Michelle Yang / Sun Staff Photograher

The Cornell Program in Infrastructure Policy is housed under the policy analysis and management department.

November 7, 2019

Cornell Program in Infrastructure Policy Receives $1.5 Million Grant from Koch Foundation

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The Cornell Program in Infrastructure Policy — a seven-year-old program that tackles the ins and outs of infrastructure — just got a big boost with a $1.5 million grant from the Charles Koch Foundation.

This program focuses on “improving the delivery, maintenance, and operation of physical infrastructure,” according to its website.

Based in the College of Human Ecology, the program funds research about infrastructure, hosts events to discuss important issues in the field and maintains an advisory board of experts in both public and private industries to help carry out the goals of the organization.

According to Prof. Rick Geddes, policy analysis and management, the founding director of CPIP, these goals are to “further research, teaching, public engagement, and outreach in the area of infrastructure policy.”

One of the goals of the program will be “to research technology and infrastructure,” specifically the adoption and implementation of these programs in cities and counties, according to Geddes. Geddes pointed out the immense technological advancements that infrastructure is currently undergoing.

“The whole world of infrastructure is undergoing massive changes in terms of the technology that is available,” Geddes said. “That includes driverless cars, it includes new materials, smart street lights, smart cities — this whole world of infrastructure in general is undergoing massive technological change.”

Geddes is planning to make the organization more proactive in seeking out researchers, given that CPIP now has the funding to jointly support more Ph.D. students with other departments. He believes that the grant will “take the effort to the next level.”

Geddes spoke about several areas of research that CPIP is interested in funding with the grant, including the delivery of US infrastructure, infrastructure resilience and the intersection of data and technology with infrastructure.

CPIP currently funds research about infrastructure resilience, conducted by Zhuoqun Gao, grad.

“I’m doing research related to the disaster economic impact,” Gao said. “I make models to analyze how disaster impacts the macroeconomic systems.”

Researching with Professor Geddes helps Gao create models to determine the effect that natural disasters and other attacks can have on different communities.

The law school also received a sizable gift from the Koch Foundation in the spring, with a $300,000 donation to fund its new Migration and Human Rights Program.