FAU Receives NSF Grant for Critical Infrastructure Systems

Extreme events like hurricanes can disrupt infrastructure systems like power and water. Researchers will develop a decision framework to rapidly restore these functions and services for disaster management.

Researchers from FAU have received a $296,793 grant from the National Science Foundation. The project is one of 12 funded under the NSF new solicitation, “Critical, Resilient, Interdependent Infrastructure Systems and Processes” or CRISP.

By gisele galoustian | 9/30/2015

On heels of the recent announcement from the White House about the new Smart Cities Initiative, researchers from Florida Atlantic University have received a $296,793 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) as part of a three-year, $2.2 million collaborative project with Lehigh University titled, “Probabilistic Resilience Assessment of Interdependent Systems (PRAISys).” The project is one of 12 funded under the NSF new solicitation, “Critical, Resilient, Interdependent Infrastructure Systems and Processes” or CRISP. NSF has invested $20 million in new fundamental research like CRISP to enhance the resilience of critical infrastructure.

Extreme events like hurricanes and earthquakes can disrupt power and water distribution systems, transportation networks, and communication systems, and can cause considerable economic losses, affect vulnerable groups, and set off short- and long-term population displacement. In the aftermath of a catastrophic event, the socio-economic recovery of the affected regions depends on the recovery of its infrastructure systems. The ability to rapidly restore infrastructure functions and services is a primary goal for those involved in disaster response, management, and long-term recovery.

“The critical infrastructure systems that Americans rely upon on a daily basis such as transportation, electricity, and communications are deeply interwoven and interconnected and are becoming increasingly complex to manage as our cities grow,” said Diana Mitsova, Ph.D., principal investigator for the collaborative award and associate professor of urban and regional planning at FAU. “Under extreme events like a hurricane or an earthquake, recovery and management of these infrastructure systems become especially challenging.”

PRAISys is a collaborative project that brings together scholars in civil engineering, systems engineering, computer science, economics, urban planning, and policy making from Lehigh University, FAU, and Georgia State University. Paolo Bocchini, Ph.D., PRAISys principal investigator and assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at Lehigh University, and his colleagues Richard Sause, Ph.D., Brian Davison, Ph.D., Lawrence Snyder, Ph.D., and Alberto Lamadrid, Ph.D., will develop and demonstrate a comprehensive framework that combines models of individual infrastructure systems with models of their interdependencies for the assessment of interdependent infrastructure system resilience for extreme events under uncertainty.

Other team members include Alka Sapat, Ph.D., associate professor of public administration at FAU, and Ann-Margaret Esnard, Ph.D., professor at Georgia State University.

“PRAISys will enable better management and design of next generation infrastructure, more resilient to extreme events and component failures under normal conditions,” said Bocchini. “This will reduce the likelihood of extreme events becoming catastrophic in terms of casualties and injuries, long-lasting socio-economic losses, and environmental impact.”

The team will develop a comprehensive decision framework that will combine the results of the simulation platform with expert opinions and surveys to evaluate and prioritize various aspects of recovery. The researchers will use the innovative outcomes of this research to work with master’s and Ph.D. students as part of their research and teaching curriculum.

The official announcement of the National Science Foundation for the collaborative proposal between Lehigh University and Florida Atlantic University under the CRISP program can be found at:



More information can be found on the project website (www.praisys.org) including press releases distributed by the White House, the National Science Foundation, and Lehigh University.