Summer Updates from the NHERI NCO and ECO

Published on July 31, 2017


Julio Ramirez, NHERI Network Coordination Office (NCO) Director, Professor of Civil Engineering, Purdue University


JoAnn Browning, Leader for NHERI Education and Community Outreach (ECO), Dean of College of Engineering, University of Texas, San Antonio

The NCO team continues to actively engage in building community, coordinating the other NHERI facilities, and leading network-wide education and community outreach efforts. 

The activation of the NHERI Governance consisting of the Council, User Forum and the Network Independent Advisory Committee (NIAC) is complete. Find minutes and reports on group activities on the NHERI/DesignSafe site. Especially exciting is the first-annual user survey, which was conducted by the User Forum in June. Results will be reported shortly. The Annual Community Council Report will be out sometime next month, too.

Also in the past quarter, researchers throughout the network participated in the 13th Americas Conference on Wind Engineering, hosted by the University of Florida EF. 

We also initiated the first cohort of students in NHERI’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates program. The REU students are now gaining hands-on experience at our experimental sites.

We we pleased to host a number of the NHERI community at the 1st Annual Summer Institute, being held at the University of Texas at San Antonio, July 24-28, 2017.

Keep an eye open for the NHERI podcasts that will begin this fall. The NCO is creating this program to share insights into natural hazards engineering with a broad range of our community. We are growing our presence on social media, as well, more than doubling our Facebook following last month. If you have not done so already, like NHERI on Facebook and Twitter to get the latest updates on NHERI research and education. It’s fun, too!

On July 13 and 14 a delegation of the NHERI community met in Tokyo at the Kabori Research Complex with the leadership of the Tokyo Metropolitan Resilience Project and NIED/E-Defense to begin planning the research collaboration under the Letter of Agreement between NHERI and Japan’s National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Resilience on earthquake engineering research using E-Defense and NHERI Facilities. The agreement was signed of July 13. E-Defense is the largest multidegree shake table in the world. Please stay tuned to the NHERI website for more information in how to participate in this important collaboration.

In addition, we are pleased to remind you that the 5-Year NHERI Science Plan — developed with the leadership of the NCO, a Task Group of the NCO, and broad community representation — is now available on the NHERI/DesignSafe website. This living document outlines the most challenging hazard engineering questions according to NHERI experts and will guide our research community to propose programs for solving these challenges.

Education Corner

Karina Vielma, NHERI Education and Community Outreach (ECO), Research Fellow and Educational Specialist, University of Texas, San Antonio

Over the past five months, the Education and Community Outreach (ECO) Committee planned and welcomed undergraduate students to the Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure’s (NHERI’s) first Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Summer Program. 

In June, 17 REU students enthusiastically started their research projects and are currently at nine equipment facilities across the country. Through mentorship and guidance from faculty and graduate students, they are engaging in a wide range of natural hazards work from liquefaction studies to data reconnaissance to experimental wind tests on home models. 

REU students are also preparing a lesson plan to engage K-12 students in learning about their research area. They will present their research projects and lesson plans during the first week of August. Stay tuned to the Announce email list for details!

In addition, the ECO Committee has been hard at work planning a useful program for early career faculty, K-12 teachers, graduate students, members of the NHERI leadership groups, and all those interested in learning about natural hazards engineering. The inaugural Summer Institute took place on the campus of the University of Texas, San Antonio, July 24-28.

Attendees learned about the NHERI equipment facilities and ways to use them for their research work. Participants networked with engineers across natural hazards communities including wind, tsunami, earthquake, and coastal engineering along with data simulation, cyber infrastructure, and the rapid response team.