ESD Research Domains


Energy and Sustainability

  Extended Enterprises
  Health Care Delivery
  Critical Infrastructures

ESD Research Approaches


Humans and Technology

  Uncertainty and Dynamics
  Design and Implementation
  Networks and Flows
  Policy and Standards

Research projects

  News Items




Policy and Standards

Many modern engineering challenges require solving problems subject to political, legal, and regulatory constraints. The increased reliance of modern societies on engineering systems requires ESD researchers to consider many such constraints to be design variables. Rather than treating regulations and policies as given, ESD researchers investigate how they can be changes as part of the design process. Understanding the policy-setting process is critical to translating insights gained from modeling and analysis into comprehensive solutions—ones that include policy-making, engage diverse constituencies, and incorporate implementation.

Research Projects:

Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions for Flu Preparedness and Response
This research focuses on the simple behavioral changes that can reduce the incidence of infection. Merging probabilistic model building with social science and management principles, this research shows that simple, non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) could significantly reduce the death toll of an epidemic. Read more.

CO2 Geological Storage Options
A multi-disciplinary team looked at the challenge of regulating carbon dioxide capture and storage. The research combined legal analysis of potential tort liability from seismicity that might be induced by carbon injection into geological formations and from contractual liability from carbon dioxide leakage from structures, with a technical review and assessment of sequestration
options. Read more.

New Approaches to Accident Modeling and System Safety
ESD researchers are developing new, more powerful accident causality models and risk management techniques that can handle the complexity of today’s technical and social systems. Using systems and control theory as the mathematical foundations and a causality model (called STAMP) that expands traditional models, the researchers are constructing computational models of the static (structural) and dynamic aspects of complex, socio-technical systems to provide information about potential risks. Read more.

Uncertainty in Impacts of Global Climate Change
This effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is complicated by the wide range of uncertainty in future projections of climate. A primary focus of the climate change research at MIT is to characterize the uncertainty in future climate impacts. Using MIT’s Integrated Global System Model, ESD researchers have performed a rigorous assessment of the most critical uncertain assumptions in the model. Read more.

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News items:

Continuing coverage on climate change and energy policy, mentioning MIT research (The New York Times - June 26, 2009)

Economy Heightens Debate Over Bill to Ease Union Organizing” (The Wall Street Journal – November 1, 2008)

What the Public Doesn't Get About Climate Change” (TIME – October 28, 2008)

Is It Time to Scrap the Electoral College?” (MSNBC – October 21, 2008)

MIT recommends steps to slash gasoline use by 2035” (MIT News – August 5, 2008)

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“The Future of Science and Technology in Europe”
Charles L. Miller Lecture (2008)
José Mariano Gago, Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education in Portugal
View on MIT World.

“The Electoral College in U.S. Presidential Elections: Logical Foundations, Mathematics and Politics”
Alexander Belenky, Visiting Scholar, MIT ESD, author of How America Chooses Its Presidents
View on MIT World.

“The World Turned Upside Down: The Impact of the Return of India and China to their Historical Global Weight”
Charles L. Miller Lecture (2006)
Clyde V. Prestowitz Jr., Founder and President of the Economic Strategy Institute
View on MIT World.

“Government Perspectives on Engineering Systems”
Engineering Systems Symposium (2004)
Moderator: Granger Morgan; Panelists: Mortimer Downey, Pao Chuen Lui, Joseph Bordogna SM '60, Mary Good
View on MIT World.

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Strategic Thinking for the Next Economy
Michael A. Cusumano, Constantinos C. Markides

Environmental Law, Policy, and Economics: Reclaiming the Environmental Agenda
Nicholas A. Ashford, Charles C. Caldart

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MIT Sloan
MIT School of Science
MIT School of Humanities