This virtual lecture series provides a forum to discuss each strategic theme and build a broad community that includes industry professionals, researchers, educators, and students. We aim to break down traditional barriers between the lab and the field, and accelerate research into practice.
Through presentations from leading experts and panel discussions that bring new insights, this series explores a range of perspectives on the five strategic directions. To be notified of future lectures in the series, sign up for our email list at the bottom of the page.
Shaping Resource Flows | The Role of Carbon Capture in Meeting Net-Zero Carbon Goals with Jennifer Wilcox
November 29, 2022, 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. ET
President Biden has laid out a bold and ambitious goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions in the U.S. by 2050. The pathway to that target includes cutting total greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 and eliminating them entirely from the Nation’s electricity sector by 2035. Investment in technology research, design, development, and deployment (RDD&D) will be required to achieve the president’s objectives, including investments in both carbon capture at point sources in addition to carbon dioxide removal approaches that target the accumulated pool of carbon in the atmosphere. Both will be required to achieve net-zero carbon emissions in time and they will require increased deployment in order to move down the cost curve. These efforts combined with effective policy will make these approaches economically viable.
These approaches are critical and they must be deployed in parallel. Deployment of these technologies at the scale required will necessitate the use of resources including land, water, and in some cases, low-carbon energy, while ensuring the secure and reliable storage of carbon dioxide (CO2) on a timescale that impacts climate. Therefore, CCS and CDR deployment must be implemented strategically in terms of regional goals and requirements.
The Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management will play an important role in the transition to net-zero carbon emissions by reducing the environmental impacts of fossil energy production and use – and helping decarbonize other hard-to abate sectors – through investments in technology solutions including CCS, direct air capture, and the deployment of carbon capture technologies to produce low-carbon products and fuel, including hydrogen. Jennifer Wilcox, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Fossil Energy, U.S. Department of Energy, will be our featured speaker.
- Richard Middleton, Chief Executive Officer, Carbon Solutions LLC
- Andres Clarens, Professor, University of Virginia; Associate Director, Environmental Resilience Institute
Smart Infrastructure Finance | The transformational role of data for democratized digital project delivery with Peter Adriaens
March 18, 2022, 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Peter Adriaens, U-M Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, discusses “The Transformational Role of Data for Democratized Digital Project Delivery” and how it relates to smart infrastructure finance.
Most investments in infrastructure projects take the form of (municipal) bonds, government and private debt and private equity, a form of financing that cannot be easily converted to cash. This limits the type of investor who will engage in projects. Data provides near real time insights into performance, structural health and use, much like share prices update as new information becomes available to inform buyers and sellers. As a result, data from physical infrastructure is setting the stage for a new software-as-a-service (SaaS)-like business and financing model where data contracts can be securitized, licensed and used for new infrastructure applications and services. By envisioning data as the informational stock (or collateral) of infrastructure, better pricing of its value, and improved liquidity of investments, are already starting to change designs and financing mechanisms that maximize performance delivery. Ultimately, by decreasing reliance of financing on the tax base of communities, access to quality infrastructure services will become more democratized, as data-driven revenue starts contributing to the funding mechanism.
- Britany Affolter-Caine, Executive Director, Michigan’s University Research Corridor
- Mayank Gupta, Director, Data Analytics & Digital Solutions, WSP
- Tim Sylvester, Founder and CEO, Integrated Roadways
Autonomy | The outlook for automation of road transportation systems with Steven Shladover
February 17, 2022, 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Although media stories have for the past decade been hailing the imminent availability of vehicles that will completely take over the driving task from humans, reality will be far more prosaic. The coming decades will see increasingly wide availability of driving assistance systems that operate under continuous supervision of human drivers to enhance safety and driving comfort and convenience. The automated driving systems that perform the complete dynamic driving task are likely to be limited to specific commercial fleet applications, under tightly constrained geographic and operational conditions, and with remote human assistance, for the foreseeable future. This lecture will explain the reasoning behind these predictions based on the presenter’s nearly fifty years of experience working on automated driving technology and planning issues.
