Richard Smith | Manager Science and Education | Earthquake Commission (EQC) | Local Government / Government sector
1. Why do you think UCQC is important professionally?
The Quake Centre brings much-needed focus on drawing together engineering research and practice, and strengthening the connections between academia, industry and government.
2. Why do you support UCQC personally?
The challenges that the Quake Centre is seeking to make a meaningful contribution to, require concerted effort and commitment by a wide range of organisations and individuals. In addition to filling an important role at the interface between research and practice development, I am greatly encouraged by the approach the Quake Centre has taken to seeking new opportunities and building these important partnerships.
3. What’s your professional background and what do you bring to the UCQC?
My background is in the earth sciences, having completed a Ph.D in Geological Sciences at University of Canterbury in the mid-1990s. The focus of this work was understanding volcanic hazard processes. After some time as a university lecturer and researcher I moved into a science and policy advisor role with the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management. In my current role I lead the EQC Research and Sector Education programme, working closely with local and central government, the research sector, and parts of the engineering sector. Through this experience I think I bring a grounding in research culture and a clear understanding of the needs of the various Quake Centre partners.
4. How important is the link between industry and academic sectors?
Under EQC’s research and education mandate, we see strategic national value in improved hazard risk management practices. A key part of improved practice is the role that various professionals play, especially engineers but also urban planners, asset managers and other decision makers. Building the necessary capability in those sectors with responsibilities for managing seismic risk requires clear pathways for implementing research knowledge as well as investment in human capital.
5. What are your hopes/vision for what the UCQC will provide?
An enduring capability for strengthened connections between engineering research and practice.