The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) has a strong research and teaching core in the areas of water resource quality, quantity and sustainability. This includes the Environmental Engineering and Science graduate program, ranked 10th in 2016 among public universities, and the world-renowned IIHR-Hydroscience & Engineering and associated Hydraulics and Water Resources graduate program. Through EES and IIHR, there are very strong ties to the UI-campus wide Water Sustainability Initiative and associated Cluster Hire of ten water-focused faculty (two of which are faculty in CEE - Cwiertny and Just). CEE is the only Department within the College of Engineering with a National Academy of Engineering member (Schnoor) among its ranks. The profile of the program is also elevated because of affiliation with several UI centers, including the Iowa Flood Center (IFC), the only academic flood center in the nation, the Center for Global & Regional Environmental Research, and the Center for Health Effects of Environmental Contamination (CHEEC).
Some of the areas of research are listed below, as well as more information on research centers that CEE is affiliated with.
- flood mitigation and prevention
- watershed and nutrient management
- water sustainability
- emerging contaminants
- groundwater cleanup
- fate and transport of persistent organic pollutants
- water and wastewater treatment and reuse
- environmental biotechnology
- nanotechnologies for water monitoring and treatment
- water quality monitoring
- structural health monitoring
- optimization of structural and mechanical systems
- surface transportation infrastructure
- driver decision making
Research Centers Affiliated with CEE
IIHR—Hydroscience & Engineering is a world-renowned center for education, research, and public service focusing on hydraulic engineering and fluid mechanics. Based in the C. Maxwell Stanley Hydraulics Laboratory, a five-story red brick building on the banks of the Iowa River, IIHR is a unit of the University of Iowa’s College of Engineering. At IIHR, students, faculty members, and research engineers work together to understand and manage one of the world’s greatest resources—water. Students from around the world benefit from IIHR’s comprehensive multidisciplinary approach, which includes basic fluid mechanics, laboratory experimentation, and computational approaches.
The IFC is engaged in flood projects in several Iowa communities and employs several graduate and undergraduate students participating in flood-related research. The IFC strives to develop hydrologic models for physically-based flood frequency estimation and real-time forecasting of floods, including hydraulic models of flood plain inundation mapping; to establish community-based programs to improve flood monitoring and prediction along Iowa’s major waterways and to support ongoing flood research; to share resources and expertise of the Iowa Flood Center; to assist in the development of a workforce in the state knowledgeable regarding flood research, prediction, and mitigation strategies; to conduct the activities required by this chapter in cooperation with various state and federal agencies.
The Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research (CGRER) is a state-funded institute devoted to studying and bettering our environment. The Center promotes interdisciplinary research on the many aspects of global environmental change. Areas of focus include regional effects on natural ecosystems, environments, and resources, and effects on human health, culture, and social systems. To accomplish its missions, CGRER awards seed grants, fosters interdisciplinary courses, provides state-of-the-art research facilities, and holds seminars and symposia. Through these activities, CGRER assists Iowa’s agencies, industries, politicians, and citizens as they prepare for accelerated environmental change.
The University of Iowa Center for Health Effects of Environmental Contamination (CHEEC) is a multidisciplinary environmental health research center dedicated to supporting and conducting research to identify, measure and prevent adverse health outcomes related to exposure to environmental toxins. CHEEC is comprised of faculty and researchers located in the University of Iowa Colleges of Public Health, Engineering, and Liberal Arts and Sciences, and State Hygienic Laboratory.
The Center for Computer-Aided Design (CCAD) at The University of Iowa was founded in 1981. CCAD conducts basic and applied research in modeling and simulation. With over 150 scientists, faculty members, graduate and undergraduate students, CCAD is organized into six research units: NADS (National Advanced Driving Simulator), OPL (Operator Performance Laboratory), VSR (Virtual Soldier Research program), MIMX (Musculoskeletal Imaging, Modeling, and Experimentation), RSPS (Reliability and Sensory Prognostic Systems Group), and BioMOST (BioMechanics of Soft Tissues). CCAD has sustained substantial growth over the past seven years and has created many strategic partnerships with government and corporate entities. Funding agencies and companies include the US Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and companies such as Ford, General Motors, Chrysler, Rockwell Collins, John Deere, Caterpillar, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and many others. With over 16 laboratories and specialized research facilities, CCAD offers our partners and clients with a significant value add to R&D efforts.
For more than 20 years, the Center for Biocatalysis and Bioprocessing (CBB) has been combining first-class scientific faculty with cutting-edge facilities to reshape and define new technologies for chemical, pharmaceutical, nutritional and agrochemical industries. Located at the University of Iowa Research Park, the CBB consists of a growing number of more than 50 faculty members and more than 300 researchers, including graduate and undergraduate students, postdoctoral scientists, technicians, and visiting faculty and industrial scientists. Its faculty members come from eight different departments, and we are home to more than 20 predoctoral fellows. The principal areas of study within the CBB include biocatalyst fundamental properties, bioremediation, bioprocessing, new biocatalyst discovery, novel biocatalyst applications, biosensing technology, and reactive agent development.
Motivated by one of 14 Grand Challenges from the National Academy of Engineering -- "provide access to clean water" -- the University has established a Water Sustainability Initiative (WSI) to advance research, education, and outreach on sustainability. The WSI expands existing strength at UI in interdisciplinary research on water including its availability, quality, reuse, health impacts, and its relationship to a changing climate. Economics, policy, and law as well as the natural sciences and engineering are all engaged to solve the problems of water. The faculty alliance on water sustainability encompasses the Colleges of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Public Health, Law, Engineering, the Graduate College, and the Public Policy Center. Among the various resources already developed to advance the initiative are the Iowa Flood Center, the UI Office of Sustainability, and the undergraduate Certificate in Sustainability.
The Superfund research program at The University of Iowa (ISRP) is a joint endeavor involving basic, mechanistic and applied projects in biomedical and non-biomedical research areas. The program's overall theme is the consequences of atmospheric sources and exposures to semi-volatile Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs), and it deals with volatilization, transport and exposure of lower halogenated PCBs, especially those PCBs that are associated with contaminated waters, former industrial sites, other atmospheric sources, and the consequences of exposure to them. The ISRP brings together 15 scientists representing four colleges in Iowa, Illinois and Kentucky. Working together, they measure sources, transport and environmental exposure of PCBs; their distribution, metabolism and toxicity in animals and humans; and novel methods of phytoremediation.
The Public Policy Center (PPC) is an interdisciplinary academic research center in the Office of the Vice President for Research that investigates the most important issues affecting our daily lives. Its research is focused on Iowa and beyond. The PPC assists other researchers with their research and serve to bring the resources and expertise of the University to policy makers, and the public. Its mission is to provide policymakers and the public with information to make communities thrive in sustainable ways through academic research.