Research of the following types should be considered: (i) graduate-level/faculty research focused on specific issues in humanitarian engineering; (ii) data-gathering and statistical analysis of the effectiveness of educational/teaching strategies in humanitarian engineering; and (iii) best strategies for service, quantitive assessment of service project success. In each of the above cases, undergraduates may be able to get involved in the research; the key is to find a willing faculty supervisor.
Sustainability, India, and Colombia
Prof. Bhavik Bakshi: Research in collaboration with institutions in India is developing data and models for assessing the sustainability of various activities such as fuels from biomass, methods for treating municipal solid waste, and for water purification. A model of Indian economic sectors and their direct and indirect dependence on water has been developed and is used for water footprint calculations. Studies on the water-food-energy nexus in selected regions of India are being completed. Soon to start a research project on life-cycle assessment of biofuels for Colombia. Please click here.
Low-Cost, Point-of-Use Flexible Plastic Solar Cells
Prof. Paul R. Berger: Research is being progressed to advance plastic solar cells that can be conformally coated atop building materials, automobiles, tents, jackets and backpacks to deliver affordable point-of-use energy. Click here. In addition to the engineering advancements, Prof. Berger promotes an awareness of the subject by delivering IEEE Distinguished Lectures and Short Courses at venues like IEEE's Photovoltaic Specialist Conference (PVSC). Collaborations are formulating with India and Brasil on these synergistic topics.
Women, Agriculture, Medical Gloves, and Condoms in Africa
Water, Soil, and the Republic of Georgia
Prof. Sarah Cowles: Water pollution and soil degradation study and alleviation for the Republic of Georgia.
Integrated Sustainability Assessment in the U.S. and Southeast Asia
Prof. Joseph Fiksel: Research on integrated sustainability assessment at a community and regional scale, considering interactions among environmental, economic, and social systems. System dynamics modeling is used to create interactive, high-level simulations that enable policy-makers and stakeholders to understand how current trends, such as economic growth and climate change. may affect future human well being, including equitable access to energy, water, food, transportation, and jobs. These models have been applied by government agencies in both Ohio and Massachusetts. Now working with USAID and US EPA to implement similar modeling efforts in Southeast Asia, focusing on urban climate adaptation.
Remote Sensing for Agriculture, Weather, Health, and Africa
Prof. Joel Johnson: Member of NASA's Soil Moisture Active/Passive (SMAP) mission science team. The satellite will launch in 2014, and will provide global observations of surface soil moisture. This can be useful for a variety of applications relevant to the developing world (agriculture, drought detection, early warning for famine, floods and landslides, and identifying and mapping vector habitats for human diseases such as malaria) and Prof. Johnson does some work with Africa.
Socially Just Cities and Neighborhoods
Prof. Jesus J. Lara: Research and pedagogy are centered on sustainable urban design, Latino Urbanism, community development, and sociocultural factors in community design, from urban environments and poverty stricken areas to empty suburban malls and commercial areas at the intersection of upscale developments and highway commerce, and university‐community partnerships. Click here and here for more information.
Development Economics: Mathematical, Optimization, Statistical, and Computational Methods
Prof. Mario Miranda: Computational economics; agricultural finance and risk management; catastrophic insurance and reinsurance; agricultural and environmental policy; microfinance, microsavings, and microinsurance in developing countries (e.g., Africa). Randomized controlled trials in developing world with PhD students.
Sociotechnological Systems for Humanitarian Engineering
Prof. Kevin Passino: Research on systems and control theory and engineering approach to social, economic, and political systems, in particular "sociotechnological systems," for design and evaluation of technologies to assist disadvantaged individuals and communities (i.e., sustainable development). Click here.
Energy Efficiency, Lighting, and Water Purification
Prof. Siddharth Rajan: Research in (i) new methods to increase efficiency and reduce cost of Gallium Nitride solid-state (LED) lighting; (ii) research on wide band gap energy-efficient power transistors to reduce energy wastage; (iii) device designs that could enable ultra-violet light emitting diodes for water purification. Such research has far-reaching applications in the developing (and developed) world. Low-cost lighting is a critical technology for low-cost non-polluting lighting when there is no available electricity grid. Clear water is a major problem for the developing world.