s fury, protecting lives and property.
  • create new systems and knowledge to help us bounce back from disasters.
  • build smart infrastructure systems that can guide response and recovery efforts.
  • improve how we forecast and assess natural disasters.
  • understand the human psychology and decision-making processes to inform how we build resilience into our communities.

These four broad areas represent the interdisciplinary focus of our research efforts. It’s work that crosses traditional boundaries to develop new knowledge, technology and innovations, and ultimately, to invent a future where our global society thrives.