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Major funding boost for quake research

Major funding boost for quake research

Two University of Canterbury academics are among researchers from around the country to receive almost $7 million for 19 new projects under the Natural Hazards Research Platform (NHRP).

The NHRP funds research aimed at making New Zealand more resilient to natural hazards such as earthquakes and floods.

Associate Professor Stefano Pampanin and Dr Brendon Bradley, both from the University’s Civil and Natural Resources Engineering department, were awarded funds from the latest round of contestable funding.

Professor Pampanin will receive $450,000 from the “New Zealand Natural Hazards” portfolio, for his research into residual capacity and repairing options for reinforced concrete buildings.

“This research project is aimed at gaining a better understanding and providing the main end-users and stakeholders (practitioner engineers, owners, local and government authorities, such as Christchurch City Council and CERA, insurers and regulatory agencies) with comprehensive evidence-based information and practical guidelines to assess the residual capacity of damage reinforced concrete buildings and to evaluate the feasibility of repairing and thus support their decision-making process of repair versus demolition/replacement,” he says.

“In the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquake sequence, it is very clear the high socio-economical impact of such a decision-making process, which is ultimately affecting the shape of the future Christchurch as a city as well as of New Zealand as a country”.

Meanwhile, Dr Bradley will be co-leading a $500,000 joint-project with GNS Science from the “Lessons Learned from Christchurch” portfolio.

Dr Bradley will work on two projects - stochastic simulation of ground motions observed in the Christchurch earthquakes including site-specific effects and seismic site response effects on surface ground motions and ground deformations.

“The funding from NHRP will enable us to make use of the world-class data that has been collected from these events to improve our understanding of earthquakes and the ground motions they produce and the ability to improve societal resilience against such hazards,” he says.

“In particular, this research will lead to a detailed assessment of, and methods for simulating, the salient features of the earthquakes and the severe ground motions that they produced. Particular attention will be given to how the soft sediments that Christchurch resides on affected the nature of the surface ground motions.”

In announcing the funding Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce says rebuilding Christchurch is one of the Government’s key priorities.

“I’m delighted to see such interest in the Platform, and in particular, so many excellent proposals under the Lessons Learned from Christchurch portfolio,” Mr Joyce says.

“We saw terrible damage and loss of life during the earthquakes, so research focused on issues such as liquefaction, seismic risks in older buildings and reinforced concrete walls will help protect New Zealand from the risk of future earthquakes.”

ENDS

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