Decision Analysis

Perceived risks associated with the manufacturing, use, and disposal of novel technologies (e.g., nanomaterials) often delay or even preclude their use to solve societal needs. We develop adaptive methods and models to evaluate and prioritize relevant risks and implement decision analysis techniques to compare and guide selection of appropriate courses of action and risk management alternatives.

Complex graphic titled Current Experimental Scientific Knowledge Provides Incomplete & Uncertain Information on Some Material and Process Properties. Subtitle Thermodynamic & chemical data, Nanotoxicology, Environmental media, Product & technology development... Below are three boxes with red lettering.  Box 1: Developers & ENgineers Provide, with an arrow to box 2: Scientific Experts Provide, with an arrow to box 3: Stakeholders & Management Provide. Each of these 3 boxes are connected to three boxes just below. the first is Technological Alternatives, nex is Probabilistic Assessments, then Decision Criteria.  Connected and below each is another box. Under Technological... reads High pressure CO, Arc discharge, Laserablation, chemical vapor disposition, with an arrow to the right to the box under Probabilistic, which reads Uncertain scores for each technological alternative on each dicision criterion. Below Decision... in a box reading Cost, Material & energy use, Environmental risks, Human health risks.. with an arrow pointing left.the Cost... box connects beneath to Value Judgements, below which is Identified tradeoffs and priorities between conflicting decision criteria. Under Uncertain scores... is an arrow down to MCDA to Compare Technologies, beneath which is Probabilistic ranking of best technological alternatives given current information. An arrow down goes to Value of Information to Prioritize Research and below reads Ranked list of research best able to influence future decisions.

Decision analytical tools add valuable structure to otherwise ad hoc decision processes. The decision-making process involves various stakeholders who place different weights on different decision criteria. Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis integrates this information by comparing the technologies to determine which performs best on each criterion, and computes a total performance score across all criteria for each technology for each evaluation perspective.


  • Environmental Risk Assessment and Management
  • Visualization of risks, uncertainty and tradeoffs
  • Risk-based Decision Analysis
  • Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis for formulation or technology prioritization
  • Life cycle assessment and Life Cycle costing
  • Value of Information analysis
  • Weight of evidence evaluation
  • Strategy development and justification
  • Risk-based Acquisition support
  • Portfolio analysis
  • Stakeholder engagement and risk communication


  • M.S. Environmental Engineering; Tufts University
  • B.S. Economics; Boston College

Research Interests

  • Water resources, decision analysis, risk and resilience, emergency management

Jeff Cegan

Research Environmental Engineer


  • PostDoc., Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, 1998, Risk Assessment and Biostatistics
  • Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, 1995, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • M.S., St. Petersburg Technical University, 1990, Physics and Mathematics

Research Interests

  • Nanoenabled product prioritiozation for testing by the Consumer Product Safety Commission
  • Multi-criteria Decision Analysis framework for risk-based prioritization of nanoenabled materials and technologies
  • sustainabile nanotechnology: integration or Risk Assessment, Life Cycle Assessment and Decision Analysis

Igor Linkov

Research Physical Scientist