Dr. Susan Clark

Susan Clark.

Susan Spierre Clark, formerly RENEW’s Policy, Planning and Sustainability Specialist (until December 2018), focused on decision-making for improving the sustainability and resilience of critical infrastructure systems to climate change. Her research aligned with the Climate Change and Urban Sustainability focus areas, emphasizing the social processes that are required for designing, operating, and managing resilient infrastructure systems, which allow for disaster aversion through adaptive responses.

Using an interdisciplinary approach, her work employed human development theory to inform prioritization of critical infrastructure systems during a disaster, based on collective human needs and values. This mixed methods approach stemmed from her research experiences that included analyzing statistical trends in extreme precipitation events in the Northeastern US, developing and testing an experiential, game-based pedagogy for sustainability ethics, studying empirical relationships between human development and greenhouse gas emissions to inform equitable international climate policy, and investigating the resilience of coupled water-energy systems in the Southwestern US. Her research has employed both quantitative and qualitative approaches such as research involving human subjects, institutional analysis, game theory, empirical data analysis, as well as life cycle assessment and urban metabolism. Susan has also taught and developed new curriculum and tools for resilience and sustainability education.

Much of her work contributed to collaborative and interdisciplinary research teams. Past projects include groups of engineers, social scientists, urban planners, policy experts, and computer scientists working to address challenges relevant to the resilience socio-technical infrastructure systems, including water, energy, and transportation systems. Several programs within the National Science Foundation (i.e., WSC and RIPS,) as well as the Office of Naval Research funded this work.

In the past, Dr. Clark has secured over $3M in funding from NSF as a co-author on sustainability and resilience related proposals. She was a Co-PI pilot project with US Navy on energy research and training veterans to become leaders, change-agents and entrepreneurs in science & technology sectors of the economy. 

Dr. Clark earned a Doctorate in Sustainability from Arizona State University in 2013, a M.S. in Earth Systems Science from the University of New Hampshire in 2008, and a B.S. in Atmospheric Science from the University at Albany in 2006. She also holds a certificate in Geographic Information Systems.

Dr. Clark was appointed director of the University at Buffalo College of Arts and Sciences’ Sustainable Urban Environments Initiative in January 2019. In this role, she will work to lead significant growth in local, regional, national and international prominence for sustainability scholarship, education and practice across the college’s disciplines.