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Chief Donald J. Burns Memorial Research Grant
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The purpose of the Chief Donald J. Burns Memorial Research Grant is to utilize information modeling as a means of improving infrastructure safety and fire service preparedness. The grant is named in memory of FDNY Assistant Chief Donald Burns. Chief Burns died in the collapse of the World Trade Center Towers on September 11, 2001, while setting up his command post to direct the evacuation.

Funding for this grant has been provided by Bentley Systems. Bentley Systems is a global leader in providing architects, engineers, geospatial professionals, constructors, and owner-operators with comprehensive software solutions for sustaining infrastructure.

Applications are considered for projects that research, develop or apply information modeling as a means of improving infrastructure safety and fire service preparedness. The grant will fund one baccalaureate, masters or doctorate student research project that applies information modeling and mobility to improving fire service safety when training for, responding to, and operating during building emergencies. Specifically, the grant will be awarded to research focused on the use of information management technology that:
  • Provides "real-time” building-specific information to key fire department personnel during and in response to emergency operations;
  • Utilizes the principles of fire dynamics to predict how fire service operations will impact conditions within a building;
  • Provides information to fire department personnel regarding the design of a building’s structural framework, structural fire protection, and how the fire may impact structural stability during a fire;
  • Predicts how humans will behave in a specific structure during a building fire and how their actions will impact fire department operations.
In 2013, the grant was awarded to The University of Texas at Austin.
In 2014, the grant was awarded to the University of Maryland.
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