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New £1.6M EPSRC grant on seismic safety & resilience of schools in Nepal awarded

19 June 2017

Congratulations to PI Anastasios Sextos and Co-Is (N. Alexander, J. Agarwal, F. De Luca & P. Vardanega) in the Department of Civil Engineering and M. Werner in the School of Earth Sciences who have been awarded a grant to research and develop techniques to enhance the seismic safety and resilience of school buildings in Nepal.

This project aims at developing a comprehensive scheme for enhancing the seismic safety and resilience of school buildings in Nepal. The circle of resilience initiates from a holistic seismic hazard assessment followed by the development of a smart diagnostics expert system app for reliable pre-earthquake structural inspection leading to the risk-based prioritization of schools that need strengthening.
  Following a refined joint investigation of seismic hazard and the influence of topographic effects with the California Institute of Technology, means of repair and retrofit will be identified by experimental testing of large and/or full scale, one storey-one classroom, 3D masonry and adobe simple buildings, as well as of one bay R/C infill frame, to be conducted at the shaking table of the University of Bristol and the University of Southampton in collaboration with the University of Bullafo, SUNY.
  Experiments will be co-designed with the project local partners in Nepal involving the Universities of Kathmandu and Tribuvan where preliminary material testing will take place. An innovative concept of seismic isolation using natural materials will be the second major strand of experimental research for safer construction of school buildings and shelters.
  A comprehensive post-quake vulnerability assessment will then be developed accounting for regional materials and employing micro and meso-fragility modelling for informed decision-making during the post-earthquake response, recovery and mitigation phases. This will build upon the existing emergency plans in Nepal pursued by NSET, Arup International Development and Save the Children UK, with the specific aim to enrich the decision-making process with reliable diagnostics of post-quake structural health.
  During the entire duration of the project a series of workshops and training sessions will be organised in Nepal in order to interact with the local administration as well as the engineering and educational community.
  This interaction is deemed vital for the co-development of new concepts, the transfer of know-how and the sustainable construction of schools in
both rural and urban areas of Nepal. The project has the support of the Department of Education of the government of Nepal, the World Bank and the Universities of Fuzhou in China and Roma Tre in Italy who are already active in the area.

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