Carnegie Mellon University
February 02, 2015

College of Engineering Research Team Receives NSF RIPS Grant To Study Climate Change Impacts on Critical Infrastructure

By Tara Moore / 412-268-9673                       
Power LinesA team of Carnegie Mellon University engineering researchers have been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) $1.44 million Resilient Infrastructure Systems and Processes (RIPS) grant for their work on the resilient operation of water and electricity infrastructure under climate change.

The team's research focuses on how climate change impacts energy systems. While research continues on climate impact and mitigation strategies, this grant provides the ability to make the necessary preparations to adapt to the impacts of climate change. The project aims to develop methods for studying the implications of climate change on electric power generation and water supply.

"This project will look at the climate induced risks on water rescues in the southeastern U.S. and identify how these risks may affect the operations of the power system," explained Engineering and Public Policy (EPP) Assistant Professor Paulina Jaramillo, the lead principal investigator on the project. "We will also be looking at risk mitigation strategies, which may include changes in the operations of the water supply infrastructure, changes in the operations of the power system and long-term infrastructure planning."

The project will serve as a jumping off point for a larger effort to develop climate adaptation strategies for engineered infrastructure systems.

"It's exciting to receive this grant," said Civil and Environmental Engineering Assistant Professor Mario Bergés, one of the project's co-principal investigators. "We get to work with researchers from a variety of fields, providing us with a unique opportunity to explore the problem from a multitude of angles. Adaptation to climate change is a very complex and interdisciplinary problem."

The team includes Jaramillo, Bergés, EPP and Social and Decision Sciences University Professor Baruch Fischhoff, EPP Assistant Research Professor Haibo Zhai, EPP Research Scientist Gabrielle Wong-Parodi and Electrical and Computer Engineering Assistant Professor Gabriela Hug. The team also includes collaborators from the University of Washington and George Washington University, who received additional funding for the project. The budget for the project across the three universities totals $2.5 million.

The grant began on Jan. 1 of this year and is projected to wrap up on Dec. 31, 2017.


The $1.44 million grant is for their work to develop methods for studying the implications of climate change on electric power generation and water supply.