Research Scientist: Dr. Susan Clark

Susan Spierre Clark is a RENEW Policy & Planning Specialist and Research Assistant Professor who focuses on decision-making for improving the sustainability and resilience of critical infrastructure systems to climate change. Her research aligns 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 current work employs human development theory to inform prioritization of critical infrastructure systems during a disaster, based on collective human needs and values. This mixed methods approach stems from her research experiences that include: 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. She also has experience teaching and developing new curriculum and tools for resilience and sustainability education.

Much of Dr. Clark’s work has contributed to collaborative and interdisciplinary research teams. Recent 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. This work has been funded by several programs within the National Science Foundation (i.e., WSC and RIPS), as well as the Office of Naval Research.

In the past, she 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.  So far, she has been a Co-PI on 5 proposals awarded for interdisciplinary science and engineering education research.

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.