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Mendenhall Research Fellowship - Research Opportunity #17-6. Bringing USGS earthquake science to risk assessment of critical U.S. infrastructure
Critical infrastructure serves as the backbone of any civic society; their operation is fundamental for community resilience in the aftermath of a major earthquake or other natural disaster. Critical infrastructure comprises several important sectors: transportation (e.g., roads, rails, bridges), water and wastewater (e.g., pipelines, transmission and treatment facilities), energy (e.g., electric, oil and natural gas, power grids), public health (e.g., hospitals), and government facilities (e.g., facilities owned or leased by federal, state, local, and tribal governments). The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) 2017 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure gave the nation’s infrastructure a grade of D+, highlighting the urgent need to revitalize our deteriorating infrastructure. While the need for upgrading our infrastructure has been well-publicized and is well-recognized in the engineering and academic communities, a clear path forward to develop an objective strategy for identifying individual and systemic risk and to help prioritize upgrading requirements remains a challenge.
This Research Opportunity is focused on a more complete characterization of risk associated with earthquake impacts on selected critical infrastructure sectors. The Mendenhall Fellow will have access to data such as the Department of Homeland Security's Homeland Infrastructure Foundation-Level Data (HIFLD) database, the Department of lnterior (DOI) Strategic Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment project database, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) National Bridge Inventory (NBI) data, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Hazus data and software (including the source code). Results from the Mendenhall research are expected to contribute toward rapid and improved estimation of earthquake damage and impact to infrastructure, identification of inspection needs, prioritization of repairs and retrofits, and development of potential mitigation and recovery strategies. Similarly, the research could lay out a framework for systematically assessing risks from other natural hazards.
We seek a research scientist to apply state-of-the-art risk estimation methodologies associated with spatially distributed infrastructure assets and to model the impact from network interdependencies. In addition, the researcher is expected to investigate and develop new, innovative techniques to model individual and systemic risk of select infrastructure and potentially propose a broader multi-sector framework to evaluate earthquake risk for developing mitigation priorities.
Potential research topics include:
- Investigating procedures to quantify structural vulnerability and fragility of select infrastructure components, in order to better characterize their response and incorporate ground motion uncertainties .
- Developing improved procedures for assessing annualized earthquake loss estimates incorporating probabilistic seismic hazard.
- Assessing specific impact due to subduction zone earthquakes in the Pacific Northwest region, considering the effects of long-duration shaking and a large affected area.
- Validating the results obtained from theoretical damage predictions using empirical and/or experimental data.
- Developing suitable USGS earthquake infrastructure hazard and risk products for public outreach and planning.
Proposed Duty Station: Golden, CO
Areas of Ph.D.: Civil engineering with a focus on structural engineering analysis and design methods, system engineering, and/or risk analysis (candidates holding a Ph.D. in other disciplines, but with extensive knowledge and skills relevant to the Research Opportunity may be considered).
Qualifications: Applicants must meet one of the following qualifications: Research Civil Engineer. (This type of research is performed by those who have backgrounds for the occupations stated above. However, other titles may be applicable depending on the applicant's background, education, and research proposal. The final classification of the position will be made by the Human Resources specialist.)
(This type of research is performed by those who have backgrounds for the occupations stated above. However, other titles may be applicable depending on the applicant's background, education, and research proposal. The final classification of the position will be made by the Human Resources Specialist.)
Physical/Environmental Demands: Work is usually performed in an office setting. The work area: Normally involves everyday risks or discomforts that require normal safety precautions typical of offices or meeting and training rooms.
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This job originated on www.usajobs.gov. For the full announcement and to apply, visit www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/515810800. Only resumes submitted according to the instructions on the job announcement listed at www.usajobs.gov will be considered.