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Students challenged to design an earthquake resistant building

Press release issued: 27 April 2009

The Dynamic Designs Challenge will invite teams of students around the world to take part in a unique competition to design a building for an earthquake zone.

The Dynamic Designs Challenge will invite teams of students around the world to take part in a unique competition to design a building for an earthquake zone.

Two leading earthquake engineers at the University of Bristol, Drs Wendy Daniell and Adam Crewe, in partnership with Education UK and the British Council have developed the competition.  The Dynamic Designs Challenge will set an engineering-experience where students propose a design for an earthquake resistant building in an area where earthquakes are common. 

The Dynamic Design Challenge is one of a number of marketing campaigns that have been developed in support of the Prime Minister's Initiative for International Education (PMI2), a five-year strategy to support the UK in the international education market.

The competition will require participants to demonstrate many of the core attributes and skills required by employers and universities including teamwork, creative thinking, communication and the ability to solve complex challenges.  The students will also apply skills in and knowledge of science and engineering, art and architecture, project management, finance and socio-economics.

The challenge will consist of two parts.  Firstly, the design proposal will be submitted online and will be judged by the University's earthquake experts.  The experts will select a shortlist of 12 teams to compete in the second round, the finals.

The second round will consist of a presentation to a panel of expert judges, the model of the building will be tested on a specially designed 'shaking table' to see how it stands up to a simulated earthquake.  The finals will be held in countries around the world starting with the first challenge in Korea.

There will be prizes for the winning team and institution together with 'Best design proposal presentation' and 'Best performing model on the 'shaking table''.  All students who take part in the challenge will be awarded a certificate from Education UK and the British Council

Dr Wendy Daniell, Visiting Fellow in the Department of Civil Engineering, said: "With disasters from landslides, floods and earthquakes frequently in the news, the challenge will show the students the work that engineers can do to protect people from the Earth's natural hazards and that a degree and career in engineering is interesting and valuable.

"By doing research for the challenge, building their designs, and seeing their model buildings tested, the students will be able to link the knowledge and skills they have learnt to real challenges worldwide."

For further information about the Dynamic Designs Challenge, visit


Further information

The Prime Minister’s Initiative (PMI) for International Education was launched in April 2006 with the aim of securing the UK’s position as a leader in international education, and sustaining the managed growth of the UK’s market position.

The PMI is a five-year strategy which sets out to achieve the following targets by 2011:

· An additional 100,000 international students in UK Higher and Further Education
· Double the number of countries sending more than 10,000 students p.a. to the UK
· Achieve demonstrable improvements to student satisfaction ratings in the UK
· Achieve significant growth in the number of partnerships between the UK and other countries

The further and higher education sectors and the English Language sector have come together with the Government and the British Council to provide a total of approximately £7 million pa to support the objectives of the PMI.

The PMI is led by the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS). Partners involved in its management and delivery are British Council, UK visas, UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), Scottish Executive, The Welsh Assembly Government, Department for Employment and Learning Northern Ireland (DELNI), Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), Learning and Skills Council for England (LSC), Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA), Universities UK, Association of Colleges (AoC), English UK, Independent Schools Council (ISC), and UKCOSA: The Council for International Education.

Celebrating 75 years in 2009, the British Council is the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations.

The British Council works in over 100 countries worldwide to build engagement and trust for the UK through the exchange of knowledge and ideas between people.

They work in the arts, education, science, sport and governance and last year they reached over 128 million people.

The British Council is a non-political organisation which operates at arm’s length from government.

Their total turnover in 2007/8 was £565 million, of which their grant-in-aid from the British government was £197 million.

Please contact Joanne Fryer for further information.
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