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Research Overview

Our department focuses on the theme of engineering for sustainability with a focus on cities, energy, infrastructure, public health and water.

Research work and instruction under the three programs are carried out in these facilities:

  • Building Energy Laboratory
  • Environmental Engineering and Science Laboratory
  • Environmental Fluid Mechanics Laboratory (EFML)
  • Geotechnical Engineering Laboratory
  • Structural Engineering Laboratory
  • Water quality control research and teaching laboratories.

The John A. Blume Earthquake Engineering Center conducts research on earthquake engineering including advanced sensing and control, innovative materials and risk hazard assessment. Research and advanced global teamwork education is conducted in the Project Based Learning (PBL) Laboratory.

In collaboration with the Department of Computer Science, the Center for Integrated Facility Engineering (CIFE) employs advanced CAD, artificial intelligence, communications concepts and information management to integrate participants in the facility development process and to support design and construction automation. The Collaboratory for Research on Global Projects (CRGP) is a multi-school, multi-university research program aimed at improving the performance of global engineering and construction projects, with a special focus on sustainable infrastructure in developing countries. The Stanford Sustainable Systems Lab (S3L) aims to advance the state of the art in the design, monitoring and management of built environment systems, with a special focus on smart grids, smart buildings and smart infrastructures.



Our cities research spans across traditional and emerging civil and environmental engineering disciplines, including water quality and infrastructure; air quality and wind engineering; earthquake engineering and structural design; construction management; renewable energy; urban infrastructure; and urban material and energy flows.


Our challenge is to design cleaner and more efficient energy systems to improve our health and environment and to provide energy security for all.


Our infrastructure will be sustainable only when its full social and environmental context is considered, rather than merely its initial cost. As such, how to provide reliable and affordable infrastructure services is a major focus of our department, where our research focuses on all stages of a project’s life cycle.

Plastic in ocean

Public Health

Research efforts in this area include the evaluation of the chemical and microbial safety of drinking water generated by the reclamation of urban stormwater or municipal wastewater.

water from a faucet


The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering is a world leader in research and teaching on the fate and transport of contaminants in natural waters, including in groundwater and in reservoirs, rivers, lakes, and the coastal ocean.