Adaptation is essential to any species’ survival. Some animals change their coloring to blend with their environment. Others migrate to find more favorable climates as environmental conditions change. Humans are no different—we too need to adapt to external stressors such as climate change, urbanization, evolution of technology or resource scarcity. We must enhance our adaptive capabilities to be better prepared to understand, respond to, and/or mitigate the pressures of constantly evolving global demands.
In 2017, floods in South Asia killed 2,700 people.
Climate change, continued sea level rise and overpopulation require the adaptation of infrastructure to ensure its continued safe, reliable and economic operation now and in the future. Understanding how natural systems adapt in a changing human environment will help us understand how to live sustainably. Understanding resiliency of cities to evolving environments will inform decision-makers regarding where and how to optimally adapt in the short term (to specific events or hazards) and the long term (lifetime). Adapting transportation infrastructure to facilitate the deployment of automated vehicles will transform future mobility systems. This fundamental need for adaptive resilience can only be met through the development of new models, theories, technologies and materials that bring a multidisciplinary and systems-level perspective to engineering.
The need to understand the adaptation of the systems on which we depend will transform engineering education. Modeling of engineering problems that rely on solitary principles will be replaced by an encompassing view of systems where interconnectedness and multidisciplinarity are central.
Engineers work to disinfect N95 masks for medical personnel
Virus removal approaches, mask resilience and mask fit are all being tested.
Guidance on decontaminating face masks: U-M researchers contribute to national effort
Collaborative website launched while U-M researchers continue advanced testing.
Give Earth [another] chance
50 years after the first Earth Day, the next generation is rewriting the rules.
Our strategic vision positions civil and environmental engineers as the scientific, technological and business leaders tackling the complex societal grand challenges ahead. We have identified five strategic directions that will inform our future growth.Explore our five strategic directions »