Welcome to my university webpages.
I am a Chancellor’s Fellow (Lecturer) in the Centre for Intelligent Infrastructure within the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. My principal research interests are improving hazard and risk evaluations for natural perils, in particular earthquakes (engineering seismology and earthquake engineering). Through various knowledge exchange activities (including consultancies) I seek to apply my skills in practice, e.g. as an expert within seismic hazard assessments for high-value infrastructure. My teaching and administrative responsibilities include being departmental exchange coordinator.
I completed my PhD in engineering seismology in 2001 at Imperial College London, following a BSc. Hons (first class) in Mathematics also at Imperial College London. Following two years as a post-doctoral researcher at Imperial, I was a senior engineering seismologist at BRGM (French Geological Survey) from 2004 until 2015 during which time I was involved in research, public service and commercial projects in many aspects of risk evaluation for various natural perils. From 2009 to 2014 I was a visiting professor at the Earthquake Engineering Research Centre, University of Iceland.
Please visit the Expertise tab for a list of my research interests and the Research tab, the Teaching tab and the Publications tab to obtain more details. An summary on the importance of my research for earthquake risk reduction can be read on Science Trends, a recent presentation on my research is available for view here and some introductory slides are available for free download from figshare. A recent open-access article on site response analyses for "non-stantard" sites is available for free download here.
Please feel free to contact me if you are interested in research or knowledge exchange (e.g. consultancy or Knowledge Exchange Partnerships) collaborations. I am particularly interested to hear from fully-funded students interested in doing a PhD under my supervision and PhD holders looking to apply for post-doctoral fellowships (e.g. Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowships , Newton International Fellowships or Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellowships). Before contacting me about PhDs please consult this page concerning applications ("How can I apply?" tab) and fees ("Fees & funding tab). Information on potential scholarships is available on this page (select "Postgraduate Research" in the "Level of study" drop-down menu).
Has expertise in:
- Engineering seismology
- Earthquake ground motion prediction (e.g. Douglas and Edwards, 2016)
- Seismic hazard assessment, especially site-specific studies (e.g. Douglas et al., 2014)
- Local site effects, especially for rock sites (e.g. Douglas et al., 2009)
- Estimating site response (e.g. Volpini and Douglas, 2019)
- Site classification using proxies (e.g. Lemoine et al., 2012)
- Using macroseismic intensities (e.g. Rey et al., 2018)
- Ground motions from induced seismicity (e.g. Douglas et al., 2013)
- Prediction of ground-motion fields (e.g. Gehl et al., 2017)
- Using ground-motion simulations (e.g. Douglas and Aochi, 2016)
- Spatial correlation (e.g. Ioannou et al., 2015)
- Strong-motion databases (e.g. Akkar et al., 2014)
- Earthquake engineering
- Multi-hazard risk assessments (e.g. Douglas, 2007)
Prizes and awards
- Young Researcher Prize (Prix du Jeune Chercheur)
more prizes and awards
1998 BSc. Hons Mathematics with Applied Maths/Mathematical Physics, University of London (Imperial College), First Class.
2001 Ph.D. Civil and Environmental Engineering (Engineering Seismology), University of London (Imperial College). Thesis available here. (Supervisor: Prof. N. N. Ambraseys)
2010 Habilitation à diriger des recherches (accreditation to supervise research) Earth Sciences (Seismology), University of Grenoble, France. Report available here.
2018 Postgraduate Diploma Leaning and Teaching in Higher Education, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow.
Departmental exchange (Erasmus and international) advisor
CL329/CL332 Engineering Mathematics (Statistics), Year 3, 10 credits/5 ECTS, Semester 2 (sole lecturer)
CL931/CL986/CL939 Qualitative And Quantitative Research Methods, MSc., 10 credits/5 ECTS, Semester 1 (contributing lecturer)
CL448 Individual Project, Year 4, 30 credits/15 ECTS, Semesters 1 and 2 (project advisor)
CL516 MEng Dissertation, 20 credits/10 ECTS, Semesters 1 and 2 (project advisor)
CL944/CL980 MSc dissertation, 60 credits/30 ECTS, Summer period (project advisor)
To evaluate the potential impact of a natural peril (e.g. an earthquake) it is necessary to consider the following three aspects:
- hazard (e.g. how the ground shakes during an earthquake);
- vulnerability (e.g. how a building responds to this shaking); and
- exposure (e.g. how many of these buildings are in the zone of interest).
The combination of these three factors provides an estimate of the risk, which expresses the chance that a certain undesirable event (e.g. building collapse) may occur. It is important to distinguish between the hazard, which cannot be altered, and the risk, which can be reduced (mitigated) by lowering the vulnerability and exposure of the building stock as well as increasing the resilience of the community.
My research aims to improve earthquake risk evaluation for engineering purposes, in particular through the characterisation and, ideally, reduction of uncertainties in seismic hazard assessments. It is important that the hazard be neither over- nor under-estimated. Examples of the latter are dramatically displayed by damage to buildings that were constructed in accordance with the expected ground motion in the region. An over-estimated hazard leads to higher construction costs for seismic resistance, which consumes resources that could be better spent tackling other problems.
My research addresses various UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular SDG 9 'Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation' and SDG 11 'Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable', as well as the challenges highlighted in the UK Strategy for the Global Challenges Research Fund, in particular 'resilience and action on short-term environmental shocks and long-term environmental change' and 'sustainable cities and communities'. I wrote a crowdsourced brief on these topics in 2015.
I am particularly interested in problems related to hazard and risk assessments for the energy sector. For example, high-importance power facilities such as nuclear power plants must consider the impact of earthquakes (e.g. recent consultancy concerning Hinkley Point C, also see this journal article on the overall approach and this one for details). Another research focus is induced seismicity from projects in the geothermal and oil and gas sectors.
As an engineering seismologist, one of my main interests is improving ground-motion prediction, i.e. providing better models of the shaking to expect at a site given a particular earthquake at a certain distance. Such models are a basis of seismic hazard assessment. I maintain a compendium of published models, which now number many hundreds. A recent article on capturing epistemic uncertainties within ground-motion models has recently been published in association with my Theme Lecture at the 16th European Conference on Earthquake Engineering in June 2018.
- XVIII ANIDIS Conference
- XVIII ANIDIS Conference
- Member of programme committee
- SECED 2019 Conference
- Member of programme committee
- Member of Examination Committee for PhD of Sebastian Specht
- External Examiner
- ISET Journal of Earthquake Technology (Journal)
- Peer reviewer
- External examiner (opponent) for the PhD viva of Tim Sonneman
- External Examiner
more professional activities
- Towards more Earthquake-resilient Urban Societies through a Multi-sensor-based Information System enabling Earthquake Forecasting, Early Warning and Rapid Response Systems (TURNKEY)
- Douglas, John (Principal Investigator) Perry, Marcus (Co-investigator) Tubaldi, Enrico (Co-investigator) Zonta, Daniele (Co-investigator)
- 01-Jan-2019 - 31-Jan-2022
- Consultancy for Fircroft
- Douglas, John (Principal Investigator)
- Reviewer of the ground-motion prediction part of the Groningen induced seismicity risk assessment
- 06-Jan-2015 - 28-Jan-2015
Civil and Environmental Engineering
James Weir Building
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