Dr. Jennifer Helgeson is a research economist in the Applied Economics Office of the Engineering Laboratory (EL) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). She currently leads the office's work on the "Economics of Community Resilience Planning."
Her research interests are focused around survey assessments and economic analyses that consider behavioral aspects and approaches to dealing with environmental issues. Dr. Helgeson’s research revolves around resilience to hazards (shocks and stressors) in the built environment, with consideration for cost-effectiveness of community- scale mitigation and adaptation efforts.
At present, Dr. Helgeson is a member of the National Construction Safety Team (NCST) Technical Investigation of Hurricane Maria and its impacts on Puerto Rico. The NIST Hurricane Maria Program also includes NIST’s National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program (NWIRP) Study to better understand recovery processes in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria. Under this NWIRP study, Dr. Helgeson leads a project to determine the impacts to and recovery of small and medium-sized manufacturers (SMMs), and retail and service industries.
Also, as part of her business resilience research, Dr. Helgeson leads a primary data collection effort in partnership with NOAA. This study focuses on decision-making processes for small- and medium-sized businesses in response to hurricane events and extreme flooding in South Carolina, Texas, and other areas.
In the past, Dr. Helgeson was a researcher at the Centre for International Climate and Environmental Research, Norway and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, France. Following the completion of her B.A. Degree in Economics at Brandeis University in, she spent a year researching Environmental Economics issues on a Fulbright Grant to Norway. She earned her M.S. Degree in Environmental Change and Management with a focus on Environmental Economics at the University of Oxford, UK. Dr. Helgeson holds a Ph.D. in Environmental and Developmental Economics from the London School of Economics (LSE), where she was awarded a Grantham Institute for Climate Change Research Scholarship and was also supported by an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.