Rational Three-Step Method for Optimizing Value of Civil Engineering Research

State departments of transportation and other agencies and organizations desire to solve difficult practical problems in design, construction, and maintenance of infrastructure. To help accomplish this they request and receive proposals from researchers to solve such problems. An obstacle the agencies face in both writing the research request and in reviewing the proposals is to rationally determine how to obtain the best value for the research funding. This paper proposes a rational means to qualitatively and quantitatively determine relative values using a simple record-keeping matrix and basic tenets of error analysis. Using inferential or other means to estimate uncertainty, and using basic error propagation techniques, research value can be rationally optimized in a three-step method of (1) assembling or requiring an objective-variable matrix; (2) inferring assumptions of variable error based on practical observation; and (3) calculating error propagation through the proposed parametric functions. This methodology will also help with scope management of proposed research and organizing research results.


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  • Accession Number: 01149339
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jan 29 2010 1:59AM