Home Page

students measuring a spring

supporting effectiveness in user-informed engineering design and implementation

The Contextual Engineering Research Group brings together a diverse group of scholars and practitioners to improve the design, operation, and sustainability of infrastructure projects with populations whose unique values, characteristics, knowledge, and behaviors govern technology use.  CERG channels our expertise, passion, and creativity toward improving the quality of life particularly for rural societies whose identities and livelihoods are being lost to increasing globalization and attrition of local knowledge.  These societies are the basis of many nations’ food security, yet rural residents frequently lack meaningful support and are forced to abandon their agricultural identities and migrate to urban centers, simply so they may obtain basic human services like safe drinking water and improved sanitation.

CERG envisions a world in which mobility is a choice for all inhabitants, rural or urban, and societies are supported on their own terms rather than the terms of the infrastructure providers.

As the research group has grown, we have expanded our collaborations from international populations to domestic communities and organizations in collaboration with academic, business, and non-profit partners. Along the way, we are building an elite cohort that’s leading the way in understanding the importance of identifying context when developing successful and sustainable societal solutions, regardless of where they’re located. CERG’s courses, research, project implementation, and worldwide collaboration with academic institutions, policymakers, and NGOs are also developing the next generation of global citizens.

Contextual Paper Presented at HICSS-55

Contextual Challenges in using DERs to Advance Remote Electrification

by Abhiroop Chattopadhyay, Ann-Perry Witmer, and Peter Sauer

Contextual Paper Awarded Best In Climate Resilience at IEEE-HST Symposium

Community-Scale Response to Climate Change Impacts on Rural Agricultural Economies

by Ann-Perry Witmer, Donald Wuebbles, Atul Jain, Carolee Rigsbee, Patricia Byrnes, Eliezer Colina Morles, and Sandy Dall’Erba


Follow this link: The Need For Teaching Place-Based Contextualization For Sustainable Power System Infrastructure Design

** Illinois Innovators Podcast**

Follow this link: Ann-Perry Witmer on Contextual Engineering