Decision and Risk Analysis Center at UTD
Awarded Grant from European Space Agency

RICHARDSON, Texas (Jan. 24, 2005) – A research center at The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) School of Management has been awarded a grant of 80,000 euros ($104,800) by the European Space Agency (ESA) to study how risk management and decision analysis performed in several industry sectors might apply to the agency.

The study will be conducted by Dr. Alain Bensoussan, UTD Distinguished Research Professor in Operations Management who is director of the International Center for Decision and Risk Analysis (ICDRiA).  Bensoussan, who joined the UTD faculty last summer, headed the ESA from 1999 to 2002. 

Photo, Alain Bensoussan
Dr. Alain Bensoussan,
UTD Distinguished Research Professor
and director of the International Center
for Decision and Risk Analysis (ICDRiA)

Bensoussan will conduct the 18-month study mainly in the United States.  He will study the management of risk in industry sectors, such as telecommunications and aeronautics, which deal with many of the same risk factors that confront ESA.  

“Such factors include huge capital investment, technological innovation and a high level of complexity.  Once we have gathered our data, we will assess how ESA might take more advantage of risk management methods used in these industry sectors,” he explained.

Michel Courtois, ESA’s chief technical officer, said the management of risk is an important priority inherent in space exploration.

“We need a stronger involvement of the academic community and more international cooperation in this field,” Courtois said.  “Internationally, ICDRiA provides a neutral place for exchanges on risk management concepts, methods and experience across sectors.”

UTD School of Management Dean Hasan Pirkul said he welcomed the European Space Agency’s interest and support of the school’s research efforts.  “Such support will help ICDRiA in its efforts to provide an international forum for the exchange of knowledge in this important field.”

The ESA grant is the second such grant ICDRiA has received in the last two months.  In November, EADS North America and its parent company EADS, contributed $120,000 in support of ICDRiA’s efforts.  EADS is the world’s second largest aerospace and defense company.

Bensoussan’s interest in problems of risk grew out of his experience with the ESA and with the French Space Agency, of which he was president from 1996 to 2003, as well as from his extensive research background.  He is professor emeritus at the University of Paris Dauphine and is a member of the French Academy of Sciences, the French Academy of Technology, the Academia Europae and the International Academy of Astronautics.  In addition, he is a recipient of the Von Humboldt Award, and he holds a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) public service medal.

About The UTD School of Management

The School of Management is the largest of UTD’s seven schools, with an enrollment that has increased 92 per cent over the last eight years to more than 4,300 students. The school’s new, 204,000-square-foot building — featuring classrooms with state-of-the-art audio and visual equipment, wireless connectivity, video-conferencing facilities, a computer lab, faculty offices, meeting rooms and an executive education center — opened in August 2003.

About UTD

The University of Texas at Dallas, located at the convergence of Richardson, Plano and Dallas in the heart of the complex of major multinational technology corporations known as the Telecom Corridor®, enrolls more than 14,000 students. The school’s freshman class traditionally stands at the forefront of Texas state universities in terms of average SAT scores. The university offers a broad assortment of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs. For additional information about UTD, please visit the university’s web site at www.utdallas.edu.