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

NEES Update

July 2011




NEES beyond 2014

The National Science Foundation is seeking input from you (the community) on the future direction of NSF investments in earthquake engineering. This issue of the NEES Update is focused on activities and developments related to the study being conducted by the Science and Technology Policy Institute/IDA (STPI), one of the two studies mentioned in the Dear Colleague Letter and how you can provide your input.

At the end of FY 2014, the National Science Foundation (NSF) will have completed ten years of support for the operations of the George E. Brown, Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES). As NSF plans for the future of earthquake engineering research infrastructure beyond 2014, two studies have been undertaken to better understand the future of research and research infrastructure (experimental and cyberinfrastructure) needs in earthquake engineering. Details regarding the studies can be found in the NSF issued Dear Colleague Letter:

The Dear Colleague Letter provides information on the plans for the two studies and encourages you to provide input and participate in the studies.

I. STPI Community Forum

NSF has tasked STPI to gather feedback from the community regarding:

  • earthquake engineering grand challenges,
  • networked research infrastructure needs, and
  • community data standards

As a part of this process, STPI has developed a community forum to gather your input and opinions. This feedback will be provided to NSF anonymously to help the foundation think strategically about the future of earthquake engineering research infrastructure beyond 2014.

The survey is ready. Please participate in this important process. To provide input, go to:

II. NEES Self-Study Report

STPI requested that the current manager of NEES operations, NEEScomm, prepare a retrospective self-study report on the successes and lessons learned managing the NEES network and IT infrastructure. NEEScomm submitted the report to STPI and its Expert Panel on July 1, 2011. Four members of the NEEScomm team, Marc Eberhard (University of Washington), Ellen Rathje (University of Texas, Austin, Tom Hacker (Purdue University) and Julio Ramirez (Purdue University) briefed the panel on the report on July 12 at a meeting held in San Diego, California. Prior to the meeting STPI provided NEEScomm with a list of items defining the scope of the inquiry.

For a full copy of the Self-Study report please go to: The report contains detailed information on:

  1. NEES Facilities Utilization
  2. Research Results
  3. Data and Tools
  4. Other Topics
  5. Value of the Network and
  6. Lessons Learned

NEES Student participation

Among the many highlights of your activities that NEES described in the report you will find information on the 337 projects utilizing the NEES facilities from FY 2002-2010. The NEES legacy is strongly linked to the large number of investigators who received their PhDs through work on NEES research. Additionally, there have been many other M.S. graduatesand undergraduateswho have been trained through NEES, as well as postdoctoral and other international researchers. NEEScomm polled NEES equipment sites and NEESR PIs to identify graduate students who have participated in NEES research. These figures summarize the results from the collected information.

NEES Student participation

559 students have been identified as trained through NEES and of those, 191 have received PhDs. Of the PhDs reported, 71% have continued in academic endeavors (e.g., post-doctoral researchers, instructors or professors), with the remaining 29% joining the practitioner workforce. Of the MS students identified, 55% have continued as PhD students and 45% have joined the practitioner workforce. Currently, 70 PhDs and 13 MS students are involved in research at NEES. We are presently putting measures in place to track the career paths of undergraduate students. Although these data are not complete, we have identified 144 undergraduate students who participated in the NEES-sponsored Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program between 2006 and 2011.

The Self-Study report also provides information on the impact of research, education, and other activities through the number of publications resulting from the work of the NEES community. As of the beginning of June 2011, a total 1,521 publications were available regarding the activities of NEES.

The citations for these publications are listed on the NEEShub (

The figure shows the distribution by year of refereed journal publications (Journals) and other publications such as reports, conference proceedings, etc. (Other).

Publications resulting from NEES work

The report also provides specific responses to the STPI requests for information about NEES data and tools. To measure trends over time related to the use of the data and cyberinfrastructure, we used historical data collected by NEESit at the San Diego Supercomputer Center from 2006 to 2009 and data from NEEScomm at Purdue University from 2009 to present.

The figure below shows the total number of NEES project files from NEES research projects stored in the NEEScentral system (until July 2010) and the NEEShub Project Warehouse (July 2010 to present). The total number of files stored within the Project Warehouse has increased significantly over time, and is now over 900,000 files. The increased rate of created files is a function of many research projects reaching completion over the last few years and the amazing culture shift that is occurring in NEES regarding data and collaboration.

Cumulative number of NEES project experiment files contained within NEEScentral and NEEShub from April 2006 to April 30, 2011

III. Survey of principal investigators on NSF-funded earthquake engineering awards


Another component of the STPI study consists of a survey of principal investigators on NSF-funded earthquake engineering awards. The purpose of the survey is to assess the experiences and opinions of principal investigators on NSF-funded earthquake engineering awards. If you are an investigator who has been contacted by STPI to participate in the survey, please participate in this important process!

The information you provide will be kept confidential by STPI except as required by law, and responses will only be reported in an aggregated form. We understand that you are very busy and greatly appreciate your taking the time to participate in this important evaluation that may shape the future support for earthquake engineering research.

Survey responses will be accepted until Friday, August 5, 2011.

For additional information about the STPI study or the survey, or with questions or concerns about the survey, please contact STPI Project Director Brian Zuckerman at (202) 419-5485.

If you have questions that you would like to address to NSF, please contact Dr. Joy M. Pauschke (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

Thank you,





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