Vahedifard named Berger Chair

After joining Tufts University in 2023, Farshid Vahedifard has been named the Louis Berger Chair in Civil and Environmental Engineering.
Professor and Berger Chair Farshid Vahedifard.

Effective November 3rd Farshid Vahedifard has been named Professor and Louis Berger Chair in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Tufts. Vahedifard integrates principles of environmental justice with advancing climate-resilient communities and infrastructure systems. He earned his PhD in civil engineering at the University of Delaware and taught at Mississippi State University for over a decade, where he served as the CEE Advisory Board Endowed Professor in the Richard A. Rula School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. 

The transdisciplinary nature of Vahedifard’s research has enabled him to successfully establish collaborative efforts with various engineering and science fields, including climate science, hydrology, data science, geosciences, and social science. His work centers around studying the resilience and adaptation of critical infrastructure, including levees and dams, in the face of extreme events such as droughts, floods, wildfires, and more in a changing climate. A key emphasis of his research has been addressing the needs and challenges historically underserved and socially vulnerable communities face. 

In research published this fall in the journal Earth’s Future, Vahedifard and Mississippi State colleagues found that the make-up of communities living behind US levees skews significantly to minorities, people with disabilities, and individuals and families with lower income and lower levels of education. “The results of this study were eye-opening,” said Vahedifard to Tufts Now. “We are hoping that it will encourage efforts to mitigate the risk and fulfill our obligation to protect these communities who otherwise have to face an outsized burden with undersized resources.”

Vahedifard’s research aligns with his role as the Lead of Resilient and Equitable Infrastructure with the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health (UNU - INWEH). His work for UNU-INWEH, the UN think tank on water, includes leading efforts to develop new research initiatives on resilient and equitable infrastructure, covering topics such as aging infrastructure, climate change, extreme events, cascading hazards, environmental justice, and inclusive adaptation. In his roles at Tufts and at UNU - INWEH, Vahedifard will continue to develop innovations against environmental challenges. 

The Louis Berger Chairship in Civil and Environmental Engineering was established in 1989 by Dr. Louis Berger, E36, H65, A69P. Louis Berger received his BS at Tufts and is known for designing a portion of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, which was the first turnpike in the United States.

Learn more about Professor and Berger Chair Farshid Vahedifard.