PhD Positions Available in Engineering focused on Resilient Infrastructure Systems with Dr. Alysha Helmrich

Your Role

The School of Environmental, Civil, Agricultural and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Georgia (UGA) seeks to recruit two PhD students to join Dr. Alysha Helmrich’s research group as soon as Spring 2023. You should hold a BS or MS in civil engineering, environmental engineering, sustainable engineering, systems engineering, or related discipline. You should have strong interests in sustainability, resilience, urban systems, systems thinking, and/or equity. Focus on any area of infrastructure (or multiple areas, including, but not limited to, water, power, transportation, buildings, transportation, etc.) is welcome, and interest in research extending beyond the traditional bounds of civil and environmental engineering are encouraged. You must be fluent in English (oral and written). Graduate research assistantship stipends pay $24 – 30k per year and include tuition and other benefits. 

About PhD Engineering – Resilient Infrastructure Systems Emphasis

Infrastructure systems support the basic needs and functions of modern industrialized society including energy, water and sewage, transportation, communications, and public facilities. Resilience is the capacity of individuals, communities, and systems to anticipate, prepare for, and adapt to changing conditions, recover from threats, and thrive in the future. The Resilient Infrastructure Systems program focuses on innovative solutions that help communities, businesses, and governments mitigate risks – and seize opportunities – associated with environmental change, extreme weather, and climate-related events by rethinking, transforming, and adapting infrastructure systems to strengthen economic, environmental, and social resilience. The program offers students the opportunity to conduct integrative research focused on built and natural infrastructure systems related to transportation, environment and water, energy, and food, and their interconnections. Students may tailor a plan of coursework to their interests by drawing from UGA’s extensive course offerings spanning several engineering disciplines, earth and atmospheric sciences, environmental design, ecology, public health, law and policy, and the social sciences.

More information about UGA, Athens, and the Institute for Resilient Infrastructure Systems (IRIS) – all of which you would be a part of – is available on the following page.

About the PI

Dr. Alysha Helmrich (she/her) is an Assistant Professor in the College of Engineering at the University of Georgia. Her research is focused on urban resilience and navigating periods of stability and instability. She has expertise in multiscale infrastructure systems, systems-thinking (specifically, complexity and social-ecological-technological systems (SETS) perspectives), and decision-making under uncertainty. Dr. Helmrich is the lead coordinator and a co-host of the Future Cities Podcast, a podcast that aims to increase awareness of, and to catalyze action on, urban resilience.

You may contact Dr. Alysha Helmrich directly for further information or intent to apply at with ‘PhD Applicant’ in the subject line. Please include your resume/CV, unofficial transcripts, and a statement of research interests in your application. See graduate admission information for UGA here: The position is open until November 15th or until filled. Graduate admission applications are due on October 15 for international students and November 15 for domestic students for a Spring 2023 admission.

About UGA

The University of Georgia, a land-grant and sea-grant university, is one of the nation’s oldest, most comprehensive, and most diversified institutions of higher education. UGA is currently ranked among the top 16 public universities by U.S. News & World Report. The University’s main campus is located in Athens, approximately 65 miles northeast of Atlanta. The University’s enrollment is nearly 40,000 students including over 30,000 undergraduates and over 9,000 graduate and professional students.

The College of Engineering, formed on July 1, 2012, is building a vibrant academic environment that fosters engineering education in a liberal arts environment and research that addresses critical societal needs. The College offers eight accredited undergraduate and seven graduate engineering degree programs spanning all engineering fields. The college has grown rapidly to more than 2,400 undergraduate and graduate students and 85 faculty members.

Living in Athens

There is something for everyone in the Classic City of Athens, Georgia. Whether you are a fan of the distinctively local restaurants, the locally-roasted coffee, the nationally-known music scene, or the city’s many historic treasures, Athens is a classic college town with plenty to keep you busy. Athens provides its residents with a small community feel, where there is truly a place for everyone. It is the perfect mix of education, fun, sports, and traditions – which are taken very seriously at UGA. Come ring the Chapel Bell to celebrate your biggest victories during your graduate fellowship and walk under the Arch when you reach the end of your journey. 

UGA’s campus is just a few steps away from downtown Athens, giving students easy access to Athens’s thriving culture. More than 65 specialty shops, 55 restaurants and cafes, and 40 taverns and music venues line the streets of downtown. Over the years, Athens has become a cultural hotspot, and a mecca for music and arts. Located in the rolling foothills of the northeast Georgia mountains, Athens is only an hour from Atlanta, the ninth-largest metropolitan area in the U.S. and home to the busiest airport in the world. 

About the Institute for Resilient Infrastructure Systems (IRIS)

Formed at the University of Georgia in 2017, the Institute for Resilient Infrastructure Systems (IRIS) was created to advance the integration of natural and conventional infrastructure systems to strengthen society’s resilience to flooding, sea level rise, drought, extreme heat, and other challenges through research and education. As a highly interdisciplinary organization, students who join the IRIS team will work with faculty members from over 15 disciplines and will have the opportunity to partner with organizations and businesses to help them put practical natural infrastructure solutions to work for them.