PhD Spotlight: Razan Al Lawati, PhD’23, Industrial Engineering
Originally from Muscat, Oman, Razan Al Lawati’s passion for problem-solving led her to complete an MS in interdisciplinary engineering at Purdue University and a second MS in operations research at Northeastern. She then pursued her PhD in industrial engineering at Northeastern under the supervision of Professor Muhammad Noor E Alam researching in the Decision Analytics Lab.
Al Lawati’s current research focuses on using stochastic optimization in various ways to develop decision-making tools for systems that deal with uncertainty. In her work, she developed a novel framework in which decisions are updated as new information becomes available and studied the use of decomposition techniques to make large problems computationally tractable.
Al Lawati’s entrepreneurial drive led her to found a solar consulting firm in Oman. Through this venture, she conducted feasibility studies and designed solar energy systems. She has also worked in enhanced oil recovery, where she researched and introduced new water treatment technologies. During this time, Al Lawati observed the difficulties associated with decision-making in the face of uncertainty with variable resource generators, prompting her to apply her PhD research to the renewable energy field. Her research findings have been applied to short-term market solutions for individual farms and long-term national, system-level solutions. Her in-depth understanding of the subject has enabled her to effectively mentor undergraduate students, facilitate workshops, and provide valuable assistance in manuscript editing and grant proposals. Al Lawati’s research contributions in this field have been published in the Journal of Applied Energy.
Following graduation, Al Lawati plans to continue publishing papers related to her research to aid regulators, policymakers, and market designers in developing evidence-based decisions. She will also be collaborating with multidisciplinary teams on process improvement projects to bring life-changing impact to healthcare systems in the Middle East.