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Resiliency and Sustainability Workshop: Interdependent critical Infrastructure and Environmental Assets

Start: 4/5/2019 at 8:00AM
End: 4/6/2019 at 5:30PM
Location: Jordan Hall of Science Reading Room
Event Url: https://ceees.nd.edu/resiliency-workshop
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Resiliency and Sustainability Workshop:  Interdependent critical Infrastructure and Environmental Assets

If you plan to attend or present, please fill this Registration Form. 

This workshop will bring together experts and researchers across a set of interdisciplinary fields to discuss the state of the art in assessing interdependent infrastructure networks and environmental assets, with the explicit goal of establishing future research and market needs. Resilient and sustainable assets – in the context of multiple hazards, the environment, society, and economic constraints – require targeted mitigation to lessen the impacts from human activity and future disasters, as well as resiliency to recover quickly from those hazards. Importantly, the move towards more sustainable and resilient communities, both nationally and globally, requires informed leaders to be able to identify and evaluate the best paths forward given the complex interplay between technology, the environment, ethics, law and policy, business, and economics. These leaders must be able to:

  • Recognize and assess the complex interactions and interdependencies within and between critical infrastructure, engineering networks, social systems, and our environment.
  • Recognize the technical, social, economic, and ethical aspects of a commitment to sustainable and resilient development.
  • Recognize and apply scientific principles, processes, and practices to engineered infrastructure and systems that result in sustainable and resilient development.
  • Develop a functional knowledge of the historical and economic frameworks that guide engineering regulations and public policy.

Speakers will be directed to prepare in advance presentations specifically addressing life-cycle and hazard impact measurement methodologies and metrics for the system(s) pertaining to their specific field of study, to identify (and provisionally quantify for purposes of discussion) interdependencies between their system(s) of interest and other built or natural systems (see Figure 1 for an example), to identify (and provisionally quantify for purposes of discussion) temporal recovery factors post-disaster related to their system(s), and to identify critical research needs. 

Figure 1. Quantifying (relatively) interdependencies between electrical networks and other related network systems[1]

Importance and potential impact of research activity.

Past workshops and summits on resilience, sustainable development, and community risks have been hosted by the US National Academies[2] and by NATO,[3] resulting in the publications cited below. However, these meetings have either focused on specific events (in the case of the National Academies) or have been primarily focused on limited methodological domains (in the case of NATO). The proposed workshop to be hosted at Notre Dame is explicitly focused on leveraging and enhancing current competencies and resources to provide future opportunities for researchers to pursue a growing selection of interdisciplinary NSF research project solicitations in this field. By inviting a group of external collaborators, we are able to provide needed peer review within the workshop process, as well as form possible future external collaboration opportunities for all parties. 

The resilience of the built environment to natural and manmade or human-induced hazards has historically focused on the intensity and frequency of hazards, as well as the robustness of individual physical assets (individual buildings, bridges, water bodies, forests, etc), with less emphasis on an understanding of the interdependencies amongst various systems, as well as the performance of spatially-distributed built infrastructure and natural asset networks. The resilience of “lifeline” networks (electric power, transportation, telecommunications, potable water, stormwater/wastewater, liquefied/gas fuels, and environmental systems) and other distributed natural and infrastructure assets (e.g., flood control networks) play a critical role in the ability of society to rapidly recover after a major disaster. Given the growing complexity of interactions amongst “systems of systems” in our modern communities, research groups globally[4],[5] as well as research funding agencies such as NSF (see Table 1 below), have expanded their focus on this growing field of interdisciplinary (and uniquely impactful) study. In particular, NSF recently identified the need for interdisciplinary research to solve complex, networked societal problems as one of its primary foci,[6] primarily in regard to critical infrastructure systems.[7]   

Table 1. Limited selection of National Science Foundation (NSF) solicitations for interdisciplinary infrastructural-natural systems-related research projects (not an exhaustive list)



Brief synopsis


Critical Resilient Interdependent Infrastructure Systems and Processes (CRISP 2.0)

This CRISP 2.0 solicitation responds both to national needs on the resilience of critical infrastructures and to increasing NSF emphasis on transdisciplinary research. In this context, the solicitation is one element of the NSF-wide Risk and Resilience activity, with the overarching goal of advancing knowledge in support of improvement of the nation’s infrastructure resilience.


