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Center for Global Public Safety Industry Stakeholders' Forum

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Karen Bean facilitates the discussion at Table 4.
Steve Schwartz, Doug Petkie, Karen Bean, Tom Connell


Wayne Moore and Fang Li
Wayne Moore and Fang Li


Tom Yang and Pratap Rao
Tom Yang and Pratap Rao


Dean Wole Sobojeyo, Worcester, Deputy Chief Martin Dyer, Dirk Steyn, Jianyu Liang
Wole Soboyejo, Martin Dyer, Dirk Steyn, Jianyu Liang


Dan Gottuk


Terry Brady, Hui Zhang, Mickey Reiss and Pete Costa

Center for Global Public Safety Industry Stakeholders' Forum

April 30, 2018

WPI’s Center for Global Public Safety (CGPS) welcomed over two dozen industry leaders in the fields of Fire Protection, Food Safety, Water Security and First Responder Technologies for an Industry Stakeholder’s Forum at Higgins House on Monday, April 30th.

The full day event was opened by President Laurie Leshin, who welcomed the crowd and shared the vision of the Center for Global Public Safety and its history with Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. 

Co-Directors, Milosh Puchovsky and Jianyu Liang, outlined the Center’s interdisciplinary goals and objectives as well as a five year plan.  Professor Hui Zhang, Co-Director for the Center for Public Safety Research at Tsinghua University, reviewed the work being done in China to improve public safety and create smarter cities.

Wole Soboyejo, Bernard M. Gordon Dean of Engineer and Professor of Engineering Leadership, introduced faculty researchers who each discussed their new innovative research projects that are being supported with seed grants through the Dean of Engineering Office.  Each project team was represented by one member as follows: 

Next Generation Batteries           Yan Wang, Associate Professor, ME

Wildland Urban Interface             Albert Simeoni, Professor & Dept Head, FPE

Concussion Detection                 Songbai Ji, Associate Professor, BME

Soft Robotics                               Cagdas Onal, Asst Professor, ME

Smart Fire Trucks                        Xinming Huang, Professor, ECE

Food Safety                                 Pratap Rao, Asst Professor, ME

Flame Refluxing                          Albert Simeoni, Professor & Dept Head, FPE

Swarms of Robots                      Carlo Pinciroli, Asst Professor, CS

Safety Index                               Tricia Stapleton, Asst Professor, SSPS

Flint Water Project                      Natalie Farny, Asst Teaching Professor, Biology & Biotechnology

Attendees travelled from throughout the U.S. and even as far as China to participate in the event.  Companies represented include Climate Energy, E-One, Ferrari Engineering, First Command Financial Services, FM Global, Forensic Laboratory Travelers, Globe Manufacturing, JENSEN HUGHES, Johnson Controls, Kidde-Fenwal, LION Group, NFPA, Underwriters Laboratories, U.S. Army Labs, Woodard & Curran, and Worcester Fire Department.

Guests included CGPS Founding Supporters, Mickey Reiss & George Toth; newly appoint President of Underwriters Laboratories, Terry Brady;  Worcester Fire Chief, Mike Lavoie; and Co-Director of the Center for Public Safety Research in Beijing, China, Hui Zhang.

The highlight of the event was the break-out sessions and brain storming around six key focus topics:  First Responders; Emergency Transportation; Emergency Response Systems; Fire Protection Engineering; Water Security; and Food Safety.  Each group contributed ideas about the most pressing needs in each industry; ways to apply new emerging technologies; and the best way to apply the research talent at WPI and Tsinghua University.

The information gathered will be used to direct research initiatives as well as to plan the upcoming Center for Global Public Safety Symposium planned at WPI in September, 2018.

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Table 1:  Focus Topic:  First Responders
Focus Topic: First Responders


Table 2:  Focus Topic:  Emergency Transportation
Focus Topic: Emergency Transportation

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Table 3:  Focus Topic:  Emergency Response Systems
Focus Topic: Emergency Response Systems


Table 4:  Focus Topic:  Fire Protection Engineering
Focus Topic: Fire Protection Engineering


Table 5:  Focus Topic:  Water Security
Focus Topic: Water Security


Table 6:  Focus Topic:  Food Safety
Focus Topic: Food Safety

Round Table Discussions


      During the Break-out Session, each table was given a focus topic for discussion.  Participants were asked to identify the most pressing needs related to public safety within their industry; to consider ways to apply new technologies; to suggest research ideas; and to identify opportunities for international research collaboration.