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Global Outlook For New UC Quake Centre

Global Outlook For New UC Quake Centre

March 18, 2013

The University of Canterbury (UC) will next week launch its new Quake Centre (UCQC) which will become the national hub working with industry on joint venture earthquake engineering research projects.

The centre will build on New Zealand’s established reputation for excellence and innovation in earthquake engineering.

Fletcher Building said it was thrilled to be a partner with UC.

``Fletcher Building is honoured to be a partner with UC in the establishment of the Quake Centre. We believe that its establishment will ensure that the knowledge and experience gained from the aftermath of the Canterbury earthquakes can be captured and applied to building design and construction techniques for the benefit future generations,’’ Fletcher Building Chief Executive Officer Mark Adamson said.

Genesis Energy said it was pleased to support the UC Quake Centre research programme as there was a real need to ensure New Zealand remained at the forefront of international seismic design, especially as New Zealand and most of its core infrastructure operates in volcanic and fault prone areas.

``As the owner and custodian of electricity generation at Tekapo, Tongariro, Waiarapa, Huntly and Waikaremoana, we have a responsibility to ensure we are keeping up with the latest seismic research so that we are best able to future proof these vital electricity generation assets for the future generations of New Zealanders. It is important to us and our electricity customers that further research is constantly pursued in the field of seismic resilience of large structures in New Zealand,” Genesis Energy’s Chief Operating Officer Mike Fuge said.

UCQC will be launched by Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Hon Gerry Brownlee at the Westpac Hub in Addington on March 21. UCQC will be the catalyst for a number of national and international industry and academic research and development partnerships relating to urban seismic risk, UC Pro Vice-Chancellor (Engineering) Professor Jan Evans-Freeman said today.

``This will be a world-class centre and we will liaise with similar organisations in California, Japan and Italy. They are PEER (Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Centre) in California; EUCENTRE (European Centre for Training and Education in Earthquake Engineering in Pavia, Italy) and DPRI (Disaster Prevention Research Institute) in Kyoto, Japan.

``We want UCQC to grow and establish itself as one of the most recognised centres in earthquake engineering in the world.

``We will be developing our existing international network so we can leverage on significant resources via bilateral collaboration on projects at international level.

``We aim to put our research and know-how into practice through effective technology transfer for the immediate benefit of the Christchurch rebuild. We will also help in assessing and retrofitting existing structures and infrastructure around the country.

``We have started managing earthquake engineering projects in collaboration with industry and government, creating a fast-track system where resources, time, space and funds are defined. We are evaluating seismic risk to structures and lifelines both in Christchurch and places such as Wellington.’’

UCQC is being developed in collaboration with industry partners, government agencies, universities, research centres and professional societies.

The UC partners include Beca, Opus, Fletcher Building, Genesis Energy, Holcim, Wellington City Council, Hawkins Construction, Mighty River Power and John Jones Steel.

Other agencies include the University of Auckland, Ministry of Business, Innovation and employment, the Earthquake Commission and GNS Science and professional societies including the Institute of Professional Engineers New Zealand, the New Zealand Society of Earthquake Engineering, the Structural Engineering Society New Zealand, the New Zealand Geotechnical Society and Building Research Association of New Zealand.

UCQC aims to lead this initiative to build resilient communities. It will achieve this goal by acting as a catalyst through integrated and coordinated activities with its industry partners.

It will provide an environment that encourages researchers, practitioners and visiting international experts to exchange ideas and discuss solutions, Professor Evans-Freeman said.

``We will deliver professional training that meets the needs of industry and provide access to high level postgraduate qualifications in earthquake engineering that cater for working industry professionals as well as full time students.

``For UCQC to achieve its ambitious goals we require research partners from New Zealand and overseas who will add to our expertise in earthquake engineering,’’ Professor Evans-Freeman said.

Professor Jan Evans-Freeman at UC’s structural testing laboratory


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