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NEES Update: December 2010

Posted in Announcements

Julio Ramirez, Director of NEES Operations, provides the NEES community with an informal update of NEES activities.


NEES Update


December 2010


NEESR Proposal Solicitation

The date for the release of the 2011 NEESR proposal solicitation is approaching. To facilitate your work, the NEEShub will feature a central location at, NEESR Proposal One-Stop Shop, with information and material that you may find helpful during the preparation phase of your proposal as well as following notice of award. Please stay tuned for this central location containing links to the material listed below and other helpful resources:


  • Data Plan Template: As in previous years, the NEESR solicitation will require a data management plan. NEEScomm will provide a template for a NEESR data plan to facilitate your work in preparing the data plan for your proposal. This template is based on the current NEES Data Sharing and Archiving Policy.
  • The Vision 2020- An Open Space Technology Workshop on the Future of Earthquake Engineering Report: The primary goal of the workshop, which took place January 25-26, 2010, in St. Louis, Missouri, was to chart the principal new directions in earthquake engineering research practice, education and outreach to be adopted by the earthquake engineering community in the next 10 years. As part of the process, participants were asked to reflect on the role of the current NSF NEES facilities in meeting the research needs of the earthquake community. The participants acknowledged seven directions in earthquake engineering research where significant progress could be made by 2020:
    1. metrics to quantify resilience
    2. hazard awareness and risk communication
    3. renewal of existing structures and infrastructure
    4. new materials , elements and systems
    5. monitoring and assessing resilience
    6. simulating resilience of systems
    7. implementation and technology transfer
  • Equipment Site Policy Compliance Check (ESPCC): Upon completion of the NSF merit review process and prior to the NSF award being made, proposals recommended for funding must undergo supplementary review that will be coordinated by NEEScomm with each NEES equipment site at which experimental work is proposed. The intent of this “Equipment Site Policies Compliance Check (ESPCC)” process is to assure that staff of the NEES Equipment Site(s) identified in a proposal have a clear understanding of the anticipated scope of work, are well positioned to deliver the experimental services that are expected, and that any potential concerns regarding equipment capabilities, safety, schedule, or budget are identified and clarified up front in the planning stage of the research. This form should be completed and returned via email to NEEScomm Director of Site Operations This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
  • NEEShub Workshop at January’s CMMI Meeting

    “(NEES) Platform for Cyber Collaboration,” a workshop on NEEShub usage, will be presented by NEEScomm during the January 4, 2011 NSF Civil, Mechanical & Manufacturing Innovation (CMMI) meeting in Atlanta, GA. The “(NEES) Platform for Cyber Collaboration” workshop will feature presentations by Dr. Ellen Rathje, University of Texas, Austin; Dr. Santiago Pujol, Purdue University; and Dr. Michael J. McLennan, Purdue University.
      • Dr. Rathje will present “The ABCs” part of the workshop, which is intended to introduce researchers and educators to the NEEShub, and its features for data management, research collaboration, and educational resources. The NEEShub may be used by any researcher or educator and accounts are free.



      • Dr. Pujol will present the second part of the workshop, "Project Warehouse," which describes in more detail the NEES repository of data about earthquake engineering called The Project Warehouse. Web-based tools that can be used to visualize and understand the data in the repository are showcased.


      • Dr. McLennan will present the final part of the workshop, “Using and Contributing Tools.” This session will cover significant aspects of tools and other resources available in the NEEShub.


        If you are interested in registering for the NEES workshop, please click here to do so.


    NEEShub Workshop

    NEES Beyond 2014

    NEES will complete ten years of National Science Foundation (NSF) support for operations and research at the end of fiscal year (FY) 2014. Through NSF support, NEES was constructed as a Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction (MREFC) project during 2000-2004. Upon completion of construction, NEES opened as a multi-user research infrastructure, for a planned ten-year period of NSF-supported research and operations, on October 1, 2004. To assist with future planning of earthquake engineering research infrastructure beyond 2014, NSF has provided support for two studies that will assess future research and research infrastructure needs for earthquake engineering [US NSF - Dear Colleague Letter on Plans for the Future of Earthquake Engineering Research Infrastructure Support beyond 2014 (nsf10-071)]. This letter provides information on the plans for these two studies and encourages you to provide input and participate in the studies.

