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Data-Driven Innovation

Leveraging sensors, analytics, simulation and machine learning.

Natural and built environments continue to produce an expanding array of interconnected data. When harnessed, these data will bolster sustainability, resource management, resiliency, and human experience. We aim to leverage multi-source, multi-resolution, and emerging data gathered by cutting-edge sensors and survey methods. By advancing computational methodologies—which span AI, robotics, and simulation—we are posited to usher in new paradigms for supporting innovative CEE designs, planning and operation. Insights derived from untapped data recourse will enable novel instruments to finance the construction and maintenance of infrastructure systems. Our Environmental process engineers are capitalizing on the vast data resources lying dormant in our resource recovery facilities to reduce energy footprints and maximize treatment performance. Equally important, by offering equitable policy solutions and refined designs, we can address disparities in community resources and experiences. Our goal is to expedite the adoption of data-enhanced and connected infrastructure systems to support sustainable, secure, efficient, and resilient communities, while paving the way for educating a new generation of data-savvy engineers.

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  • $2 trillion

    The 10-year infrastructure investment gap in the United States is $2 trillion.

  • $1.4 trillion

    More than $5 trillion a year is available for infrastructure financing, of which $1.4 trillion can't be invested because the right financial models don't exist.

  • $4 trillion

    Infrastructure shortcomings will result in a GDP impact of $4 trillion between 2016 and 2025 in the U.S. due to lost business sales, rising costs and depressed incomes.

Our Approach

Our strategic directions have a broad impact on the way we operate, influencing our approach to research, education and outreach. Explore some examples of how we are implementing the concept of Data-Driven Innovation across our department.


Building Blocks

Blockchain models are changing the way that we think about storing, securing and transacting data. The University of Michigan is collaborating with blockchain companies and institutional investors to allow researchers to prototype new blockchain and tokenization applications in smart cities. We explore how they can be leveraged across industries to impact payment models, track information from distributed sensors, and design smart contracts to increase transaction efficiencies and inform new data-driven financing and business models.

Predicting Performance

The University of Michigan is a leader in creating and deploying sensors in our built and natural environments, giving researchers unprecedented insight into how infrastructure systems perform under environmental demands. The data generated are being explored to inform private investment strategies by predicting future performance of infrastructure. Additional means of monetizing sensed data from infrastructure are being advanced to assist asset owners with financing infrastructure maintenance.


Master of Engineering in Smart Infrastructure Finance

This new program (starting in Fall 2020) is a one-year, 28-credit degree program intended for CEE students and finance professionals with expertise outside of CEE. Consisting of four required courses and four electives in finance and data science, as well as an internship course and seminar, this program is the nation’s first program on the financial impact of infrastructure digitization.

This program will be accepting student applications for Fall 2024. More details will be available in coming months.

Blockchain at Michigan

The Center for Smart Infrastructure Finance at the University of Michigan supports a student club engaging students across engineering and business. This student organization focuses on peer-to-peer education and project development in blockchain and cryptocurrency coding, tools, and applications.


Business Connections

Engaging with the business community is core to this strategic direction. Our outreach efforts with organizations such as the Fintech Consortium in Detroit aim to build out the University of Michigan as the global hub for Smart Infrastructure Finance and build a new entrepreneurial strength in Michigan.


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    Peter Adriaens receives Rackham 2021 Master’s Mentoring Award

    Adriaens is recognized for his work with students from various disciplines working in FinTech.

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  2. Sensor technology aims to help US cities extend the life of aging pipelines

    Transformative pilot project in Detroit could help cities across U.S. deal with overdue pipeline upgrades.

    The post Sensor technology aims to help US cities extend the life of aging pipelines appeared first on Michigan Engineering News.

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    Cryptocurrency innovation: U-M to establish FinTech Collaboratory

    New funding model will drive innovation and could help close the infrastructure finance gap.

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Featured Faculty

Branko Kerkez Portrait

Branko Kerkez

The Water Experience, How Cities Work, Resource Cycles, Information Flow, Undergraduate Focus: Smart Cities, Urban Collaboratory Projects, Predicting Performance


(734) 647-0727

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