The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering the University of Strathclyde is
seeking high-quality applicants for an exciting PhD project to improve seismic hazard
assessments for civil engineering purposes.
Power and energy projects, such as nuclear power plants and waste repositories and largescale
hydroelectric schemes, require seismic hazard assessments to be conducted as part of
the regulatory process, even in low-seismicity areas such as the UK. The purpose of these
assessments is to estimate the probabilities that various levels of earthquake ground shaking
will be surpassed during a given period (e.g. the life-time of the structure). Because of the
rarity of earthquake ground motions of engineering significance near to any location, seismic
hazard assessments are associated with considerable uncertainty, which can lead to long and
costly projects. This topic is of particular concern following the disastrous events at the
Fukushima nuclear power plant caused by the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami, whose
occurrence was not considered in its design.
The aim of this project is to better understand the sources of this uncertainty within seismic
hazard assessments, in particularly those related to the estimation of strong ground motions at
a given site from a particular earthquake. The project will investigate how this uncertainty
can be measured, captured and checked to see that it is appropriate given the level of
knowledge for a particular region. The project will consist of analyses of large databases of
earthquake data, principally strong-motion records and their associated parameters, as well as
statistical investigations of previously published seismic hazard assessments and their
components (e.g. ground-motion models). The overall aim of the project will be to develop
an improved framework to capture epistemic uncertainty in seismic hazard assessments.
It is planned that this research will be conducted in collaboration with UK industrial partners
with practical experience in this field and with Prof. Jack Baker's group at Stanford
University (USA). There is also scope for working with other UK and overseas engineering
seismology groups within this project.
Candidates should hold an upper second class or first class Honours Degree from a UK
institution (or overseas equivalent) in civil engineering, geophysics, statistics or a related
discipline. Prior knowledge or experience in engineering seismology or seismic hazard or risk
assessment would be advantageous but not essential. You should be enthusiastic, with good
interpersonal and communication skills.
This studentship is funded by the EPSRC and, as such, has strict eligibility criteria. For EU
students the studentship covers fees plus an annual stipend of £14,057 per annum (paid
monthly, tax-free) for 3.5 years. Other applicants should check their eligibility for funding
prior to applying (http://www.strath.ac.uk/pgrfunding/eligibility/).
If you are interested in this position, please email a CV and covering letter to:
. Please title your email "Seismic hazard assessment PhD".
The closing date for this position is 12 noon on 30 September 2015. The expected start date
for this position is September/October 2015.