PEER Director's Message

January 26, 2022

I would like to wish all PEER researchers, students, industry partners and sponsors a very happy new year, 2022! Despite the remote work during the pandemic, the Center was active on Research, Education and Outreach fronts. Some of the highlights of the past year are summarized here.

  1. Transportation Systems Research Program (TSRP): We solicited proposals for the fifth consecutive year for the TSRP funded by the State of California. Four (4) projects on regional-scale simulations and three (3) workshops were funded as a result of the Request-for-Proposals (RFP) process in the Fall of 2021.
  2. PEER-Bridge Program: This streamlined framework of Caltrans-funded research program focuses on topics of interest to Caltrans and provides funding to public PEER institutions through a PEER-administered RFP process. Three (3) new projects were funded in 2021. Since its start in August 2020, the PEER-Bridge Program has funded seven (7) projects.
  3. PEER-DOE Workshop: In May 2021, PEER, along with Department of Energy, sponsored a workshop organized by the University of Nevada, Reno, on large-scale shaking table testing for seismic safety of DOE facilities. This online two-day event featured over 90 invited attendees including DOE, industry and academics.
  4. Pacific Rim International Forum: In June 2021, PEER sponsored the Pacific Rim International Forum organized by the University of Nevada, Reno, on “Regional-scale Simulations for Earthquake Ground Motions and Infrastructure Response for Performance-Based Earthquake Engineering.” This online international workshop featured nearly 50 speakers over 2 days and was attended by over 250 people.
  5. Researchers’ Workshop: This forum for in-progress reporting of PEER-funded projects, was conducted online in August 2021. The program was expanded to include brief overview of PEER committee activities. With 36 presentations spread over 2 days and ample time for discussion, this workshop identified interaction between several projects and participating researchers provided constructive feedback to on-going work.
  6. Blind Prediction Contests: Two blind predictions were held in 2021. The first one was on quasi-static cyclic testing of an RC column tested at Simpson Strong-Tie laboratory. There were 116 participants overall in three different categories, with a good representation from around the world. The second was a monotonic test of a thick foundation element tested at UC Berkeley laboratory. There were 59 participants from 23 different countries. Both contests provided rewarding learning opportunities to all participants, means of quantifying uncertainty, and lessons and directions for evaluating and improving the numerical modeling capabilities of the structural engineering profession.
  7. PEER Committees: Three committees assist PEER headquarters by providing advice on a variety of topics. These are: Research Committee, with the charge of shaping the general research directions of the Center; Industry Advisory Board, to serve as a bridge between research and practice; and, Resource Identification Committee, with the goal of identifying future funding sources for the Center. Each committee has been active with several meetings held in 2021. In addition, a new committee, PEER Student Committee was established in May 2021, to facilitate interaction and engagement of students from all core institutions.
  8. Review of the Center: The College of Engineering (CoE) at UC Berkeley completed a review of PEER Center in June 2021. The review was intended to evaluate the current successes, assess future challenges and explore the long-term needs of the Center, with the benefit of external advice. The composition of the committee provided different perspectives: internal (UCB) faculty, PEER Institutional Board (IB) members, an industry partner, and an external reviewer in the natural hazard engineering community. The committee recommended a second term for the Director and commended PEER Center for continuing to be an internationally visible organization with widely used tools and products. Further, the committee provided several suggestions and recommendations for the future growth of the Center.

Looking forward to this year, we continue our commitment to the mission of developing, validating and disseminating performance-based engineering technologies and developing new tools to mitigate the community impact of extreme events. We have a few key announcements for 2022:

  1. The 2022 PEER Annual Meeting will be replaced by a series of workshops. These include: a workshop on fire fundamentals and simulation tools, a workshop on liquefaction susceptibility, a workshop on Performance Based Seismic Design (PBSD) of bridges, a PEER-Caltrans workshop focused on the PEER-Bridge program including its on-going projects and future directions, and the annual PEER Researchers’ workshop.
  2. Effective immediately, the PEER report publishing process is streamlined with a simplified report template, templates for supporting documents, and guidance on how to submit manuscripts and required supporting documents. Authors should be able to produce camera-ready documents with the simplified report template. Details can be found at the Publications & Products webpage under “Tools for Funded PEER Researchers.
  3. Professor Dawn Lehman completed her very successful term as the Chair of the PEER IB. Her enthusiasm and ideas were essential for continuing success of the PEER activities. She will be succeeded by Professor Sashi Kunnath as the incoming chair of PEER IB.
  4. PEER is planning an event to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the UC Berkeley shaking table, one of the oldest and most sophisticated tables in the world with a long history of producing seminal research in earthquake engineering. This event is planned to take place on June 24th, 2022. More information about this important event will be shared soon.

We look forward to 2022 being productive with continued support and engagement from the entire PEER community. I welcome your input and feedback on increased engagement of the PEER community with your PEER Center. Please contact us at with your ideas, suggestions, input, and feedback.

Khalid Mosalam
PEER Director