West Lafayette, Ind. — Natural hazard engineers now have a roadmap for research. Development of this five-year plan was spearheaded by the NSF-funded Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure (NHERI), a distributed, multi-user, nation-wide organization that provides the community with state-of-the-art research infrastructure.

The Science Plan is the product a multidisciplinary effort. To develop the plan, NHERI’s Network Coordination Office (NCO) and the NHERI Council of Awardees appointed a task group comprising distinguished researchers and practitioners, all active in the field. The NHERI awardees also contributed to the plan, including the NCO.

The resulting document serves as a roadmap pointing to highly productive areas of study over the next five years. The plan also ensures that hazard engineers in related disciplines work efficiently together to achieve their common research goals — all aimed at keeping the civil infrastructure and its inhabitants safe.

The Science Plan describes Grand Challenges, Key Research Questions and examples of needed research to mitigate damage from earthquakes, wind storms, storm surge and tsunamis. Appendices describe the NHERI experimental facilities and examples of research that can be conducted at each site. The NHERI CyberInfrastructure and SimCenter are described in the appendices, too.

“We urge all natural hazard engineers to review the plan,” says Billy Edge, professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering at North Carolina State University. “We are eager to see additions to the plan’s example research topics – especially novel, interdisciplinary research that will lead to new knowledge about civil infrastructure performance under loads from hazards like wind, waves, and earthquakes.”

Researchers preparing grant proposals to NSF are strongly encouraged to consider tenets of the NHERI Five-Year Science Plan when developing their proposals.

The Science Plan was created with broad community-based participation from earthquake, wind, and coastal engineering professionals, as well as engineering education experts. During a public comment period, the document was reviewed by the NSF hazard engineering community.

Download NHERI’s Five-Year Science Plan at https://www.designsafe-ci.org/media/cms_page_media/595/NHERI%20Science%20Plan%20(July%202017).pdf. A living document, the plan is periodically assessed and updated.