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CEE Professor Receives Grant for Risk Analysis Center

Erik VanMarckeProfessor Erik VanMarcke, a Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, has received a $3 million grant to start a center for risk analysis within the Engineering School at Princeton. “The idea is to develop improved methods for estimating damages and losses during extreme events like the recent Rita and Katrina hurricanes,” said Professor VanMarcke. The grant covers three years of funding. It is from the Associated Electric and Gas Utilities Insurance Services (AEGIS), a consortium of gas and utility companies. The center will focus on developing tools to better predict how often catastrophic events like earthquakes and hurricanes will occur, how big they will be, and what their impact will be on different types of structures. “We will be trying to quantify uncertainties – to get better estimations of probability distributions of losses,” said Professor VanMarcke, who is affiliated with the Bendheim Center for Finance. “We are trying to translate potential physical damage into financial loss.” The center would initially focus on risk quantification of extreme natural events but that it may also be potentially interested in risks like terrorism.