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EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Future Infrastructure and Built Environment


Jason Pelekis, final year PhD student from Cohort 1, visited the University of California at Berkeley as a Visiting Researcher for six months. During his stay, he was part of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering where he worked closely with PEER experts. PEER is the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center which focuses on data, models and software tools to support a formalized performance-based earthquake engineering methodology. Within this context, research at PEER addresses building systems, bridge and transportation systems, lifeline systems, and information technologies. During his secondment, Jason worked on the development of a new computational model that describes the behavior of soil below building foundations that experience partial or total uplift during strong ground excitations. This was part of the wider PhD research on the soil-structure interaction of low damage seismic rocking systems.

To adequately model soil-structure interaction effects for rocking structures and create a computational tool for that was one of the biggest challenges of my PhD project. There would have been no better place to tackle this but Berkeley, which is historically known for expertise in computational earthquake engineering. By meeting and discussing with people there, I was exposed to a large pool of knowledge that made me aware of possible solutions that could work for developing further my research.”

                                                                                         - Jason Pelekis

During this period, Jason presented a poster for the PEER Annual Meeting in Los Angeles. This was a perfect opportunity for networking with people from all academic institutions of California that have earthquake engineering research groups. Finally, Jason traveled on a day trip to the University of California at Davis to meet former colleagues from Cambridge Schofield Centre and thus had the chance to see the enormous 9-m radius centrifuge beam used for experimental simulations of earthquake scenarios.