The Faculty of Social Sciences, Economics & Business Introduces Itself

After working in academia and in industry in the USA and in Europe over the past several years, Prof. Olaverri-Monreal accepted an appointment at the JKU.

Professorin Cristina Olaverri Monreal
Professorin Cristina Olaverri Monreal

Prof. Olaverri-Monreal holds the JKU chair for Sustainable Transportation Logistics 4.0.

What is your area of research?
Cristina Olaverri-Monreal: I focus on the area of "Intelligent Transportation Systems" (ITS). Digital technologies, including sensors in information and communication technology, can be used to help respond to fluctuations in the demand for transportation. ITS not only takes interaction between individual elements of the networked transport system into account, but human behavior as well.

What do you find particularly fascinating about this area?
Cristina Olaverri-Monreal: ITS is a research area that focuses on the correlation between studies in human behavior and new technologies, contributing to how we solve important social and environmental problems. By applying a wide range of digital technologies, we can make better use of civil infrastructures and help make transportation systems be safer, more efficient, more reliable, and more environmentally friendly.

What exactly was your inaugural lecture about?
Cristina Olaverri-Monreal: I provided an overview of digitalization technologies that can be applied in support of sustainable mobility and transportation. In particular, I discussed the role information technologies and sensors play in vehicle connectivity and automation as well as their respective applications.

Why is this research even necessary, meaning how will it improve our lives?
Cristina Olaverri-Monreal: Decisions in regard to transportation can contribute significantly to sustainability, and when it comes to efficient transportation, both the transportation infrastructure and technological aspects of digital transformation are factors, too.

Why did you choose to come to the JKU and what is so special about this university?
Cristina Olaverri-Monreal: When it comes to conducting research and teaching in the exciting field of digitalization in transportation, the JKU provides very attractive opportunities. Thanks to funding provided by the BMK Foundation, opportunities to grow and advance the research field of Transportation Logistics 4.0 at the JKU provide a long-term perspective that would not otherwise be feasible to this extent.

Why should students take your classes?
Cristina Olaverri-Monreal: ITS is a research-oriented field and creating an environment in which students can apply what they learn in class to real-world situations is essential. Students can become more inquisitive, critical, and well-rounded by studying theory and then understanding how to apply theory to real-world situations. In accordance with the constructive alignment principle, my courses provide students with a clearly specified learning objectives and grading criteria that correspond to learning outcomes.

What are you currently working on?
Cristina Olaverri-Monreal: A significant part of my research projects is based on collaborative projects with partners in industry. For example, I am currently working on solutions for the package division at Österreichische Post AG to address last-mile delivery based on automation, and, in cooperation with IAV and the FH Technikum Vienna, I am working on solutions in the area of autonomous driving. I am also working on a collaborative R&D project titled "Zero Emission Roll-Out - Cold Chain Distribution" with various partners and financed externally by the Climate and Energy Fund. In addition, I am also working on an EU-funded project titled "Connected and Automated Sustainable Transport Systems and Mobility (CASTSM)" to build global talent as part of an international, four-semester joint Master’s degree program via institutional academic cooperation and supporting individual mobility.

What are your hobbies?
Cristina Olaverri-Monreal: Reading, sports, music, traveling

What else do you want to do or achieve in your life?
Cristina Olaverri-Monreal: I would love to write another book (or several more books!).