Civil Infrastructure Systems  (CIS)

The Civil Infrastructure Systems (CIS) program supports fundamental and innovative research in the design, operation and management of civil infrastructure that contributes to creating smart, sustainable and resilient communities at local, national and international scales. This program focuses on civil infrastructure as a system in which interactions between spatially- and functionally- distributed components and intersystem connections exist. All critical civil infrastructure systems are of interest, including transportation, power, water, pipelines and others.


Leading Engineering for America's Prosperity, Health, and Infrastructure  (LEAP HI)

The LEAP HI program challenges the engineering research community to take a leadership role in addressing demanding, urgent, and consequential challenges for advancing America’s prosperity, health, and infrastructure.  LEAP HI proposals confront engineering problems that are too complex to yield to the efforts of a single investigator --- problems that require sustained and coordinated effort from interdisciplinary research teams, with goals that are not achievable through a series of smaller, short-term projects.  LEAP HI projects perform fundamental research that may lead to disruptive technologies and methods, lay the foundation for new and strengthened industries, enable notable improvements in quality of life, or reimagine and revitalize the built environment.

Goals and mechanisms for translation to scholarly products, management/policy, or new proposals.

Our goal is to develop an improved understanding of the resilience of spatially-distributed infrastructure and environmental networks to extreme hazards through new methodologies, with particular application to critical infrastructure systems and natural assets.  In the face of our widely varied hazard environments, and based on engineering science evidence, this workshop and future related projects will enable researchers to anticipate critical infrastructure vulnerabilities and recoverabilities, and protect and transform the built and natural environments to support thriving communities. The impact of this workshop will result in the robust quantification of regional network resilience, and importantly, provide explicit insight into optimization of pre-disaster mitigation and post-disaster targeted repair strategies which will minimize the consequences of infrastructure network inoperability.

The specific goals of the workshop are as follows:

1. To bring together an interdisciplinary group of researchers, educators, and professionals involved in the fields of sustainability and resilience of interdependent critical infrastructure networks and environmental assets, in order to define the state-of-the-art in modelling life-cycle performance of these systems and in defining (including quantifying) the interdependencies amongst these various networks.

2. To develop and propose a framework for a regional (leading to a national) resilience scorecard as recommended for future development by the US National Academies.[11]

3. To collect, review, edit, and ultimately publish the workshop proceedings for reference by collaborating researchers when applying for related grant opportunities in the future.

4. To form the collaborative network and fundamental interdisciplinary understanding needed for collaborating faculty to successfully apply for related grant opportunities in the future (e.g., Table 1).

5. To showcase the University of Notre Dame as a regional leader (i.e., Great Lakes; then leading to a national role) in this area of interdisciplinary research as well as inter-institutional collaboration in this area of research. 

The technical scope of the workshop is symbolized in Figure 2. The triple layered planes in the center of the logo represent the three historical critical infrastructure groups: water, energy, and transportation[12]. The overlapped configuration of the layers symbolizes the interdependencies amongst these critical built asset groups (see Figure 3). The vertically placed layers doubly symbolize “vertical” infrastructure systems (i.e., buildings, communication towers, etc.) which are just as important to communities in recovering from disaster in this modern age as are the “horizontal” assets.


The stem of the shamrock in Figure 2 is curving upward from left to right in order to represent the recovery portion of the temporal resilience curve (see Figure 4). Furthermore, the leafed portion of the shamrock at the end of this stem reminds us that truly resilient systems (natural and environmental) usurp their original performance and flourish after recovery. The shamrock itself also represents the natural, vegetative elements of a community that is designed in concert with nature instead of against it. Of course, the shamrock also represents the Catholic and Irish heritage of the University of Notre Dame.

The hexagonal frame of the logo in Figure 2 represents the six components of community capital: built, economic, human/social, cultural, natural, and political (see Figure 5), all of which are needed to resist, sustain, and recover from major disasters. Quantified community resilience indicators have been assigned within these groupings in past research.[16], [17] The colors represent the elements of nature with which we seek to build in concert. Blue represents the water and the sky, and green represents the vegetative elements of the earth. Of course, blue and green are also colors associated formally with the University of Notre Dame.

