Earthquake Engineering Center Changes Name to Emphasize Nature of Its Work

Release Date: May 1, 1998

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The National Center for Earthquake Engineering Research (NCEER), headquartered at the University at Buffalo, has been renamed the Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research, a national center of excellence in advanced technology applications.

The change has been approved by UB President William R. Greiner and the National Science Foundation (NSF), which is the center's founding sponsor.

The change in name also will affect the center's Information Service, which will now be called the Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research Information Service.

"This new name," said George C. Lee, Ph.D., Samuel P. Capen Professor of Engineering at UB and director of the center, "emphasizes what we feel is the key to our success -- past, present and future -- the integration of diverse disciplines to solve engineering and societal problems caused by earthquakes."

Lee noted that the center is credited with making pioneering efforts in organizing and empowering multidisciplinary teams to address earthquake engineering problems, and with developing and adapting advanced technologies to reduce earthquake losses.

"In the months and years ahead, the center seeks to increase multidisciplinary participation by further engaging manufacturers, practitioners and government officials to assist in the research and application processes," he added. "Our hope is that the new name will help encourage this collaboration."

Lee added that the new name and logo will be phased in over the next few months.

The need for a change in name became apparent last fall when NSF expanded its national earthquake research program by establishing two new earthquake engineering research centers in addition to the one at UB. The new centers are the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center, headquartered at the University of California at Berkeley, and the Mid-America Earthquake Center, headquartered at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Lee noted that since its inception in 1986, NCEER has been successful in integrating researchers from numerous disciplines, including civil, mechanical, electrical and computer engineering, as well as seismology, architecture, regional planning, sociology, economics, and policy and decision sciences.

"Their combined knowledge produces a research team that is well prepared for the challenge of developing sound engineering and disaster-management solutions that are both economically feasible and socially acceptable," he said.

"We have never been interested in just solving an equation or studying the dynamic behavior of a beam," Lee added. "We want to make communities more earthquake-resistant through pre-event planning and mitigation, and post-event response. To do this, we must have multidisciplinary teams working together."

The $10 million grant the center received last fall from NSF supports a program to study the application of advanced and emerging technologies to minimize earthquake damage and losses nationwide.

The center was established by NSF at UB in September 1986, following a national competition. With support of additional major sponsors, including New York State and the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the center conducts a nationwide program of research, outreach and education to advance engineering, planning and preparedness to minimize the damaging effects that earthquakes have on buildings, infrastructure and socioeconomic systems.

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