CEDAR faculty members, clockwise from top left, Laureen Elgert, Joseph Sarkis, Lyubov Titova, Yanhua Li, Randy Paffenroth, Aaron Deskins, Elke Rundensteiner, Michael Timko, and Anita Mattson

Growing Environmentally Sound Sustainability: a Data-Driven Approach

With a $3 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), WPI is establishing a unique graduate curriculum to train the next generation of scientists who can apply chemical sciences along with data analytics, mathematics, and computing power to reduce energy usage, waste, and pollution. The funding is part of the NSF Research Traineeship (NRT) program, which encourages the development and implementation of bold and potentially transformative models for training scientists and engineers.

The program, called CEDAR (Circular Economy and Data Analytics Engineering Research for Sustainability), looks at developing solutions to these global issues through a new lens. Students will study large datasets, including chemical reaction rates, heat release levels, or dangerous chemical spill amounts. They will also analyze long-term impacts of innovations, thereby shaping outcomes that will minimize health and environmental hazards while creating sustainable economic development.

Elke Rundensteiner, professor of computer science, founding director of WPI’s Data Science program, and principal investigator on the five-year grant, is collaborating with Michael Timko and Aaron Deskins, associate professors of chemical engineering, and Randy Paffenroth, associate professor of mathematical and data sciences, among others. CEDAR will train 90 master’s and 30 PhD students, and will support 30 NRT-funded PhD-level trainees. In addition to taking required courses, students will participate in internships, professional development, and other activities.

Read the WPI news release.

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