    In response to this letter, NEEScomm has established the Task Force- NEES beyond 2014. In the immediate future, the Task Force (TF) will advise on how to best prepare to provide input and participate in these studies. In the longer term, it will advise NEEScomm and NEES on the best strategies regarding the sustainability of the network beyond 2014. The membership includes six members of the NEES Equipment Site Forum: Tarek Abdoun (nees@rpi), Carol Shield (nees@umn), Ian Buckle (nees@unr), Andrew Whittaker (nees@buffalo), Ken Stokoe (nees@utexas), and Jamie Stiedl (nees@ucsb); three members of the NEES Users Forum: John Van de Lindt (University of Alabama), Gustavo Parra-Montesinos (University of Michigan), and Jay Berger (EERI); and Bill Holmes (Rutherford and Chekene), Chris Poland (Degenkolb Engineers), Tom O’Rourke (Cornell University) and Julio Ramirez (NEEScomm Center Director). A subset of the Task Force held an organizational meeting during the NEES/PEER joint annual meeting last October. A second meeting of the Task Force will be scheduled this month.

    We will try our best to keep you informed of any developments in this area. At this time, NEEScomm has had initial talks with Dr. Brian Zuckerman leader of the NSF-sponsored study by the Science and Technology Policy Institute/IDA (STPI/IDA), one of the two studies mentioned in the Dear Colleague Letter. STPI/IDA is presently finalizing with NSF the terms of reference for the study. The other study mentioned in the same letter, an NRC Workshop on Grand Challenges in Earthquake Engineering Research, is also on the planning stages.

    Congratulations to NEES Researchers on winning the ASTM Hogentogler Award

    Dr. Brady R. Cox
    Dr. Brady R. Cox of the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, and Dr. Kenneth H. Stokoe and Dr. Ellen M. Rathje, both from the University of Texas, Austin. The Hogentogler Award is presented annually to the authors of a paper of outstanding merit on soil or rock for engineering purposes that is published by the Society. The paper, “An In Situ Test Method for Evaluating the Coupled Pore Pressure Generation and Nonlinear Shear Modulus Behavior of Liquefiable Soils” was published in the Geotechnical Testing Journal in January 2009 (Vol. 32, Issue 1; published online September 2008). “The project, “Field Evaluation of Liquefaction Resistance at Previous Liquefaction Sites in Southern California” (grant award #04HQGR0073), was funded by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and operated in collaboration with NEES as a shared-use project. Research support was provided by NEES facilities at the University of Texas, Austin and the University of California, Santa Barbara. This is a prime example of the unique and valuable benefit that NEES provides researchers through the network’s state-of-the-art, shared-use facilities.


    As part of the NEES TIPS project (NEESR-SG: TIPS – Tools to Facilitate Widespread Use of Isolation and Protective Systems, A NEES/E-Defense Collaboration, PI Keri Ryan, Utah State University, NSF Award Number 0724208), earthquake simulator testing is underway at NEES@UB to assess the performance limit states of seismically isolated buildings under strong ground motions. The experimental program includes component testing of elastomeric bearings to characterize their stability and system level shakes table experiments to examine limits states of isolated building systems under extreme ground shaking. The limit states under investigation include pounding against a moat wall, instability of elastomeric bearings and yielding of the superstructure. These series of experiments will provide a comprehensive data set to better understand how seismically isolated buildings perform under earthquake exceeding their design capacity and desirable limit states. For additional information on the NEEStips tests please visit NEES@UB. image
    Fixed-Base IMRF Test Conducted at the NEES@Buffalo Site


