Richard de Neufville

Professor, Engineering Systems

Prof. de Neufville is an engineer and system designer. His research and teaching focus on inserting flexibility into the design of technological systems. Major industrial and government projects show that the use of “real options”, enabling managers to react to unanticipated events, significantly increases overall expected performance. This work implies a fundamental shift in the engineering design paradigm, from a focus on fixed specifications, to a concern with system performance under the broad range of situations that could occur. The MIT Press published his book Flexibility in Engineering Design (co-authored with Stefan Scholtes of the University of Cambridge) in 2011.

Prof. de Neufville is particularly known for innovations in engineering education. He was the founding chairman of the MIT Technology and Policy Program, and author of six major texts on systems analysis in engineering. His work has been recognized by Guggenheim and Fulbright Fellowships, the NATO Systems Science Prize; the Sizer Award for the Most Significant Contribution to MIT Education, the Martore and MIT Effective Teaching Awards, and the US Federal Aviation Award for Excellence in Teaching. The French Government made him a Chevalier des Palmes Académiques. The Delft University of Technology award him with an honorary Doctor of Philosophy.

He has extensive international connections. He holds an appointment from the Judge Management School at Cambridge and has been a visiting professor at the Instituto Superior Técnico (Lisbon), the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, the University of California, Berkeley, University of Calgary, London Graduate School of Business, Oxford University, the Ecole Centrale, and the Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées (Paris). He spent a sabbatical in Japan as a US-Japan Leadership Fellow.

He is known worldwide for his applications in airport systems planning, design, and management. He has been associated with major airport projects in North America, Europe, Asia, Australia – as well as others in Africa and Latin America. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) awarded Prof. de Neufville the Robert Horonjeff Award for 2018, recognizing his outstanding achievements and contributions to the advancement of the field of air transportation engineering.

He earned a PhD from MIT in 1965 and then served as a first White House Fellow for President Lyndon Johnson. He did his military service in the Army Corps of Engineers as an Airborne Ranger officer.

MIT Institute for Data, Systems, and Society
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
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