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Prof. YeongAe Heo wins GRP Early-Career Research Fellow Collaboration Grants

Dr. YeongAe Heo, Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering and a 2017 Early-Career Research (ECR) Fellow of the Gulf Research Program (GRP), received a grant titled Cascading Effects of Rising Coastal Risks for Petrochemical Facilities on Socio-Economic-Ecological Vulnerability and Risk Perceptions.   It is a collaborative project with two other GRP ECR fellows having expertise in environmental chemistry, and human geography. This two-year project is to develop a pilot risk model to quantify the impact of potential oil and gas infrastructure failures on human and ecosystem health. This project integrates components representing Safer Offshore Energy Systems, Healthy Ecosystems, and Thriving Communities, respectively. The team aims to synthesize research fields that have been developed separately in parallel over the past years and lead to a paradigm shift in emergency plans, policies, and procedures for community resilience toward integrative risk mitigation approaches. Synthetic cross-disciplinary approaches will be examined in this pilot study for testbeds in Mobile, AL.  I am leading this project to formulate a lifetime risk model for an oil system subjected to multiple coastal hazards.
Successful completion of this pilot risk modeling will facilitate bridging the gaps between science and engineering societies and decision-making communities. Furthermore, the holistic pilot model will be used to generate estimates of expected damage from oil system spills across the Gulf Coast region under current and counterfactual scenarios (e.g., infrastructure investments, changing flood hazards, vulnerable populations). This two-year collaborative project will be expanded in future work to develop a full-scale assessment model and extend the risk perception analysis to different critical sectors. Thus, the proposed research will ultimately lead to improved decision-making and increased resilience to human and environmental communities across the Gulf Coast and beyond.