Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: Civil Environmental and Geomatic Eng


At 3.36 am on 24th August 2016 a Mw 6.2 earthquake struck the central region of Italy, with epicentre in the Apennines range, near the village of Accumuli and with a fault rupture of 25 km. Earthquake shaking was felt as far as Rome (120 km SW), Florence (220 km NW) and Urbino (200 km N). The worst affected region has a radius of 20 km around the epicentre, including a number of towns and small villages across the regions of Umbria, Lazio and Abruzzo. The building stock of these urban centres mainly consists of historic rubble masonry structures, with a small measure of reinforced concrete construction. The performance of the former was very poor and collapse was widespread. The historic building stock of Amatrice suffered widespread destruction. Although the area is sparsely populated, the time of occurrence of the main shock and the fact that much of the tourist accommodation was nearly at full capacity led the death toll to be 295, injured 388 and left more than 2000 people homeless. This was the second most deadly earthquake in Italy since 1980.
Since 1982, the Earthquake Engineering Investigation Team (EEFIT) has organised dozens of reconnaissance missions worldwide. Involving UK academics and industrial partners, in the past these missions have been funded by EPSRC through the urgent funding request mechanism. EEFIT is a group of earthquake engineers, architects and academics who collaborate with colleagues in earthquake prone countries to improve the seismic resistance of both traditional and engineered structures.
EEFIT's principle activity is conducting field investigations following major earthquakes and reporting their findings to the engineering community.
The main objectives of EEFIT missions are:
- To carry out a detailed technical evaluation of the performance of structures, foundations, civil engineering works and industrial plant within the affected region
- To collect geological and seismographic data, including strong motion records
- To assess the effectiveness of earthquake protection methods, including repair and retrofit, and to make comparisons of the actual performance of structures with the expectations of designers
- To study disaster management procedures and socio-economic effects of the earthquake, including human casualties.
These objectives correspond and are further articulated in the objectives of this mission to the Amatrice earthquake region.Ten academics and 5 industrial partners will take part in the mission which will deploy for up to two weeks, conducting rapid and detailed damage surveys of buildings affected by the earthquake. The team will liaise with the local authority and the Italian geophisical institution to collect data on the seismological aspects of the shaking. Finally it will report to the UK and Italian communities its findings from the field trip.

Planned Impact

Early findings of the investigation will be rapidly disseminated by briefing meetings organised by EEFIT at the Institution of Structural Engineers and by articles in New Civil Engineer, The Structural Engineer and the newsletter of the Society for Earthquakes and Civil Engineering Dynamics (SECED).

The EEFIT Team has already been approached by the Bulletin of Earthquake Engineering in order to publish a journal paper on the preliminary mission observations. In particular, a report with the field observations will be posted on the web within 2 weeks of the mission. This will be followed by the submission of a more detailed journal article (in Bulletin of Earthquake Engineering) reporting the follow-up research within 2 months of the mission. The attendance of several members of the reconnaissance team to the World Conference on Earthquake Engineering (16WCEE) in Chile in January 2017, separately supported, will ensure their participation to a special session on the Amatrice Earthquake, where teams from different countries will exchange and discuss their findings.
Public dissemination will be through press, and local TV and radio reports. Further publicity will be made via UCL, UB and UM newsletters and websites.

The investigators have strong links and currently conduct collaborative research with centres of excellence worldwide, particularly in Italy (INGV; OGS; ISPRA; Univesity of Naples Federico II; University of Chieti, etc.), USA (USGS; Notre Dame University; Stanford University; UC Davis; etc.) and other universities in earthquake-prone countries, such as China, Japan, New Zealand and Chile. These collaborators will provide early dissemination through their large academic networks and seek opportunities (e.g., collaborative grants) for future research building on the successful outcomes of the mission.

There are a number of international organisation collecting data from earthquakes, similarly to EEFIT. By funding this grant, UK researchers will collaborate with a number of international organisations, such as EERI, World Bank, GEM, who are developing international protocols and new data collection technologies. Direct participation in this event will ensure that the UK is not left out of this process and benefits will filter down to all earthquake engineers and researchers.

Through project partners Arup and Ramboll, we have direct involvement from the seismic engineering community and the retrofitting industry. These carefully selected partners have a history of working with EEFIT for the past many years, ensuring findings are spread into industry. The involvement of AIR Worldwide and Sellafield ensures the support to the mission of the risk modelling industry. This ensures that knowledge is spread to the insurance and re-insurance industry and the city of London. The funding will be disseminated through specific sector activities.

The investigators are also actively involved in teaching on several aspects of the mission (e.g., the MSc in Earthquake Engineering with Disaster Management - run by UCL-EPICentre, directed by CG and taught also by DDA; , the MSc in Risk, Disaster and Resilience, directed by JFW, and the MSc in Risk and Disaster Science - both run by UCL-IRDR and with strong involvement of JFW, DA and CG), carrying out research-driven teaching and learning for a world-class, cutting-edge, education in science and engineering.

The investigators have strong communication and management skills through previous involvement in large collaborative research projects, scholarships, interaction with industrial partners, and seminars in academic institutions worldwide. Therefore, they are capable of carrying out the aforementioned dissemination activities.

The PhD students involved in the mission will participate in dissemination as an essential part of their professional development, giving presentations in conferences, and contribute to the preparation of publications.
Description EEFIT 
Organisation Manchester University
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution EEFIT mission
Collaborator Contribution EEFIT mission
Impact Mission report
Start Year 2016
Description EEFIT 
Organisation University of Bristol
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution participated in the eefit mission
Collaborator Contribution participated in the eefit mission
Impact EEFIT report
Start Year 2016