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Research & Impact

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The CEE department conducts cutting-edge engineering research that expands knowledge and creates new methods and designs needed in the natural and built environments to sustain people and nature. Our research focal areas are the built environment, the natural environment, and engineered systems.

Built Environment

We advance performance-based design and assessment of sustainable, resilient built infrastructure to create performance metrics that support technical, financial, and societal decision-making. We discover new linkages and create novel methods to design, build, and operate cities to have reduced life cycle costs, support human health, and have a positive impact on the natural environment. We pioneer new management approaches to enable technical solutions for sustainable built environments to be deployed at scale.

Natural Environment

We design and study engineered and natural systems to provide sustainable water management in a carbon-constrained world. We apply cutting-edge field observation techniques, laboratory experiments and computational modeling and data science approaches in environmental fluid mechanics to study the movement of water and sediment to promote healthy ecosystems. We conduct research on the sources, fate, and transport of pathogens transmitted through the environment by water, on surfaces, and through air.

Engineered Systems

We develop methods and models to understand the complex interactions between urban systems (e.g., building-energy, energy-water) and leverage new information systems to enhance our understanding of human behavior and associated infrastructure demand. We study resource availability for renewable energy, matching of supply with instantaneous demand, energy flow in cities, and the design and operation of zero-energy buildings. We develop high performance computational methods to better understand engineered and natural material systems that are the core building blocks of sustainable civil and environmental infrastructure.


Explore our research focus areas with our Faculty and Centers

Individual Faculty Research Groups

Research Centers

We Co-create Solutions with External Collaborators

Through close affiliations with industry, utilities, nonprofits, and governmental agencies, our research insights and the technologies we create are applied in practice.

Collaborate as an Industry Affiliate

Collaborate with the Doerr School Sustainability Accelerator

Collaborate with the Doerr School's Institutes

Student Research Opportunities 

The Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering offers several programmatic as well as informal research opportunities to undergraduate and graduate students. Faculty, staff, and students from distinct research areas work as teams on projects within the department, with other collaborators at Stanford, and at other universities worldwide. Special research opportunities are available to undergraduate students every summer, working closely with faculty members. We encourage student initiative in conceiving and conducting research. 

Stanford Student Research Opportunities

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VPUE Summer Undergrad Research Program 
Graduate Student Research
Woods Insitute MUIR program                                                                                                           

Research Opportunities for those outside of Stanford

SURGE cohort
Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF)
Sustainability Undergraduate Research in Geoscience and Engineering Program (SURGE)