Jose F. Alfaro

Assistant Professor of Practice


PhD, University of Michigan

MS, Clemson University

BS, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

(734) 763-8564


Dr. Alfaro’s work uses engineering and complex systems tools such as Agent-Based Modeling, System Dynamics, and Network Science. In line with his position as a Professor of the Practice, Dr. Alfaro’s scholarship has an applied focus.  This has led him to work closely with communities, industry, NGO’s, and government organizations in developing his work. Dr. Alfaro is also the founder and faculty director of Sustainability Without Borders, an interdisciplinary student organization that works with communities to develop ethical partnerships for learning and enhancing sustainability.  This organization labors to provide students with a meaningful engaged experience that also increases the capacity of the communities and NGO’s it works with and increases their well-being. 

Dr. Alfaro’s scholarship revolves around three main efforts:

  1. Using Industrial Symbiosis at the small-scale to increase communities’ sustainability and well-being
  2. Deploying renewable energy for sustainable development of least industrialized countries
  3. Developing tools for policy and decision-making through computer modeling of socio-technical systems

  • Graham Sustainability Institute Transformation Grant: Reimagining Puerto Rico’s Energy and Food Systems Through Community Engagement and Industrial Symbiosis, $324,333, 2018-2020.  Co-PI
  • Proctor and Gamble, Circular Economy: Symbiotic Recycling of Consumer Products, $1,090,752, 2017-2020.  Co-PI
  • Proctor and Gamble MCubed Diamond Grant, Using Industrial Symbiosis Concepts to Reduce Flexible Packaging Flow to Landfill in Developing Countries.  $80,000, 2016-2017. Principal Investigator.
  • UM Center for Global and Intercultural Studies, Global Intercultural Experience for Undergraduates, Helping Communities Find their Voice on Cultural and Environmental Issues.  $58,000, 2016-2017. Principal Investigator.  

  • Golden Apple Award Nomination (2015)
  • Impact on Global Experience Student Recognition (2014, 2015)

Select publications: 
  • R. Martinez Criollo.*, T. Malheiros, J.F. Alfaro. “Municipal Environmental Management Indicators: a Bottom-up Approach Applied to the Colombian Context.” Social Indicators Research, In Press, 2018

  • S.Graber*, T. Narayanan*, J.F. Alfaro, D. Palit, “Solar Microgrids in Rural India: Consumers’ Willingness to Pay for Attributes of Electricity.” Energy for Sustainable Development, vol. 42, pp. 32-43, 2018

  • J. F. Alfaro, S. Miller, J. X. Johnson, and R. R. Riolo, “Improving rural electricity system planning: An agent-based model for stakeholder engagement and decision making,” Energy Policy, vol. 101, pp. 317–331, 2017.

  • S. P. Rimer, J. F. Alfaro, L. B. Stadler, C. G. Davis, and H. G. Winful, “Co-Curricular Programs in Liberia for Student Pipeline into Engineering and Agriculture,” Int. J. Eng. Educ., vol. 30, no. 6, pp. 1602–1612, 2014.

  • J. Alfaro and S. Miller, “Satisfying the rural residential demand in Liberia with decentralized renewable energy schemes,” Renew. Sustain. Energy Rev., vol. 30, pp. 903–911, Feb. 2014.

  • J. Alfaro and S. Miller, “Applying Industrial Symbiosis to Smallholder Farms: Modeling a Case Study in Liberia, West Africa,” J. Ind. Ecol., vol. 18, no. 1, pp. 145–154, Nov. 2013.

  • S. A. Miller, S. Moysey, B. Sharp, and J. F. Alfaro, “A Stochastic Approach to Model Dynamic Systems in Life Cycle Assessment,” J. Ind. Ecol., vol. 17, no. 3, pp. 352–362, 2012.

  • J. F. Alfaro and S. A. Miller, “Planning the Development of Electricity Grids in Developing Countries: An Initial Approach Using Agent Based Models,” in International Symposium on Sustainable Systems and Technology (ISSST) IEEE, 2011.

  • J. F. Alfaro, B. E. Sharp, and S. A. Miller, “Developing LCA Techniques for Emerging Systems: Game Theory, Agent Modeling as Prediction Tools,” in International Symposium on Sustainable Systems and Technology (ISSST) IEEE, 2010.

Read more publications here.

  • Curriculum Innovations Working Group
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee
  • International Engagement Committee
  • University Wide International Education Network