The UC Quake Centre is a dynamic partnership between the New Zealand Government, the University of Canterbury, and several leading industry groups, all working together in the engineering sector to provide world-class knowledge, research and solutions to seismic issues.
This was an initiative of the University of Canterbury during the 2010-2012 Canterbury earthquake period; the cost of human life, the economic disruptions and the physical upheaval of both land and infrastructure were unparalleled in New Zealand history.
The best and brightest minds have been hand-selected to contribute to the UC Quake Centre, which is focused on identifying and meeting the needs of both the industry and those communities affected by earthquakes.
While the UC Quake Centre is based in Christchurch, the research and expertise fostered here will benefit all of New Zealand as an earthquake-prone country.
The Centre focuses on training and fostering expertise, supporting and encouraging only the best professional practices, keeping individuals and groups informed about ongoing work and research within the sector, identifying the levels of risk facing communities, and looking at ways to provide new and innovative solutions in response to those risks.
These practices ultimately establish, maintain and foster both resilient infrastructure and communities. UC Quake Centre is being recognised at an international level, with a vision to provide viable and forward-looking earthquake engineering solutions for Christchurch, New Zealand and the world.
This lofty-sounding vision is underpinned by New Zealand’s urgent and very real need, exacerbated by the Canterbury Earthquakes in 2010-2012, to better understand and counteract seismic risk by developing resourceful, innovative and world-class engineering solutions.
The UC Quake Centre is upheld by four central values that dictate how the organisation functions, and where time and energy is best invested.
The Quake Centre is committed to informing and educating the public, training and teaching both professional and potential engineers through tertiary education, using the unique events in Christchurch’s recent history to inform their research and recommendations for the future, and ultimately providing proven solutions which help to make individuals, businesses, governments and communities stronger after earthquakes have occurred.
The primary functions of the University of Canterbury Quake Centre:
To create an environment in which professionals and academics can collaboratively explore viable earthquake engineering solutions. This is done through hosting professional development opportunities at the Centre with industry professionals, carrying out modeling and experimental testing of different design methods, hosting international earthquake specialists, partnering with major international research institutions, and ultimately developing safe, ethical, cost-effective and practical earthquake infrastructure solutions.
To evaluate the seismic risk of structures. This is done through analyzing the earthquake risk of different buildings, calculating economic losses in various hypothetical earthquake situations, and supporting the decision making of industries and communities in earthquake-prone areas, whether they are rebuilding, repairing or starting a new development.
To promote professional development in seismic engineering. This is done by providing courses about earthquake and geotechnical engineering, offering new postgraduate qualifications in seismic engineering, promoting the uptake of new engineering solutions by earthquake professionals, and maintaining earthquake engineering codes.
To raise community awareness about seismic risk and solutions. This is done through coordinating and implementing public seminars, facilitating public discussion and engagement with the issues, communicating with policy influencers, and providing outreach programmes to schools.