Civil engineering is all about creating, improving and protecting the environment in which we live. At the University of Rhode Island we carry out cutting edge research which will advance civilization and build our quality of life. Our work focuses in four synergistic areas.

Environment and Clean Water

Vinka Craver
Dr. Vinka Craver researches clean water technology and often travels to Guatemala to test and implement clay pot filters.

Dr. Vinka Craver is developing low cost ceramic filters with embedded silver nanoparticles which can effectively remove 99% of bacteria. “More than one billion people in the world don’t have access to safe drinking water, and about two million people die each year from diarrhea and other diseases related to unhealthy water,” Craver said. “Ninety percent of those deaths are children under age five. If we can get people in developing nations to use this filter in their homes, it will save a lot of lives.” Dr. Thomas Boving is carrying out an internationally funded research program to evaluate riverbank filtration as a means for cleaning and protecting groundwater resources. Read more about Dr. Craver’s work.

Geotechnical Engineering and Offshore Renewable Energy

Aaron Bradshaw
Professor Bradshaw is researching renewable energy technology.

Drs. Baxter and Bradshaw are working on numerous problems in the area of geotechnical engineering. Their current research focuses on the siting and design aspects of offshore wind turbines to support the development of renewable energy. Visit the Geotechnical Research Group website.

Sustainable Infrastructure Renewal

According to Dr. Mayrai Gindy, one of the most important challenges facing structural engineers today is the development and implementation of effective techniques for detecting, diagnosing, and treating structural damage. Dr. Gindy is developing advanced technologies to determine the condition of our aging bridges. Her Structural Monitoring and Remote Testing Laboratory (SMART Lab) is equipped with the latest sensor technology and provides our students with a unique opportunity to prepare for their future careers.


Transportation is intimately linked with economic development. Dr. Natacha Thomas is creating a model to address the challenges of evacuating people quickly and safely from public buildings or areas of natural and man-made disasters. Her model includes for the first time, human behavior in the evacuation process. Dr. Christopher Hunter with his work on intelligent transportation systems is solving some pressing traffic problems in the urban environment. He has carried out extensive research in determining the effect of red light crossing.

Think Big We Do

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