Student research in the T-RUST program engages an interdisciplinary team that responds to significant urban sustainability issues. Research teams consist of students from different home disciplines ranging from 3 - 5 members. Each team collaborates on a research project and is responsible for at least one collaborative publication reflecting the interdisciplinary nature of their project. The project is designed to form the basis for one chapter of a student’s PhD dissertation or Master’s thesis. Although this is a team research project each student’s dissertation or thesis chapter(s) must not replicate other student's chapter(s) and must be applicable to a student’s home discipline. The team project falls under one of the three T-RUST thematic areas:
Urban Ecological Systems
The evaluation and maintenance of ecosystem services requires the integration of natural science, social science, and engineering-based environmental studies with community and education outreach research projects to sustain the urban ecological systems upon which quality of life depends.
Urban Redevelopment and the Blue Economy
From land use and urban re-design, to global supply-chain and behavioral economics, and sociological and natural systems that make cities healthy and vital places, this research track unites social and physical sciences with engineering and design for spatially and socially integrated solutions. Studies of the “Blue Economy” are particularly relevant for cities with waterfronts that are reinventing themselves.
Sustainable Urban Water Infrastructure
Analysis of the natural, engineered, and societal systems that have formed the current water infrastructure of Detroit will provide students the foundation for understanding the complex interrelationships and progressive solutions for sustainable urban infrastructure. Specialties within this track will include drinking water treatment and distribution, wastewater management, and the use of big data and sensor technologies in decision-making for improved infrastructure sustainability.