Professor assists with flood recovery, receives major transportation grant

March 2012 By

University of Mississippi civil engineering professor Waheed Uddin stays on the move. In the past few months, he has helped with flood recovery in Thailand and partnered with a Mississippi State University-led consortium to create a national university transportation center.

After Bangkok, Thailand, was inundated by floodwaters last winter, Uddin was invited to inspect the flooded site and provide hands-on guidance on post-flood recovery, restoration and rebuilding of the Asian Institute of Technology campus.

"I earned my master's degree at AIT through a full scholarship from the United Kingdom government," the professor and director of the UM Center for Advanced Infrastructure Technology (CAIT) said. "I provided timely email advice on how to start the recovery and restoration process. Subsequently, AIT's president invited me to serve on the campus recovery and rebuilding committee. Through funding support from both institutions, I traveled to Bangkok after final exams were given here in mid-December."

Uddin's activities culminated in a symposium organized by AIT/ASEAN Affairs in association with CAIT. The objectives of the meeting were to provide lessons learned from the disaster and offer future directions for flood prevention.

In January, the National Center for Intermodal Transportation for Economic Competitiveness, a national university transportation center, was established through a $3.5 million grant from the Research and Innovative Technology Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation. CAIT has partnered with the NCITEC university consortium led by Mississippi State University.

"CAIT's subcontract grant started in March," Uddin said. "NCITEC seeks to promote the development of an integrated, economically competitive, efficient, safe, secure and sustainable national intermodal transportation network by integrating all transportation modes for both freight and passenger mobility. NCITEC plans to competitively select projects at partnering institutions in research, educational, workforce development and technology-transfer areas that address intermodal connectivity for both freight and passenger systems."

Uddin expects more than $500,000 will be awarded to UM projects.

"Both of the activities provide different perspectives on the role of engineers in the society," he said. "The first activity (AIT flood disaster assessment, and recovery and restoration) was my service project. This service to the global community and to the civil engineering profession was possible because of my several years of research in flood disaster mitigation after the 2005 Hurricane Katrina disaster on the Gulf Coast.

"The second accomplishment is the grant award of a national center for integrated intermodal transportation system after an intensive collaborative proposal effort with Mississippi State University and three other universities," Uddin said. "This research effort provides new funding opportunities to the entire University of Mississippi academic and research units in the areas of research, workforce development education and technology transfer."

One of the performance measures of the selected projects will be the number of graduate and undergraduate students contributing to each project.

"Personally, these recent accomplishments show my worldwide credibility in sustainable transportation infrastructure and flood disaster mitigation, as well as my service contributions to the University of Mississippi community, state, nation and global community," Uddin said.

Uddin's achievements were praised by Christopher Mullen, interim chair and associate professor of civil engineering at UM.

"The Department of Civil Engineering appreciates Professor Uddin's leadership in working collaboratively with partner institutions to obtain a substantial share of the NCITEC grant," Mullen said. "This nationally competitive grant provides recognition of his research in the area of transportation and infrastructure management, which he has pursued throughout his career at the university. The thrust of the center specifically in areas of multimodal transportation and economic competitiveness will enable faculty and students to benefit from exciting multidisciplinary research opportunities not pursued here in the past to my knowledge."

For more information on funding opportunities and proposal deadlines, visit research.olemiss.edu/nictec2012.