In a world full of uncertainties, there is a critical need to create innovative solutions for risk management, risk-informed decision making, and risk-informed regulation. Our next-generation of leaders must begin to think differently, using Risk-Informed solutions to initiate safe, resilient, sustainable, and socially responsible technological advancements to usher in an era void of technological accidents. The leading methodology for estimating the safety risk of high-consequence industries is Probabilistic Risk Assessment (PRA), a constantly changing technology that can meet the demands and challenges of complex systems and processes. High-consequence industries are associated with complex socio-technical systems dealing with dependencies and uncertainties that can lead to accidents triggered by dynamic interactions. Due to these interactions, infrequent and rare system-level accidents with high consequences (e.g., Nuclear Power Plant accidents) can occur; therefore, developing Risk Analysis by relying solely on statistical data is not adequate for understanding, predicting, and preventing these rare events. To estimate systematic risk for high-consequence, high-uncertainty industries, in 1975, the PRA methodology was developed in academia in collaboration with industry.

The College of Engineering’s Socio-Technical Risk Analysis (SoTeRiA) Industry Affiliates Program (IAP) is the first IAP for risk analysis/PRA in academia. The SoTeRiA-IAP is directed by Zahra Mohaghegh, Assistant Professor of Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering (NPRE), a top-ranked department for graduate nuclear engineering programs. Ernie Kee serves as Industry Liaison, with thirty-five years of experience in light water reactor risk assessment, operations, research, performance evaluation, and maintenance with the South Texas Project Nuclear Operating Company (STPNOC). The research innovations of the SoTeRiA-IAP provide short and long-term “safety” and “profit” outcomes for organizations in three categories:

  1. SoTeRiA-IAP research applications can help mitigate undesirable and unexpected costs resulting from accidents and incidents, as there is a linkage between safety risk and financial performance.
  2. SoTeRiA-IAP research applications can help avoid the costs of overly-conservative regulatory standards and they can provide a competitive advantage that adds immediate value to a business.
  3. SoTeRiA-IAP research applications facilitate effective risk communication, and therefore, provide more realistic risk perception for public and stakeholders with respect to complex technologies.

See Case Studies of SoTeRiA-IAP projects that improved safety and profitability.

8 Missions Inspiring Our Work

The Eight Missions of the SoTeRiA-IAP highlight the strong commitment that our team has to improving safety and profitability for for our industry, while making the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign a global leader in Risk Analysis research and education:


Principle 1Principle 2Principle 3
Partner with industry to tackle complex problems using innovative socio-technical risk-informed solutions.Support risk-informed problem-solving with a team of multidisciplinary experts.Create sustainable risk management by providing education and training services for students and industry professionals.

The SoTeRiA-IAP is now welcoming new industry affiliates to join the IAP. Please Contact Us to learn more.