Project/activity timeline and deliverables (Preliminary) 

Thursday, April 4, 2019

3:30 pm – 5:00 pm: “Challenges in Engineering” Speaker: Monroe Weber-Shirk, Senior Lecturer, Civil & Environmental Engineering, Cornell University; Founder, AguaClara. AguaClara is an engineering based project team within Cornell University's Civil and Environmental Engineering Department[18] that designs sustainable water treatment plants using open source technology. The programs' aims are to "improve drinking water quality through innovative research, knowledge transfer, open source engineering and design of sustainable, replicable water treatment systems."[19]

Friday, April 5, 2019 (Primary Workshop Day)

8:00 am – 9:00 am: Breakfast

9:00 am – 9:45 am: Opening keynote speaker 

9:45 am – 10:00 am: Coffee break

10:00 am – 12:30 pm: Short sessions

12:30 pm – 1:30 pm Lunch

1:30 pm – 3:30 pm Short sessions

3:30 pm – 4:00 pm: Coffee break

4:00 – 4:45: Keynote speaker  

6:30 pm – 7:00 pm: Reception

7:00 pm – 9:00 pm: Dinner

Saturday April 6, 2019 (Primary Workshop Day)

8:00 am – 9:00 am: Breakfast

9:00 am – 9:45 am: Keynote speaker 

9:45 am – 10:00 am: Coffee break

10:00 am – 11:30 pm: Short sessions

11:30 am – 12:15 pm: Closing keynote speaker

12:30 pm – 1:30 pm Lunch

1:30 pm – 4:30 pm: Undergraduate research at Notre Dame in Resiliency and Sustainability Issues

3:30 pm – 4:00 pm: Coffee break

6:00 pm – 8:00 pm: Dinner

Sunday April 7, 2019

Lab tours, free time for one-on-one meetings 

Tuesday April 9, 2019

7:00 pm in 102 DeBartolo Hall: “Sustainability Series” Speaker Paul Greenberg [20], Paul is the James Beard award-winning author of the New York Times bestseller and Notable Book Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food and American Catch: The Fight for our Local Seafood. His most recent book, The Omega Principle: Seafood and the Quest for a Long Life and Healthier Planet, is an eye-opening look at how the multi-billion dollar omega-3 industry is affecting our ocean sustainability and, ultimately, our health.  


Location: Jordan Hall of Science, Reading Room. 

[1] Provided by opening keynote speaker Vilas Mujumdar, formerly of NSF

[2] https://www.nap.edu/catalog/13178/increasing-national-resilience-to-hazards-and-disasters-the-perspective-from

[3] https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007%2F978-94-024-1123-2

[4] https://wiki.canterbury.ac.nz/display/QuakeCore/Special+Project+1%3A+Spatially-distributed+Infrastructure

[5] http://resiliencechallenge.nz

[6] https://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/big_ideas/convergent.jsp

[7] https://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/big_ideas/infrastructure.jsp

[8] https://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=505277

[9] https://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=13352

[10] https://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=505475&org=NSF

[11] https://www.nap.edu/catalog/13457/disaster-resilience-a-national-imperative

[12] Telecommunications infrastructure was historically grouped with transportation, although it is usually considered as its own infrastructure group in modern times.

[13] http://civil.gmu.edu/people/elise-miller-hooks

[14] https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007%2F978-94-024-1123-2

[15] NZ Office of the Prime Minister, provided by Roger Fairclough of neoLEAF Global (http://neoleafglobal.co.nz/)

[16] https://ascelibrary.org/doi/pdf/10.1061/%28ASCE%29NH.1527-6996.0000193

[17] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/250147250_Disaster_Resilience_Indicators_for_Benchmarking_Baseline_Conditions

[18] https://www.cee.cornell.edu/cee

[19] https://confluence.cornell.edu/display/AGUACLARA/About+Us

[20] http://paulgreenberg.org/; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Greenberg_(essayist)



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