Previously funded EEFIT research projects

Three grants of £1500 each were awarded in 2018

Multi-purpose open-source and low-cost seismic sensing

Ahmed Y. Elghazouli’s (Imperial College London) project aims to deploy state-of-the-art low-cost technologies in order to develop an open-source wireless sensing system to record and collect strong-motion accelerations in structures. Incorporating data acquisition and processing capabilities within such low-cost wireless sensors would open the door for significant advances in assessing the condition of structures and aid in the mapping of strong motion characteristics, particularly in developing countries with a large stock of vulnerable structures. In the long term, the proposed research would offer reliable big data from instrumented structures subjected to strong ground motions through low-cost and non-intrusive sensors. This would also open the door for earthquake engineering to benefit from, and have closer interaction with, developments in machine learning techniques, genetic algorithms and neural networks.


Seismic risk mitigation for the East African Countries. Case study: Salima, Malawi

Viviana Novelli (University of Bristol) proposes to develop a strategy to mitigate the seismic risk with low-cost engineering solutions by considering how damage and deficiencies of poorly constructed brick masonry houses in the district of Salima impact on seismic response and which failure modes can occur in case of an earthquake. The data collected will help characterise the material properties and enhance existing knowledge of the seismic building behaviour/response in Malawi. Moreover, the fragility curves which will be derived to illustrate the increment of building capacity from pre-retrofitting and post-retrofitting, followed by GIS maps, can be a significant tool to prove that low-cost interventions are effective solutions to mitigate seismic risk, if properly constructed. This study has the potential to be a starting point for developing guidelines and standards for the seismic design/ retrofitting of housing in developing countries.

Seismic Resilience of Private Housing in Nepal Constructed in the Post-Earthquake Recovery and Reconstruction after the 2015 Nepal Earthquake

Dina D’Ayala and Rohit Kumar Adhikari (University College London) will undertake research assessing the impact of the 2015 Nepal earthquake on private housing. The work aims to conduct seismic performance assessment and fragility analysis of load bearing masonry (BMC and SMM) typologies, which are predominant in the peri-urban and rural reconstruction in Nepal. The research will additionally study the impact on seismic performance due to common defects in construction, providing a range of fragility functions resulting from sensitivity analysis which will determine if seismic retrofitting is required for these buildings.

Two grants of £1500 each were awarded in 2017

Mechanical Characterization of Traditional Brick Masonry in Kathmandu, Nepal

Claudio Corallo and Evan Speer of The Moreton Partnership will research brick masonry reconstruction techniques in the wake of the Gorkha Earthquake of 25th of April 2015, which fuelled a renewed demand for bricks. Experts have been trying to implement improved methods of construction and materials to reduce the vulnerability of buildings against seismic action. This research will provide much needed scientific data to the problem of variability of mechanical properties of bedding mortar in traditional Nepali masonry construction by providing details of successful mixes and additives capable of improving resilience of the mortar.

Cumulative damage assessment and strengthening efficiency of masonry buildings in Norcia affected by the 2016 seismic events in Central Italy

Prof Dina D’Ayala and Valentina Putrino of University College London explore the evolution of seismic damage to the residential masonry buildings in Norcia and assess the effectiveness of strengthening devices put in place on this building stock. The data collected from this much-needed systematic study will enhance and improve the existing set of fragility functions used to evaluate the seismic vulnerability of historic city centres in Italy. The study of the efficacy of different strengthening solutions supported the amendment of the Italian Seismic Code amongst others and generated lessons applicable to India, Nepal, Portugal and Greece.


Two grants of £1500 each were awarded in 2016

Assessing the viability of drones and omni-directional imagery with virtual reality tools in post-earthquake reconnaissance missions

Harriette Stone of University College London explored the extent to which drones and omni-directional imagery with virtual reality tools can aid data collection, reduce risk to surveyors, and improve the effectiveness of surveying on reconnaissance missions.

Measuring Recovery: signposts to good practice

Laura Howlett of University College London identified and described some of the effective methods and tools for measuring and assessing post-disaster recovery in the built environment regarding shelter and local infrastructure. The project also looked at the resources, capacities and skills needed to use these methods and tools effectively.


One grant of £1500 was awarded in 2015

Building blocks for earthquake resilience

Edmund Booth, consultant,  investigated the factors which determine the ability of a society to respond to, and recover from, a major earthquake. The scope covered political, economic and sociological as well as technical factors, and includes both developed and developing countries, primarily in an urban context.


Two grants of £1,500 each were awarded in July 2014

Investigating the benefits and guidelines required for crowd-sourced photographs post-disaster

Hannah Baker, a Research Assistant at Cambridge Architectural Research Ltd. investigated whether the crowd-sourcing and geo-location of photographs will help to remotely assess damage to buildings from earthquakes and validate damage level classifications. Additionally, she formulated a set of guidelines for members of the public providing post-disaster photographs. Hannah’s research contributes to the fundamental research required to further develop the Snap and Map Tool website that uses photographs to investigate building vulnerability and analyse earthquake damage.

Structural response during the 2011 Japan tsunami

The second Grant was awarded to Joshua Macabuag, an Engineering Doctorate student at University College London, who answered the research question: "How well do current tsunami load estimates account for observed building damage during the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami?" Joshua visited Tohoku University to work on the detailed structural analysis of buildings damaged by the 2011 Tsunami. He considered loads from inundation modelling carried out at Tōhoku University together with loads from physical tsunami testing carried out by University College London. The intention was to identify the most appropriate loading estimates to be used in damage estimates and design.

One grant of £1500 was awarded in June 2013

Monitoring recovery after earthquakes through the integration of remote sensing, GIS and ground observations: The case of L’Aquila, Italy.

Diana Maria Contreras Mojica, a PhD student at Salzburg University, investigated methods for monitoring the different phases of recovery of a city after earthquakes by integrating the use of remote sensing, geographical information systems and ground observations. The study used data from the L’Aquila (Italy) earthquake (which EEFIT visited in 2009 and again in 2012) to derive a recovery index based on spatial indicators which will make monitoring recovery both time and cost effective. Such monitoring will enable the emergent causal factors of vulnerability to be kept under control and encourage recovery planning to be improved around the world.

Further information

If you have any questions, please contact the EEFIT Secretary.

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