NHERI Network Coordination Office

NHERI Science Plan

A fundamental responsibility of the NHERI NCO is to oversee the development of a formal Science Plan. The NHERI Science Plan serves as a roadmap to guide future research and help ensure that researchers in related disciplines work together to achieve common research goals — all aimed at keeping the civil infrastructure, and its human inhabitants, safe.

Second Edition Now Available

The second edition of the NHERI Five-Year Science Plan, released January 2020, is now available.  Download the NHERI Science Plan from the NCO Community Data page.  The Science Plan incorporates community input received at meetings and workshops, through the DesignSafe cyberinfrastructure, and in three Summer Institutes, plus the outcomes from the International Workshop to Develop Research Campaigns, Interdisciplinary Teams and Disruptive Technologies for the NHERI 5-Year Science Plan held March 18-19, 2019, in Alexandria, Virginia.

This report is an overview of the research needed to support the Grand Challenges described by the report. It covers both the scope and the process of conducting multi-hazard research for improving civil infrastructure.

NHERI Five-Year Science Plan: 2nd Edition (January 2020)

The first Grand Challenge focuses on identifying and quantifying characteristics of earthquakes, windstorms, storm surge, tsunamis and waves. The second assesses the physical vulnerability of civil infrastructure and social vulnerability of populations exposed to these hazards. The third Grand Challenge creates technologies and tools to design, construct and maintain sustainable infrastructure for the nation.

The report addresses five Key Research Questions at the cusp of emerging transformative discoveries to meet the Grand Challenges. Each Key Research Question is supported with example research topics that will help answer these research questions.


Researchers preparing grant proposals to NSF are urged to consider tenets of the plan when developing their proposals.


2019 NHERI International Workshop

At NHERI's NSF-sponsored international workshop held March 18-19 in Alexandria, VA, participants gathered in interdisciplinary teams, discussed disruptive technologies, and developed research campaigns to advance the NHERI 5-Year Science Plan. A report on the presentations and findings of the workshop and how the Science Plan was discussed is available:

2019 NHERI International Workshop Report (Word)


About the Science Plan

The plan is designed to be read by all hazard community stakeholders and researchers — including faculty, staff, students, practitioners and policy-makers.

The Science Plan describes Grand Challenges, Key Research Questions and examples of needed research to mitigate damage from earthquakes, wind, storm surge and tsunamis. Appendices describe the NHERI experimental facilities and examples of research that can be conducted at each EF. The appendix incorporates descriptions of the CyberInfrastructure and SimCenter, as well.

The plan was developed by members of the NHERI Science Plan Task Group. Input was provided by community during a public comment period. A living document, the plan will be assessed and periodically updated.


NHERI Science Plan Task Group

The following members of the Science Plan Task Group guided the development of the 2nd edition of the five-year NHERI Science Plan:

  • Ross W. Boulanger, Ph.D., P.E., N.A.E., Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California, Davis
  • Gregory G. Deierlein, Ph.D., N.A.E., Professor of Engineering, Stanford University
  • Jennifer L. Irish, Ph.D., P.E., D.CE, F.ASCE, Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Virginia Tech
  • Bret Lizundia, S.E., Principal, Rutherford + Chekene Consulting Engineers
  • Forrest J. Masters, Ph.D., P.E., Professor and Associate Dean for Research and Facilities, University of Florida
  • Lelio H. Mejia, Ph.D., P.E., G.E., Senior Principal, Geosyntec Consultants
  • Maryam Asghari Mooneghi, Ph.D., P.E., Structural Engineer, AECOM
  • Lori Peek, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Colorado Boulder
  • Dorothy A. Reed, Ph.D., P.E., Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Washington
  • Solomon C. Yim, Ph.D., P.E., F.ASCE, Professor, Civil and Construction Engineering, Oregon State University


The Task Group was supported by the following Network Coordination Office (NCO) staff:

  • Antonio Bobet, Ph.D., Edgar B. and Hedwig M. Olson Professor in Civil Engineering, Purdue University
  • Billy L. Edge, P.E., Ph.D., Dist.M. ASCE, Professor of Practice, Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering Department, North Carolina State University
  • William T. Holmes, S.E., N.A.E., Senior Consultant, Rutherford + Chekene Consulting Engineers
  • Julio Ramirez, Ph.D., Karl H. Kettelhut Professor of Civil Engineering, Purdue University
  • Ian Robertson, Ph.D., Arthur N.L. Chiu Distinguished Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Hawai’i at M?noa
  • Thomas L. Smith, AIA, RRC, F.SEI, TLSmith Consulting Inc.

Previous Editions

NHERI is committed to evolving the Science Plan with feedback from the natural hazards research community and guidance updates from funding organizations like the National Science Foundation. Previous editions of the Science Plan are available here, for reference:

First Edition (July 2017)