Congratulations Khushboo Gupta!

Ralph P Hall

Congratulations to Khushboo Gupta who successfully defended her Ph.D. in Planning, Governance, and Globalization last Tuesday. Khushboo’s research focused on exploring risks associated with implementing smart city projects in India’s Smart Cities Mission. During her research in the cities of Kakinada and Kanpur, Khushboo interviewed industry professionals who were executing the proposed smart city projects and officials in local government and in the Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs). The main findings from her research can be found below in her dissertation abstract.

While at Virginia Tech, Khushboo worked part-time as a graduate assistant in the Office of Economic Development, where she supported projects related to workforce and industry analysis, strategic planning, and community involvement. She has a master’s degree in Civil Engineering (from the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, India) and bachelor’s in Civil Engineering (from Uttar Pradesh Technical University, India). Khushboo first came to Virginia Tech as a…

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Novnit Kashyap (IITK-VT Scholar)

Novnit Kashyap, a student in the Department of Civil Engineering at IIT Kanpur, has arrived at Virginia Tech as a visiting research scholar. He will be working under the guidance of Dr. Ralph Hall in the School of Public and International Affairs for a period of two months (May and June, 2016).

Novnit will work on creating proposals for short term professional development courses to be offered at Virginia Tech’s India ICTAS Innovation Center. Accordingly, he will carry out research to study the nature of professional development courses that are needed in India and engage with prospective faculty at Virginia Tech.

In India, his research focuses on the sustainability parameters for urban water resource infrastructure in the context of smart cities.

The images below were taken during a recent visit to Radford University’s Selu Conservancy, where Novnit and visiting scholar Charles Chirwa (from Mzuzu University, Malawi) were able to learn about Virginia’s rich history from Radford’s Ricky Cox and Theresa Burriss.

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Day 2 activities in Workshop on Water Infrastructure Management for Performance, Resiliency and sustainability in IIT Kanpur

The event started with a brief presentation by Mr. Rajeev Garg, SE, IIT Kanpur about the state of the art of the water infrastructure in IIT Kanpur. This presentation was followed by a small summary of the activities carried out under IITK-VT partnership during last three years. Prof. Sinha, then showed a documentary on Liquid Assets focusing on why is it important to value water and infrastructure associated with it. Next, Mr. Rajendra P. Bhattarai presented a case study of the Austin’s wastewater system. Day 2 concluded with the visit to the oxidation pond in IIT Kanpur.

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Day 1 activities in Workshop on Water Infrastructure Management for Performance, Resiliency and sustainability in IIT Kanpur

The workshop on ‘WATER INFRASTRUCTURE MANAGEMENT for Performance, Resiliency and Sustainability‘began with a welcome address by Prof. Sudhir Misra followed by Dr. Arun Deb focussing on “Sustainable urban water supply system in India”. The next speaker Mr. Rajendra Bhattarai presented an American perspective on Water Infrastructure Management.The other speakers Mr. David Hughes, Mr. Walter Graf and Mr. R.K. Suryawanshi talked about how importance is given to building new infrastructure rather than managing the existing one, various tools and technological advancement which can be used to capture data related to water assets.

The importance of recording data and analyzing it to take decisions was stressed upon by Prof. Sunil Sinha. He also talked about waterID and PipeID and how it is contributing to building a vast water infrastructure related database

The first  day ended with an open discussion session  on considering water management as not only an engineering issue, but an economical and social issue as well. Participants put forth their viewpoints on different perspectives of management practices existing in India and suggested various recommendations for the betterment.

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U.S. Experts to Participate in the IITK-VT Workshop in Kanpur, India

The following leading experts from the U.S. will be taking part in the IITK-VT workshop on “Water Infrastructure Management for Performance, Resiliency, and Sustainability” on December 17-18, 2015, at IITK:

  • Mr. David Hughes, P.E.  Manager, Water Research, Innovation and Environmental Stewardship at American Water, New Jersey. Founded in 1886, American Water is the largest investor-owned U.S. water and wastewater utility company. American Water operates as regulated Utilities in 16 U.S. States and serves an estimated 15 million people.
  • Mr. Rajendra Bhattarai, P.E., Division Manager, Environmental and Regulatory Services Division at Austin Water Utility, Texas. For over 100 years, Austin Water has been committed to providing safe, reliable, high-quality and affordable water services to their customers. Austin Water consistently ranks among the best in the country when it comes to water quality.
  • Mr. Walter Graf, Program Director – Infrastructure Management. The Water Environment Research Foundation, formed in 1989, is America’s leading independent scientific research organization dedicated to wastewater and stormwater issues. Throughout the last 25 years, WERF has developed a portfolio of more than $134 million in water quality research.
  • Ms. Sonia Brubaker, Program Manager, Water Infrastructure and Resiliency Finance Center, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington D.C.
  • Dr. Sunil Sinha, Professor and Director, Virginia Tech. Dr. Sinha’s research, teaching, and consulting activities are focused on asset management and predictive modeling for sustainable and resilient infrastructures, especially drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure systems.

