Afreen Siddiqi

Research Scientist

Dr. Afreen Siddiqi is a Research Scientist in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She has an S.B. in Mechanical Engineering, an S.M. in Aeronautics and Astronautics, and a Ph.D. in Aerospace Systems, all from MIT.

Her research interests are at the intersection of systems analytics, design, and policy for complex systems including earth observation systems and space exploration and critical infrastructure for water, energy, and agriculture. She is motivated by urgent problems of sustainability and works towards enabling efficient design and equitable use of technology and sustainable use of natural resources for improving human well-being.

She has led and contributed to over 26 research projects involving modeling, optimization, and systems analysis. Some of her recent work has included projects on quantifying value of remote sensing for decisions, new methods for technology and infrastructure investments using portfolio theory, and optimization models for determining system designs to provide sustained value under uncertainty with applications including desalination systems, hydropower, and waste-to-energy. She has also developed new quantitative measures for equity to assess performance of critical infrastructure and services.

Her work has led to over 120 technical publications and an edited book, and she has been a recipient of the Amelia Earhart Fellowship, Richard D. DuPont Fellowship, and the Rene H. Miller Prize in Systems Engineering.

Dr. Siddiqi has contributed to several efforts to inform policy, including serving as a contributing author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s sixth assessment report (working group II, chapter 4) 2022, and has also contributed research for the United Nations Committee of Experts on Public Administration (UN-CEPA) on Climate Change Action and Sustainability of Natural Resources. Some of her work, on predicting long-term future water availability in arid regions, has been highlighted and included by US National Academies of Sciences in its 2019 decadal survey on new methods in social and behavior sciences.

Dr. Siddiqi has co-developed and taught over six undergraduate and graduate courses including Introduction to Engineering Systems and Fundamentals of Systems Engineering at MIT. She has also developed and taught an elective course, Analytical Methods for Complex Adaptive Systems, and a core course, Policy Design and Delivery as an adjunct lecturer in public policy at Harvard Kennedy School. She professionally engages widely with policy makers, and regularly contributes to public education and outreach. She has authored opinion editorials in international newspapers and has been a featured guest speaker on public television and podcasts.