Researching the Toughest Problems in Civil Infrastructure…

The faculty and graduate students of the Sid and Reva Dewberry Department of Civil, Environmental, and Infrastructure Engineering tackle the most challenging civil infrastructure engineering research problems of our time. Our research signature leverages the size of our department, the breadth of our university’s scholars, and our key location in the Washington D.C. suburbs, home to world-class federal research labs that make us the envy of the Nation. We routinely partner across research groups within the department. We join forces daily with leading researchers in other GMU departments. And we collaborate with other universities, with federal and state research labs, and with leaders in engineering practice to arrive at the best and newest research advances that account for the complexity of the real world.

Our faculty and our community are international in their outlook and in their origin. We invite dedicated, high-performing students to join us in research to solve critical international infrastructure problems to lift the well-being of people living in villages, in towns, in megacities, and across nations.

In water resources and environmental engineering, we undertake the most imaginative approaches to increase the resilience of society and our civil infrastructure to water-related natural hazards, including hurricane flooding prediction and protection aggravated by climate change, sea-level rise, urbanization, and environmental degradation. We think locally, monitoring and modeling some of the highest value development in the U.S. starting right in our back yard in Washington D.C., and reaching north and south along the Virginia and Maryland coasts; and we think internationally, modelling flooding as far away as the Bay of Bengal. Then we take it to the global level, combining water resources engineering with hydrometeorology and remote sensing using data from NASA and NOAA satellites to evaluate conditions in remote regions where ground truthing is impossible, but where environmental and health consequences can be devastating. We predict typhoon flooding in time to evacuate populations. We track the spread of malaria in the Amazon Basin. And we monitor locust swarms in Saharan Africa.

Our structural engineering and geotechnical engineering faculty address the national priority to strategically upgrade the resilience and sustainability of our civil infrastructure. We combine structural engineering with computer science, and robotics and computer vision with artificial intelligence for entirely new approaches to inspection and evaluation of existing infrastructure. And then we turn it around to explore new methods of engineering design. We take geotransportation engineering research to a new level of sustainability, raising the level of design and recycled material reuse for our road aggregates and in earth retaining systems that underlie our transportation infrastructure. And we partner with water resources and structural researchers to predict and prevent undermining of shoreline infrastructure during severe coastal storms.

In transportation engineering, we capture the power of big data and transportation economics to develop answers to bedeviling policy questions surrounding the performance, potential, and sustainability of transportation systems. How can we create and optimize surface transportation systems – rail, roads, public transportation, pedestrians, bicycles, and self-driving cars — to address the travel behavior of real people now and in the future, with changing demographics, residential preferences, and work habits? Then how do we make these same systems work for simultaneous emergency ingress and emergency evacuation? And how do we balance the cost of construction and maintenance for our world-class transportation system between the public and private purses?

For more information, visit our core faculty here and then explore joining us.