Workshop on ‘Water Infrastructure Management for Performance, Resiliency, and Sustainability’

A workshop on Water Infrastructure Management for Performance, Resiliency, and Sustainability is being organized by the Department of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (IITK), India and the Sustainable Water Infrastructure Management (SWIM) Center, Virginia Tech, USA, on 17th-18th December, 2015 at the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur.2015-09-30_1632

This workshop is a part of the ongoing collaborative Project on ‘Creating an International Program for Sustainable Infrastructure Development’ under the Obama Singh 21st Century Knowledge Initiative under the University Grants Commission (UGC) of India.

The workshop will bring together professionals from water utilities, academic institutions, regulatory bodies, professional organizations, and private industry to help understand complex water infrastructure systems, to better define each other’s roles and responsibilities relating to these systems, and develop a roadmap for effective utilization of available resources working towards the creation of sustainable and resilient water infrastructure systems. The event will seek to bridge the gap between academia and real-world practicing professionals and bring together some of the leading industry experts and policy makers as well as academicians from both India and the United States to discuss the latest techniques and strategies for sustainable and resilient water infrastructure systems.

Chetan Chauhan (Visiting Scholar, IC-SAFE)

Chetan Chauhan Chetan Chauhan_ICSAFEwas a visiting scholar with the IC-SAFE (Center for Innovation in Construction Safety, Health, and Well-being) at the Myers Lawson School of Construction this summer. He worked with the directors of the center, Dr. Dan Hindman and Dr. Thomas Mills, on developing a roadmap for the center which included online rebranding, enhancing industry relations, and identifying future academic collaborations in the field of Construction Safety. Chetan also developed a series of academic resources for the IC-SAFE website. The work undertaken by Chetan at Virginia Tech will support the development of a construction safety center at IIT Kanpur similar to IC-SAFE.

Chetan is currently researching the nature and methods of accident reporting in construction industries across India and America for his Masters’ thesis at IITK. The purpose of his research is to develop tools to better record accident data and enhance the statistical and quantitative analysis of existing data sources to better understand construction accidents and work towards their prevention.


Chirag Agrawal (IITK-VT Scholar)

This summer, Chirag Agrawal (an IITK-VT scholar) visited Virginia Tech to work with Prof. Sunil Sinha in the 11091261_1584769845098868_1791488973317196265_nDepartment of Civil & Environmental Engineering to assess the consequences of the failure of water and wastewater pipeline infrastructure.

Based on an extensive literature review and inputs from various public water utilities, Chirag developed a comprehensive list of parameters that can assist water utilities in estimating the consequences of pipeline failure. The results from such an analysis can help utilities prioritize investments in their asset management plan.

Chirag is currently working with utilities in the U.S. and India to continue this research as part of his M.Tech thesis at IITK. The major deliverable from his research will be a global prototype index to help utilities anywhere in the world assess the consequences of pipeline failure, which can improve pipeline safety and potentially save significant financial resources.


The Initiative for Construction Safety Awareness

With India poised to make a significant investment of resources in the creation and maintenance of infrastructure, there is an urgent need to ensure that this investment does not come at the expense of worker health and safety. On March 21-22, the IITK-VT partnership will be holding a Workshop on the Initiative for Construction Safety Awareness (ICONSA-15) that will bring together national and international stakeholders – contractors, owners, regulators, and academic institutions – to explore different aspects of construction safety and identify strategic opportunities to advance awareness and research on this critical issue. The participation of this broad stakeholder group will ensure a discussion on the latest state of practice with regards to the formulation and compliance of appropriate standards and legal frameworks.

ICONSA-15 is being organized by the Department of Civil Engineering of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur and Myers-Lawson School of Construction-Center for Innovation in Construction Safety, Virginia Tech, and will focus on various aspects of construction safety studies. The event is also being supported by the Delhi Chapter of the National Safety Council of India and Indian Institute of Technology Delhi. IIT Kanpur and Virginia Tech are currently working together on an International Project under the Obama Singh 21st Century Knowledge Initiative on ‘Creating an International Program for Sustainable Infrastructure Development’.2015-03-11_0934

IITK-VT Partnership Meeting

It was a pleasure to host Prof. Sudhir Misra (the Co-PI of the IITK-VT partnership) at Virginia Tech today. The images below were taken (through Glass) during the various meetings Prof. Misra held with senior faculty and students. He also provided a guest lecture in the graduate course on Advanced Urban Infrastructure Planning (UAP5854) – the first course at VT to be associated with the IITK-VT partnership. In the near future, we will add material to this site to outline the various course development efforts that are underway at IITK and VT. The creation of educational materials to reform existing curricula at both institutions is a core aspect of the partnership.

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