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David Kosson

Gass Family Professor of Energy and the Environment
Distinguished Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Professor of Chemical Engineering
Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences
Director of the Consortium for Risk Evaluation with Stakeholder Participation (CRESP)
Director of the Environmental Laboratory

Civil and Environmental Engineering
Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Intellectual Neighborhoods

Research Focus

I focus on research in waste management and environmental remediation that allows new understanding of the fundamental behavior of chemical and radionuclide contaminants in wastes, engineered systems and the environment to impact major decisions and policy. For example, work in my research group in collaboration with other faculty and international partners has resulted in establishment of the U.S. EPA Leaching Environmental Assessment Framework (LEAF), which is now being used for national policy decisions on the management of coal fly ash.

Research on improving remediation and waste treatment processes has changed the approaches being used at several Department of Energy (DOE) sites formerly used for the production of nuclear defense materials. The Cementitious Barriers Partnership (CBP), a collaboration of several federal agencies, national laboratories and international partners formed under my leadership, is providing the tools necessary to predict the long-term performance of cement and concrete materials used in nuclear energy and nuclear waste management.

Sterling Ranch is currently defining the future of sustainable, technology-integrated, learning communities. Located just south of Denver in Douglas County Colorado, Sterling Ranch will be a one-of-a kind community comprised of nine villages, a town center, commercial sector, medical facility, school system, and educational center.  At build-out, the community will be home to over 12,000 residences and two million square feet of commercial space.  Sterling Ranch is partnering with Vanderbilt University to assist in the design of cutting edge facilities, analytical capabilities, and the development of a world-class curriculum for K-8 students that incorporates the community's advances in real-time energy and water monitoring, energy efficiency, water conservation, ecosystem management, smart cities, data analysis, and sustainable development.  In collaboration with Siemens, IBM, and the Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL), Sterling Ranch will set the direction for future development in Colorado and the rest of the nation. Sterling Ranch is a unique, learning laboratory where new methods in data collection, analysis, and interpretation will be used to inform future decisions for residents, businesses, education, utilities, and regional development.

Research interests include: Nuclear waste management, environmental remediation, leaching assessment and methods, management of residuals from energy production, contaminant mass transfer applied to groundwater, soil, sediment and waste systems.


Dr. Kosson is the Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Engineering and Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Vanderbilt University, where he also has joint appointments as Professor of Chemical Engineering and Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences.
He also is principal investigator of the multi-university Consortium for Risk Evaluation with Stakeholder Participation (CRESP). Professor Kosson’s research focuses on management of nuclear and chemical wastes, including process development and contaminant mass transfer applied to groundwater, soil, sediment and waste systems.
His research in collaboration with the Energy Research Centre of The Netherlands on leaching of contaminants from wastes and construction materials and development of the leaching environmental assessment framework (LEAF) is currently providing the foundation for environmental regulation of these materials at USEPA, the Netherlands Ministry of Environment and the European Union’s Directorate General for the Environment.
Professor Kosson has participated in or led many external technical reviews on nuclear waste processing for the Department of Energy including for tank wastes and a range of technology approaches at Hanford, Savannah River and Idaho sites.

Click here to visit the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering website.