    Earthquake Symposium 2010


    On December 1, NEES@UCLA hosted “Imminent Danger: Earthquake Disaster and Risk Reduction in U.S. Cities”, Earthquake Symposium 2010, in Los Angeles, CA. Experts from academia, government and the private sector covered key topics including: Haiti, Chile and LA: An Experience in Contrasts; Assessing the Risks of Seismic Activity in Los Angeles; Risk Engineering, A Solution to Managing Earthquake Disaster; and Increasing Los Angeles’ Earthquake Resilience. The event was open to students, architects, engineers, contractors, government officials and members of the public concerned about seismic vulnerability. NEES@UCLA researchers involved in panel discussions include Dr. John Wallace, PI, and Dr. Robert Nigbor, site operations manager. Nigbor participated in a panel discussion of the LAX Theme Building as a case study in high performance earthquake engineering seismic risk reduction. Wallace served on a panel consideration on how best to encourage increasing LA's earthquake resilience. Other sponsors included Miyamato Earthquake Structural Engineers, Tower General Contractors, AIA Los Angeles, Taylor Devices, Inc., Unbonded Brace, Woodworks, and Simpson Strong-Tie.


    NEES@Oregon Tsunami Structure Challenge for Undergraduate Engineers


    Tsunami Structure Challenge participants watch their models withstand -- or not-- a simulated tsunami wave.
    The O.H. Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory at Oregon State University held the Tsunami Structure Challenge laboratory experience November 8-12 for 250 first-year civil and construction engineering students. Initially developed for undergraduate engineering students, the Challenge is offered to all age groups and features construction of a shelter (using wood pieces) capable of withstanding tsunami waves, including one that would be generated by a magnitude 9 earthquake from the nearby Cascadia Subduction Zone. Teams of three-five students designed, built and tested the ability of small structures to withstand three tsunami wave conditions in the Large Wave Flume. The young engineers found the experience exciting and interesting as they learned about tsunami and earthquake engineering testing.

    REU 2011

    The selection committee recently identified the following Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) host sites for summer 2011 to accommodate 17 students: UNR, UCSB, UIUC, OSU, Lehigh, and UCLA . NEES encourages outstanding undergraduate engineering students to apply for this renowned educational opportunity, so please pass the word. Application details are forthcoming on Application review begins March 1, the ten-week REU program begins between May 30-June 19 depending on site, with orientation held mid-June. The program ends August 4-23. The Young Researcher Symposium, at which the students present research posters, will be held in mid-August. NEESR researchers who are applying to NSF for REU supplements on their NEESR projects but would like to have their students also participate in the NEEScomm REU program activities should apply by clicking here. image
    REU 2010 students build model.

    Educational Webinar Series Begins January 2011

    Six story building atop E-Defense shake table.
    NEES and the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) jointly are producing an engineering webinar series, Reducing Earthquake Losses: From Research to Practice. Webinar topics, which are geared for both engineering practitioners and researchers, will feature the outcomes of NEES research projects and highlight the significance of the results for improved engineering design and construction.

    The first webinar of the series, Performance-Based Seismic Design of Mid-Rise Light-Frame Wood Buildings, will be offered Friday, January 14, 2011 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. PDT. The program summarizes key findings of the ground-breaking NEESWood project, suggests design approaches, and discusses forthcoming code implications. Presenters NEESWood Principal Investigator John W. van de Lindt and Steve Pryor, International Director of Building Systems, Simpson Strong-Tie, will provide a brief overview, describe the major tests on two and six-story full-scale buildings, and explain the SAPWood modeling software. Details are forthcoming.


    Information Technology Updates


    The NEEScomm IT team has been working on an incremental release for two tools that update Project Warehouse data, PEN (Project Editor for NEES) and the Project Editor. The enhancements are focused around improved ease of use, improved performance, and new features. The incremental release is in final stages of testing and should be available in production by mid-December. In addition, work has continued toward defining NEEShub Release 2. Functionality that has already been slated for the release includes delete capability for PEN and the Projected Editor, an improved Quarterly reporting process for Equipment Sites, and improvements to sensor upload/management.

    NEEShub users are forewarned as you may encounter a request to reset their NEEShub password in the near future. The password reset is configured to occur every 120 days. This action is based on password standards as defined by Purdue. Users who encounter any difficulties with the password reset should initiate a support ticket by clicking the Support link in the blue menu bar at the very right.

    Thank you,


    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
    Director, NEES Operations
    Purdue University