We are looking for students who are interested in participating in research experiences for Summer 2023. We hope to conduct most (or all) of these in Puerto Rico, but there is flexibility where some of the projects can be done. Click the arrow below the short description to read more.

Project 1: Innovative Nursery Irrigation Systems Using Reclaimed Rainwater

DRR has developed prototype disaster-resilient nurseries for urban horticulture and agriculture. Working with our partner communities, we seek to expand the scale and enhance the productivity of such nurseries (and similar living laboratories). We also seek to quantify the social benefits for local communities and to disseminate essential background knowledge for implementing such nurseries at a commercial scale.

Project 2: Early warning systems for potential flood scenarios

Resilience and disaster preparedness are often related to flooding. Communities must be better informed of emergent and increasing flood risks. We seek to develop strategies and solutions for measuring flood risks promptly and reliably—measures that remain valid in spite of the vagaries of local weather conditions. We anticipate the use of sensor networks, drones, satellite imagery, and innovative analytics.

Project 3: Evaluation of ecosystems services

DRR supports ecosystem restoration. Coastal wetlands provide a great many ecosystem services (e.g., water purification, carbon sequestration, dampening storm surge, biodiversity). We aim to measure and track these processes and quantify the benefits of restoration efforts. Systems can be developed to automate data collection (e.g. camera systems) and to leverage community engagement through high school laboratory programs (administered by our partners) and local citizen science.

Project 4: Supply Chain Analysis for Communities Vulnerable to Disaster

We seek to analyze and design greater resilience in the supply chains serving vulnerable communities. Understanding the flow of life-sustaining commodities—both under normal conditions and after disastrous events—will facilitate infrastructural improvements to better serve these communities. We will experiment with analytical approaches quantifying the resilience of supply chains serving Puerto Rico and other US territories.

Project 5: Integrated and distributed microgrids for disaster resilience

We seek to develop an integrated approach to enhance the resilience of key power systems. We seek an alternative to municipal power systems. Solutions would be integrated with existing infrastructures and scaleable to other applications.

Project 6: Impacts of wastewater on local ecosystems and public health

We are trying to understand the influence of water on the health and vitality of neighboring ecosystems. Low-lying urban regions are often flood prone and may contribute significant quantities of non-point source pollution during disasters. We seek to explain factors that influence such pollution and to enable improved management and investment in relevant infrastructures.

Project 7: Facilitation of disaster preparedness

Facilitation of disaster preparedness requires identification of local needs before, during, and after disaster-related events. We seek to develop new (and to enhance existing) information systems for disaster preparedness and response. A system ready to protect the most vulnerable communities should include resiliency centers, innovative communications systems, and analytical tools.

(For a copy of our flyer about these projects, follow this link: Enabling Disaster Resilience in Puerto Rico: Research Experiences for Undergrads (REUs).)