News Release: SUNY Polytechnic Institute Announces Nearly $200,000 in Funding from NSF for Better Modeling of Rocking Foundations to Improve Structural Resiliency During Earthquakes

News Release: SUNY Polytechnic Institute Announces Nearly $200,000 in Funding from NSF for Better Modeling of Rocking Foundations to Improve Structural Resiliency During Earthquakes

Tuesday, January 11, 2022 - 08:35
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Dr. Gajan

For Release:           Immediate – January 11, 2022
Contact:                  Steve Ference, Director of University Communications
| (518) 429-7742 |

UTICA, NY – SUNY Polytechnic Institute (SUNY Poly) announced today that Associate Professor of Civil Engineering Dr. Sivapalan Gajan has received $198,000 in funding as a result of an Engineering Research Initiation award from the National Science Foundation (NSF award number 2138631). The research combines physics with data science, leveraging computational modeling, simulations, and machine learning capabilities to develop a greater predictive framework to enable engineers to design more effective rocking systems for foundations to improve the resiliency of buildings and bridges in order to reduce human and economic losses resulting from earthquakes.

“On behalf of SUNY Poly, I am excited to congratulate Professor Gajan for his research that has not only resulted in this recognition by the National Science Foundation, but will also provide exciting experiential learning opportunities for students and provide the data necessary to improve rocking foundations and potentially save lives,” said Interim Dean of the College of Engineering Dr. Michael Carpenter.

“I am thrilled to receive this grant from the NSF as we seek a data-driven approach to enhance the structural integrity of buildings by knowing the ways in which rocking foundations can be optimized to minimize damage during an earthquake or other disaster,” said Professor Gajan. “The project will use existing experimental data from around the world to develop new algorithms by combining mechanics with data science. This will provide a fertile educational platform for SUNY Poly students to gain hands-on experience finding solutions to the structural questions we are exploring, which can lead to less damage, less loss of life, and lower costs to rebuild.”

Multiple SUNY Poly civil engineering and mechanical engineering undergraduate students will be able to work on this project at SUNY Poly’s Utica campus. More specifically, the students will participate on the numerical modeling aspects of the effort, as well as on the development of machine learning models for the performance of soil-foundation-structure systems, providing them with a unique learning opportunity, as well as direct exposure to engineering research.

The novel, hybrid predictive framework will have the potential to continuously learn, adapt, and improve in the future as additional data is collected and integrated to provide more valuable feedback  over time. 


About SUNY Polytechnic Institute (SUNY Poly)
SUNY Poly is New York’s globally recognized, high-tech educational ecosystem. SUNY Poly offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in the emerging disciplines of nanoscience and nanoengineering, as well as cutting-edge nanobioscience programs at its Albany campus, and undergraduate and graduate degrees in technology, including engineering, cybersecurity, computer science, and the engineering technologies; professional studies, including business, communication, and nursing; and arts and sciences, including natural sciences, mathematics, humanities, and social sciences at its Utica campus; thriving athletic, recreational, and cultural programs, events, and activities complement the campus experience. As the world’s most advanced, university-driven research enterprise, SUNY Poly boasts billions of dollars in high-tech investments and hundreds of corporate partners since its inception. For information visit