Two UofM research centers merge to enhance offerings

December 4, 2020

MEMPHIS — The UofM announces the merger of two interdisciplinary research centers within the Herff College of Engineering. The Intermodal Freight Transportation Institute (IFTI) and the Center for Applied Earth Sciences and Engineering Research (CAESER) will merge to create the Division of Transportation and Logistics (DTL) within CAESER. 

"We are very excited about IFTI's merger with CAESER," said Dr. Brian Waldron, director of CAESER. "For many years, CAESER has supported our local communities with mapping spatial analysis and water research, but now we add another critical function within our communities: transportation and logistics. Serving as the division's associate director, Dr. Stephanie Ivey's expertise and reputation in this field will be complimented by CAESER's strength in GIS to begin a new and exciting chapter for CAESER. This merger offers an exceptional resource to the communities we serve.” 

As the associate director of the DTL, Dr. Stephanie Ivey, associate dean for research at the Herff College of Engineering, and professor of Civil Engineering, will continue IFTI’s mission of addressing the country's future transportation needs, multimodal freight challenges and advances in supply chain technologies. The merger brings together faculty from numerous disciplines with diverse areas of expertise and significantly enhances the research capabilities of both entities.

“When IFTI was launched 14 years ago, we created a research center to address critical issues affecting the planning, design and operation of the nation's intermodal freight transportation systems,” said Ivey. “I am excited that this newly formed partnership, the Division of Transportation and Logistics, will continue the IFTI vision of linking people to solutions in freight and logistics through research, education and technology transfer activities - while expanding our areas of focus and continuing to develop projects with local significance and global impact.”

“I am very proud of the outreach efforts and scholarly research IFTI has performed over the years,” said Dr. Martin Lipinski, director emeritus of IFTI. “This transition is not only gratifying but signals our continued commitment to serving the transportation community and supporting research that advances our rapidly changing economic environment. Transportation and logistics, now more than ever, are a most critical component of our global economy. This merger helps position UofM to be a global leader in support of this commerce sector and continue the highly regarded work of the Intermodal Freight Transportation Institute.”

In addition to the robust technical offerings of the DTL, both entities bring a proven commitment to community outreach. From CAESER's Water on Wheels mobile science museum, to IFTI's Freight Transportation Leadership Academy, the result of future combined efforts will enhance community and K-12 outreach efforts and emphasize current transportation and logistics trends. For example, the DTL, in partnership with the Memphis World Trade Club (MWTC), will continue hosting the annual State of Freight conference. This year’s free virtual event on Dec. 3 will include the impacts of recent changes to federal and international trade agreements, the impact of COVID-19 on the transportation industry, the state of the transportation infrastructure in Tennessee and more.

“The Memphis World Trade Club is appreciative of our partnership with IFTI, and now the DTL, and is excited to continue working together to offer outstanding events,” said David Underwood, president of the MWTC. “With a shared interested in keeping our members engaged and informed, we look forward to working with the DTL to dissect current trends and lead research efforts regarding America's highly integrated supply chain network. This work is critical in understanding the link between producers and consumers through multiple transportation modes, including air and express delivery services, freight rail, maritime transport and truck transport.”

For more information and to register for the virtual State of Freight conference that will be held 9 a.m. – noon on Dec. 3, visit www.memphis.edu/ifti. To learn more about the newly formed Division of Transportation and Logistics within the Center for Applied Earth Sciences and Engineering Research at the Herff College of Engineering, visit caeser.memphis.edu/what-we-do/transport-logistics/.

Chuck Gallina | 901.678.1756 | cgallina@memphis.edu