Rafael Bras

Provost & Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, Georgia Institute of Technology


Dr. Rafael L. Bras is the provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Bras is a professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. He is the first Tech faculty member to hold the K. Harrison Brown Family Chair.

Prior to becoming provost, Bras was distinguished professor and dean of the Henry Samueli School of Engineering at the University of California, Irvine. For 32 years prior to joining UCI, he was a professor in the departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is past chair of the MIT faculty, former head of the Civil and Environmental Engineering department and director of the Ralph M. Parsons Laboratory at MIT. He has served as advisor to many government and private institutions, including:

  • Advisory Board, Engineering Directorate, National Science Foundation
  • Board of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, National Research Council
  • Chairman, Earth Systems Sciences and Applications Committee of NASA and the NASA Advisory Committee
  • National Academy of Sciences Committee on New Orleans Regional Hurricane Protection Projects
  • Advisor to departments at Cornell University, Princeton University, Johns Hopkins University, Technion, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, University of Puerto Rico, University of California-Irvine, Fundación Chile, Istituto Veneto, and the Stockholm Water Foundation and Prize
  • Director, American Geophysical Union (AGU)
  • Director, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research
  • Secretary of Energy Advisory Board
  • University Advisory Board, Coursera
  • Blackboard Advisory Council

His many honors and awards include: Distinguished member of ASCE, an honorary degree from the University of Perugia in Italy, Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Award Hall of Fame member, NASA Public Service Medal, the Macelwane Medal of AGU, John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, Athalie Richardson Irvine Clarke Prize, James R. Killian Jr. Faculty Achievement Award of MIT, Simon W. Freese Environmental Engineering Award, Honorary Diplomate of Water Resources Engineering of the American Academy of Water Resources Engineers, Horton Medal of AGU, AGU Hydrology Days Award, and Drexel University’s 2010 Anthony J. Drexel Exceptional Achievement Award. 

He is an elected member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering and the Academy of Arts and Sciences of Puerto Rico, and a corresponding member of the Mexican National Academy of Engineering. In 2012 he was named a Corresponding Member of the Mexican Academy of Sciences. He is also an elected Fellow of AGU, ASCE, AMS and AAAS.

Bras maintains an active international consulting practice. For many years he chaired a panel of experts that supervised the design and construction of a multibillion-dollar project to protect the city of Venice from floods. He has published two textbooks, more than 215 refereed journal publications, and several hundred other publications and presentations.