Two Faculty Named 2024 UF Research Foundation Professors

The University of Florida Research Foundation has recently named 34 of the university’s most productive and promising faculty members as UFRF Professors for 2024. Two professors Lily Elefteriadou, Ph.D., the Barbara Goldsby Professor in the Department of Civil & Coastal Engineering, and Timothy Townsend, Ph.D., the Jones, Edmunds & Associates, Inc. Professor in the Department of Environmental Engineering Sciences, were among the faculty selected.

“This recognition goes to faculty who have a distinguished current record of research and a strong research agenda that is likely to lead to continuing distinction in their fields,” said David Norton, UF’s vice president for research. “UFRF Professors earn significant grants; publish in the leading journals in their field; hold university leadership positions; and contribute to the university in countless other ways.”

The UFRF Professors were recommended by their college deans based on nominations from their department chairs, a personal statement and an evaluation of their recent research accomplishments as evidenced by publications in scholarly journals, external funding, honors and awards, development of intellectual property and other measures appropriate to their field of expertise.

The three-year award includes a $5,000 annual salary supplement and a one-time $3,000 grant. The professorships are funded from the university’s share of royalty and licensing income on UF-generated products. View the original UF Research Foundation names 2024 professors article here.

Lily Elefteriadou, Ph.D.

Lily Elefteriadou, Ph.D., is a Barbara Goldsby Professor in the Department of Civil & Coastal Engineering.

Lily Elefteriadou, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor in Civil Engineering at UF and an international leader in transportation engineering, has made significant contributions to the state-of-the-art in the transportation sector. Her active research program focuses on groundbreaking work in critical areas such as highway capacity analysis, traffic management utilizing advanced transportation technologies, and signal control optimization. Elefteriadou’s work has contributed extensively to understanding and managing transportation systems.

Elefteriadou’s expertise in highway capacity analysis involves the development of analytical and simulation models to assess the performance of highway facilities in response to various design configurations and environmental factors. Her research on traffic management includes optimizing, simulating, and developing models that consider the performance of autonomous and connected vehicles, sensors, and real-time information systems. Additionally, Elefteriadou’s research on signal control optimization has aimed to maximize traffic flow and minimize travel times across highway networks.

As a leader in various projects with the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), Elefteriadou has spearheaded the development of algorithms for a smart intersection that enables autonomous vehicle trajectories to optimize traffic throughput. Her utilization of data from connected and autonomous vehicles in researching signal control optimization and freeway management has been instrumental in developing methods that may alleviate congestion and reduce travelers’ time in traffic.

In 2011 and 2017, Elefteriadou led a team of ten universities (Georgia Tech, University of North Carolina, North Carolina State, the Citadel, Tennessee Tech, Jackson State University, Florida International University, University of Alabama Birmingham, and Auburn University) and was successful in winning the USDOT-funded Regional University Transportation Center (UTC) for the southeast region, one of ten such centers in the U.S.

Elefteriadou is the director of the University of Florida Transportation Institute and has created the I-STREET Living Lab in collaboration with FDOT and the City of Gainesville. The I-STREET Living Lab is an open-road area and physical lab space dedicated to testing and deploying cutting-edge transportation technologies. The lab’s road network includes the University of Florida campus, the City of Gainesville, Florida, and segments of Interstate 75 and Interstate 4.

For her remarkable accomplishments in transportation engineering research, Elefteriadou has been recognized with numerous prestigious awards. These include the 2021 American Road and Transportation Builders Association Research and Education Award S.S. Steinberg Award, the 2019 American Society of Civil Engineers Harland Bartholomew Award (for her work on I-STREET), the 2015 James Laurie Prize for contributions to highway capacity analysis, the 2015 Ethel S. Birchland Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Transportation Research Board’s Fred Burggraff Award for excellence in research in 2001. These accolades are a testament to her dedication and expertise in the field.

Eleferiadou graduated with a surveying and environmental engineering diploma from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, and a master’s degree in civil engineering from Auburn University. She obtained her doctoral degree in transportation planning and engineering from New York University.

Timothy Townsend, Ph.D.

Timothy Townsend, Ph.D., is the Jones, Edmunds & Associates, Inc. Professor in the Department of Environmental Engineering Sciences.

Tim Townsend, Ph.D., is the Jones Edmunds Professor in the Engineering School of Sustainable Infrastructure & Environment’s Department of Environmental Engineering Sciences.  

His solid and hazardous waste management research has made monumental impacts in local and national policymaking, with research funded by local and national government agencies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and host of Florida Counties. Throughout his nearly 30-year tenure at the University of Florida, he received over $13 million research awards. His research focuses on sustainable materials management, waste treatment, waste management, recycling, and waste characterization.  

Dr. Townsend has authored more than 270 refereed journal publications on a variety of environmental topics including bioreactor landfills, the challenge of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), beneficial use of industrial byproducts, and the life cycle impacts of waste management strategies. One of his recent publications explored the costs and benefits of modern-day recycling programs. He and his colleague found that under most market conditions recycling programs do cost more than landfilling all waste, the cost is modest, and the environmental benefits accrued provide a return on investment much greater than other common sustainability initiatives.   

In 2021, Dr. Townsend received the prestigious Richard I. Stessel Waste Management Award from the Air and Waste Management Association for his achievements in inventive approaches, treatment methodologies, recycling endeavors, reuse initiatives, and scientific expertise within the resource recovery engineering and waste processing management.  

As the recently appointed Executive Director of the Hinkley Center for Solid and Hazardous Waste Management, Dr. Townsend leads a state-funded center receiving $750,000 annually from the Florida Legislature.