Missouri University of Science and Technology has been selected to lead a consortium of four universities sharing in a 2013 University Transportation Centers (UTC) tier 1 grant. This program was authorized by Congress under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). The center’s research will focus on developing the next generation of cement-based construction materials.
Missouri S&T will share a $1,414,100 per year, two-year grant with Rutgers University, Southern University, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and University of Miami. The grant requires a minimum match from non-federal sources, so the overall program will be valued at least $2,121,150 per year by the time the grant concludes. The goal of the consortium is to meet a 1:1 match to ensure a funding level of approximately $5.5 million.
“We are honored to be selected to lead this effort,” says Dr. Kamal H. Khayat, director of Missouri S&T’s Center for Infrastructure Engineering Studies. “This consortium has the opportunity to do great things. We have assembled a wonderful team of researchers, staff and students — this grant will give them the opportunity to shine.”
A specialist in the development of advanced cement-based materials for structural applications and rehabilitation projects, Khayat is the Vernon and Maralee Jones Chair of Civil Engineering at Missouri S&T and is principal investigator for the grant. Co-PIs from Missouri S&T include Dr. John J. Myers, professor of civil, architectural and environmental engineering; Dr. Dimitri Feys, assistant professor of civil, architectural and environmental engineering; and Dr. Jeffery Volz, who recently relocated to Oklahoma University, but will continue to participate in the consortium.
This new UTC, named RE-CAST (Research on Concrete Applications for Sustainable Transportation), will carry out multi-scale and multi-disciplinary studies to investigate the use of innovative materials and structural systems to enhance the durability and sustainability of the transportation infrastructure.
“The ultimate goal of the proposed research program is to fast-track the acceptance of these technologies and develop national standards and guidelines for their use for the reconstruction of the nation’s infrastructure for the 21st Century,” says Khayat, RE-CAST director.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration announced that 142 UTC applications were submitted for a share of the $63 million in grants. A total of 33 grants were awarded to research institutions across the United States.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a news release that UTCs are key to helping the country address today’s transportation needs, from environmental sustainability to safety. “The participating universities are a critical part of our national transportation strategy and to developing a professional workforce with the expertise and knowledge to tackle the challenges of the future,” he said.