Dr. Steven Shladover has been working on the development of road vehicle automation systems since 1973, beginning with his master’s and doctoral thesis research at M.I.T. His core studies were in vehicle dynamics and control systems in mechanical engineering, but he also studied the entire transportation systems curriculum in civil engineering. Following completion of his doctorate, he worked for eleven years at a Silicon Valley technology consultancy before returning to the academic world by working with the Institute of Transportation Studies of the University of California at Berkeley to help create the California PATH Program.
- Kara Kockelman, Dewitt Greer Centennial Professor of Transportation Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin
- Reuben Sarkar, President and CEO, American Center for Mobility
Human Habitat Experience | Climate change, disasters, and migration systems: A research agenda with Elizabeth Fussell
February 8, 2022, 4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
While weather-related disasters happen regularly, protective infrastructure and building codes usually prevent population loss. Hurricane Katrina’s devastating effects on New Orleans’ levee system and the built environment in other coastline communities in the Gulf of Mexico in 2005 is the exception that proves this rule. Or is it? Empirical studies of hurricane exposure and county-level population change show heterogeneous patterns of post-hurricane population trends. This presentation reviews research on this topic using the weather and population data currently available, and then considers the data and methods that would allow us to answer key questions about disaster-related migration in the US. Specifically, which disasters produce out-migration responses? Where have residents who migrated from disaster-affected places resettle? How do migration systems help us predict post-disaster residential mobility? Which types of residents are most likely to move from disaster-affected places? A transdisciplinary and community-engaged research team is necessary to effectively pursue this research agenda and use that knowledge to prepare for and protect against disaster impacts.
Elizabeth Fussell is Professor of Population Studies and Environment & Society at Brown University and Editor-in-Chief of the Springer journal, Population & Environment. She earned her doctoral degree in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Population Studies Center at the University of Pennsylvania. Fussell’s research focuses on the causes and consequences of migration. Since 2005, when she was an Assistant Professor at Tulane University and Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, she has investigated the long-term effects of that disaster on the residential mobility, health, and wellbeing of the residents of New Orleans using innovative methods and datasets. She has extended this research agenda to study the effects of hurricanes and other exogenous shocks on migration and internal migration systems in the United States with a new focus on Puerto Rico. Fussell’s research is supported by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Russell Sage Foundation. Her research findings are published in Nature Climate Change, Demography, American Journal of Public Health, Nature Reviews Earth & Environment, Population, Space, & Place, Population & Environment, and Social Science & Medicine among other scholarly journals. Fussell is an author on the Fifth National Climate Assessment’s Chapter on Human Social Systems.
- Seth Guikema, Professor and Co-Director, Center for Risk Analysis Informed Decision Engineering, University of Michigan
- Pamela J Jenkins, Professor of Sociology, University of New Orleans
- Liz Maly, Associate Professor, Office for International Research Collaboration, International Research Institute of Disaster Science (IRIDeS), Tohoku University, Japan
Adaptation | Adaptation to sea level rise: Dutch experiences and global challenges with Bas Jonkman
January 21, 2022, 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Sea level rise and climate change are a major threat for low-lying delta areas. This contribution will focus on the effects of various sea-level rise scenarios for the Dutch flood protection and water management system, and the options for adaptation. The role of infrastructural and nature-based solutions will be discussed as well as their scalability and limits in the context of future conditions. Moreover, the costs and feasibility of future adaptation will be highlighted. The final part of the presentation will focus on the possibilities and limitations of flood risk reduction for US and international deltas.
Bas Jonkman is a professor of Hydraulic Engineering at Delft University, the Netherlands. He holds the chair of Integral Hydraulic Engineering, which focuses on research and education in the fields of hydraulic structures and flood risk. He holds a PhD degree from TU Delft and has worked for the Dutch government, Royal Haskoning DHV and UC Berkeley. His research interests include flood risk management, disaster management, and the integral design of hydraulic infrastructure, such as flood defenses and storm surge barriers. He has been involved in post-disaster and design studies in the Netherlands, New Orleans, Houston, Mozambique and various countries in South East Asia. Dr. Jonkman is currently leading a number of national and European research projects focusing on climate adaptation and strategies for flood risk reduction, including storm surge barriers and nature-based solutions.
- Jane McKee Smith, Senior Research Scientist, U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center
- Louis Armstrong, President and CEO, Kleinfelder
- Okey Nwogu, President, Consultant, Omega Hydrodynamics Research; retired UM Naval Architecture Dept