PEER Students participate in Successful Young Researcher Activities at the 2010 CUEE Conference in Tokyo, Japan

The Center on Urban Earthquake Engineering (CUEE) hosted their 7th annual conference in Tokyo, Japan from March 3-5, 2010 in conjunction with the 5th International Conference on Earthquake Engineering. One of the strong highlights of this year�s conference was the emphasis the organizers placed on creating and developing activities for young researchers from around the world.

With support and cooperation from PEER, CUEE organized, hosted and sponsored a Young Researcher Workshop on March 2nd, the day before the start of the main conference, to encourage research collaboration amongst young researchers in Japan and the United States. Six PEER students were nominated participate in this workshop and to have their attendance to the conference funded by CUEE:

  • – Michelle Bensi, UC Berkeley
  • – Nirmal Jayaram, Stanford University
  • – Pierson Jones, UC Irvine
  • – Peyman Kavani, UC Irvine
  • – Chris McGann, University of Washington
  • – David Naish, UC Los Angeles

26 Japanese and American young researchers participated the Young Researcher Workshop

Additionally 5 other young researchers from various universities in the United States attended the workshop along with 14 Japanese graduate students, post-doctoral researchers and assistant professors from the Tokyo Institute of Technology.

The Workshop was action-packed with activities running from 8am until 8 pm, including: a tour of the new Tokyo Sky Tower under construction in Oshiage, Tokyo; lunch; a tour of the research labs at the Shimizu Corp Institute of Technology; a technical presentation session where all young researchers were able to make a short presentation about their research projects; and a dinner party at a local Japanese restaurant showcasing Japanese cuisine.

Students listen to presentations by their fellow students during the Technical Presentations during the Young Researcher Workshop

Based on feed back from the students in a post-event evaluation survey, the day was great success. One of the student participants noted, "it was a good idea to have this workshop before the conference so young researchers know each other and have an idea about what others are working on and share thoughts and have useful discussions as was done."

In addition to the workshop, the CUEE program committee also planned a series of special presentation sessions on the second morning of the main conference that highlighted work by young researchers. At least one student found these discipline-specific sessions to be a useful networking opportunity: "There was some overlap of my research with other people. We exchanged contact information and I'm hoping we can find some common research goals in the future." These sessions were arranged by engineering discipline, and all young researchers made full oral presentations that were judged by 4 prominent international experts. Awards were then given to the top two presenters for each session. Congratulations to PEER student Nirmal Jayaram from Stanford University for receiving this award for his presentation entitled "Ground motion selection for PEER Transportation Systems Research Program."

Student presentation award recipients pose with Professors Akira Wada, Stephen Mahin, Kohji Tokimatsu, and Kazuhiko Kasai.

Special thanks are extended to Professors Ken Watanabe and Troy Morgan for their support and organization of these young researcher events. They will be happy to know that students greatly appreciated their work and support for future activities. As one noted, "I had a very good opportunity at this CUEE 2010 conference. I hope CUEE will continue to have a Young Researchers Workshop as this in the future."

For more information about the event, contact PEER Outreach Director Heidi Faison,

PEER Students Michelle Bensi and Pierson Jones
pose with a model of the 610m Tokyo Sky Tower.

Students at the Shimizu Wind Tunnel Laboratory get blasted by hurricane force wind!

The Tokyo Sky Tower is currently under construction
and reaches 300m, � its planned height once completed.

posted March 17, 2010