Dr John Douglas


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Personal statement

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. within seismic hazard assessments for high-value infrastructure. My teaching and administrative responsibilities include being departmental exchange coordinator.

Please visit the Expertise tab for a summary of my professional experience (including a list of recent activities), the Research tab, the Teaching tab and the Publications tab to obtain more details. A recent presentation on my research is available for view here and some introductory slides are available for download from figshare. My contribution to a panel discussion on the impact of induced seismicity for the insurance industry can be viewed here. A recent open-access article on ground motions from large earthquakes is available for free download here.

Please feel free to contact me if you are interested in research or knowledge exchange (e.g. consultancy) collaborations. I am particularly interested to hear from fully-funded students interested in doing a PhD under my supervision. Please consult this page concerning applications ("How can I apply?" tab) and fees ("Fees & funding tab).



Has expertise in:

Prizes and awards

Young Researcher Prize (Prix du Jeune Chercheur)

more prizes and awards


Peak ground accelerations from large (M≥7.2) shallow crustal earthquakes : a comparison with predictions from eight recent ground-motion models
Douglas John, Boore David M.
Bulletin of Earthquake Engineering, (2017)
Inferring earthquake ground motion fields with Bayesian Networks
Gehl Pierre, Douglas John, D'Ayala Dina
Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, (2017)
Examining the assumption of homogeneous horizontal layers within seismic site response analysis
Volpini Carolina, Douglas John
3rd International Conference on Performance-based Design in Earthquake Geotechnical Engineering, (2017)
Using targeted risk in seismic design codes : a summary of the state of the art and outstanding issues
Douglas John, Gkimprixis Athanasios
6th National Conference on Earthquake Engineering and 2nd National Conference on Earthquake Engineering and Seismology, pp. 3-10, (2017)
Stress accumulation in the Marmara Sea estimated through ground-motion simulations from dynamic rupture scenarios
Aochi Hideo, Douglas John, Ulrich Thomas
Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth Vol 122, pp. 2219–2235, (2017)
Recent and future developments in earthquake ground motion estimation
Douglas John, Edwards Benjamin
Earth-Science Reviews Vol 160, pp. 203–219, (2016)

more publications


Departmental exchange (Erasmus and international) advisor

CL329/CL332 Engineering Mathematics (Statistics), Year 3, 10 credits/5 ECTS, Semester 2 (sole lecturer)

CL986/CL939 Qualitative And Quantitative Research Methods, MSc., 10 credits/5 ECTS, Semester 1 (contributing lecturer)

CL448 Individual Project, Year 4, 20 credits/10 ECTS, Semesters 1 and 2 (project advisor)

Research interests

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 lower the vulnerability and exposure of the building stock. My research aims to improve earthquake risk evaluation for engineering purposes, in particular through the reduction of uncertainties in seismic hazard assessments. It is important that the hazard is 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.

At Strathclyde I am particularly interested in problems related to hazard and risk assessments for the power and energy sector. For example, high-importance power facilities such as nuclear power plants must consider the impact of earthquakes. Another research focus is induced seismicity from projects in the geothermal and shale 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.

Professional activities

16th European Conference on Earthquake Engineering
Member of programme committee
16th European Conference on Earthquake Engineering
Invited speaker
Invited talk on "Current practice on the use of empirical ground motion prediction models for seismic hazard assessment in nuclear installations" (exact title not yet decided)
Discussion of strong ground motion prediction equations for seismic hazard analysis
Journal of Bridge Engineering (Journal)
Peer reviewer
Icelandic Research Fund (External organisation)

more professional activities


Consultancy for Fircroft
Douglas, John (Principal Investigator)
Reviewer of the ground-motion prediction part of the Groningen induced seismicity risk assessment
Period 06-Jul-2015 - 28-Oct-2015

more projects


Civil and Environmental Engineering
James Weir Building

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