Austin Becker

  • Associate Professor and Chair
  • Department of Marine Affairs
  • Phone: 401.874.4192
  • Email:
  • Office Location: Coastal Institute, Room 213
  • Website


As an interdisciplinary scientist, Dr. Becker works across the fields of planning, policy, engineering, design, and ocean science. He uses coastal infrastructure as a case study, focusing on creating and testing tools that help decision makers engage with complex problems involving uncertainty, consequences of natural hazards and large-scale shifts in climate, and the resulting challenges in policy and planning. He is co-editor of Climate Change Adaptation Planning for Ports and has over 35 peer-reviewed publications. In 2017, Dr. Becker was awarded the prestigious Sloan Foundation Research Fellowship in Ocean Sciences. Dr. Becker’s research funding includes support from the US Army Corps of Engineers, the Dept. of Homeland Security, and the RI Dept. of Transportation. He earned a PhD in Environment and Resources at Stanford University. He also maintains his 500-Ton U.S. Coast Guard captain’s license for ocean-going vessels.


Coastal resilience, seaports and maritime infrastructure, decision making, hazard and impact modeling, coastal planning, engineering policy, climate change


PhD, Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment & Resources, Stanford University, 2013
Master of Environmental Science and Management, University of Rhode Island (URI), 2006
Master of Marine Affairs, URI, 2005
Bachelor of Arts, Hampshire College, 1995
Williams College/Mystic Seaport Maritime Studies Program, 1994

Selected Publications

Mokashi, A., Becker, A., Corbett, J., (In Press). America’s Marine Highway Stakeholders: A System Scale Analysis of Influence in Decision Making. Journal of Maritime Affairs.

Vanceylon, J., Lang, C., Becker, A., (2020). Whatever Floats Your Vote: Understanding Voter Support for Public Port Infrastructure Investments. Maritime Policy and Management. DOI: 10.1080/03088839.2020.1754478

McIntosh, R.D.*, Becker, A. (2020), “Applying Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis to Weight Indicators of Seaport Vulnerability to Climate and Extreme Weather Impacts for U.S. North Atlantic Ports.” Environment Systems and Decisions. DOI: 10.1007/s10669-020-09767-y

Henry, J.*, Becker, A., (2020). Port Stakeholder Perceptions of Sandy Impacts – A Case Study of Red Hook, NJ. Maritime Policy and Management. DOI: 10.1080/03088839.2020.1729434

Sweeney, B.*, Becker, A., (2020), Port and Marine Infrastructure Engineers’ Considerations of Sea Level Change in Maritime Infrastructure Projects. Journal of Waterway, Port, Coastal, and Ocean Engineering (ASCE). Vol 146, No. 4.

Bove, J.*, Becker, A., Vousdoukas, M., Sweeney, B., Kulp., S. (2019). Toward a Regional Assessment of Climate Change Impacts on Coastal Critical Infrastructure: Case of USVI and the Effects of Digital Elevation Model Selection on Model Results. Science of the Total Environment. Vol. 10. DOI 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.136162

Mclean, E., Becker, A., (2019). Barriers to resilience amongst North Atlantic Port Decision Makers. Sustainability Science. DOI 10.1007/s11625-019-00741-5

Mclean, Elizabeth and Austin Becker, Measuring Climate and Extreme Weather Vulnerability to Inform Resilience Report 2: Port Decision-Makers’ Barriers to Climate and Extreme Weather Adaption. US Army Corps of Engineers Report Number: ERDC/CHL CR-19-3

McIntosh, Duncan, Elizabeth L. Mclean, and Austin Becker, Measuring Climate and Extreme Weather Vulnerability to Inform Resilience, Report 1: A Pilot Study for North Atlantic Medium- and High-Use Maritime Freight Nodes. US Army Corps of Engineers Report Number: ERDC/CHL CR-19-2

McIntosh, R.D., Becker, A., (2019), “Expert Evaluation of Open-Data Indicators of Seaport Vulnerability to Climate and Extreme Weather Impacts for U.S. North Atlantic.” Ocean and Coastal Management. Vol. 180, No. 1,

Stempel, P., Becker, A., (2019). Visualizations out of context. Implications of using simulation-based 3d hazard visualizations. ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information: Special issue on Natural Hazards and Geospatial Information. Vol 8, No 318; Doi:10.3390/ijgi8080318.

Witkop, R., Becker, A., Stempel, P.*, Ginnis, I. (2019). Developing Consequence Thresholds for Storm Models through Participatory Processes: Case Study of Westerly Rhode Island. Frontiers in Earth Science: Geohazards and Georisks.Vol. 7. Doi: 10.3389/feart.2019.00133.

Becker A., Kretsch, E., (2019) The Leadership Void for Climate Adaptation Planning: Case Study of the Port of Providence (Rhode Island, United States). Frontiers in Earth Science, 7. Doi:10.3389/feart.2019.00029

Casey, A.*, Becker, A., (2019). Institutional and Conceptual Barriers to Climate Change Adaptation for Coastal Cultural Heritage. Coastal Management, pp. 1-20. 10.1080/08920753.2019.1564952
Burroughs, R., Becker, A. (In Press). Seaports, Storms, and Sustainability: Providence, RI. In in Ng., A., Monios, J., and Jiang, C. (eds). Transport and Regional Sustainability. Elsevier

Research Abstracts