Tag Archives: awards

New Zealand Geotechnical Society Geomechanics Award

Congratulations to Chris McGann for recently being awarded the New Zealand Geotechnical Society Geomechanics Award. He led a paper “Development of an empirical correlation for predicting shear wave velocity of Christchurch soils from cone penetration test data,” (published in Soil Dynamics & Earthquake Engineering, 75, 66-75, 2015) . The paper was authored with Brendon A. Bradley (University of Canterbury); Merrick L. Taylor (Arup); Liam M. Wotherspoon (University of Auckland); and Misko Cubrinovski (University of Canterbury).

We decided to dig deeper and while we felt we had experienced a fair amount of soil looseness since 2011, decided  to start with a more scientific understanding the importance of ‘soil stiffness’. 

Why is understanding ‘soil stiffness’ important when it comes to understanding how the earth shakes and moves.

The magnitude and distribution of stiffness in the soil profile below a site plays a critical role in how earthquake ground motions coming from the underlying bedrock are amplified or de-amplified at the ground surface. In terms of magnitude, softer soils will tend to amplify lower frequency parts of the motion, while stiffer soils will amplify higher frequencies. In terms of distribution, the presence of large abrupt changes in stiffness between layers will also strongly influence the site effects. The shear wave velocity profile of a site provides the information necessary to account for these site specific effects in engineering analysis as shear wave velocity is directly proportional to small strain shear stiffness.

There’s an unprecedented dataset in the Christchurch region and this is a low-cost experimental method – in what way is this important globally? Who would be interested in this, and in what parts of the world?

The correlation between cone penetration test (CPT) data and shear wave velocity developed in this work combined with the unprecedentedly large and spatially dense CPT data set made available through the New Zealand Geotechnical Database project enables an assessment of the spatial variability of shear wave velocity across the region that hasn’t ever been possible before at this scale and resolution anywhere in the world. Establishing a sensible way to account for the inherent variability of soils in engineering analysis is an important topic of research, and researchers all over the world are interested in the insights that the Christchurch dataset can provide.

Can you describe a place/context out in the field in the Christchurch region which demonstrates your work in a practical way?

The two strong motion stations in Lyttelton provide a textbook example of the importance of local site effects. One station is sited on rock, while the other is sited on soft soils. The ground motions from the February 2011 earthquake recorded at these sites are dramatically different, with the softer site showing a large amplification at lower frequencies relative to the rock site. Because the position and distance of these stations relative to the earthquake source are essentially identical, any differences in the recorded ground motions can be attributed to site effects and the dramatic differences observed for the February event highlight the importance of the soil stiffness in the surficial ground motions.

Staff of the Year Award 2018

The Staff of the Year Award 2018 nomination/voting ended last Friday at 5pm.  A total of 672 students participated in this year’s voting!

The top nominees of each category are (in alphabetical order):

Lecturer of the Year – Arts:

  • Dr Michael-John Turp
  • Dr Masayoshi Ogino
  • Dr Antonio Viselli

Lecturer of the Year – Business & Law:

  • Dr Steve Agnew
  • Dr Herb de Vries
  • Simon Dorset

Lecturer of the Year – Education:

  • Nicki Dabner
  • Jean Kim
  • Dr David Pomeroy
  • Dr Valerie Sotardi

Lecturer of the Year – Engineering:

  • Phillipa Gourdie
  • Professor Alessandro Palermo
  • Associate Professor Alan Wood

Lecturer of the Year – Science:

  • Associate Professor Ashley Garrill
  • Dr Pieter Pelser
  • Professor Ian Shaw

Supervisor of the Year:

  • Dr Angela Curl (Geography)
  • Jean Kim (Education)
  • Professor Ian Shaw (Science)

Administrator of the Year:

  • Sarah Brown (Fine Arts)
  • Heather Couch (Business & Law)
  • Phillipa Gourdie (Mathematics)

Technical Staff of the Year:

  • Cliff Franklin (Science)
  • Craig Galilee (Science)
  • Julian Murphy (Mechanical Engineering)

Superstar of the Year:

  • Simon Dorset (Law)
  • Janina Good (Student Experience)
  • Phillipa Gourdie (Science)

Great Character of the Year Award:

  • Dr Steve Agnew (Business & Law)           
  • Dr Herb de Vries (Business & Law)
  • Professor Alessandro Palermo (Engineering)
  • Professor Ian Shaw (Science)

Make Your Own Award (Titles of awards will be revealed on the night):

  • Dr Steve Agnew (Business & Law)
  • Dr Ann Brower (Geography)
  • Dr Philip Gunby (Business & Law)
  • Sergio Redondo (Arts)
  • Liz Waugh (Psychology)

Now that the students have nominated (and voted), please join us at the Staff of the Year Awards 2018 event to celebrate those who have been nominated.

Friday 28 September at 6:30pm

Location: The UCSA Event Centre (Foundry)

Dress code: Smart Casual.

There are limited tickets available for UC staff members not on the nomination list, offered on a first come first serve basis.

Ticket includes a glass of sparkling wine on arrival, nibbles and cash bar. 

Nominees, please reserve your free tickets for yourself and 1 guest by Tuesday 25 September, via email at events@ucsa.org.nz

We have also released 50 General Admission tickets – these are on a first come first serve basis.  Please reserve these your free ticket at ucsasoty2018.eventbrite.co.nz





Ekant Veer awarded Sustained Excellence in Tertiary Teaching award

Associate Professor Ekant Veer of the Department of Management, Marketing and Entrepreneurship  received a Sustained Excellence award from Ako Aotearoa National Centre for Tertiary Teaching Excellence in a ceremony at Parliament this week.

Presented by Hon Chris Hipkins, the Minister of Tertiary Education, 10 Sustained Excellence awards were presented, including two under the Kaupapa Māori category.  All Sustained Excellence winners receive $20,000 and a certificate.

This follows his being awarded the UC Teaching medal last year>
earlier this year he was named among the world’s top 40 business professors under 40>

More about the Tertiary Teaching Excellence Awards>

You control social media or social media controls you

Kseniia Zahrai (Management, Marketing & Entrepreneurship)

Recently Kseniia Zahrai came third place in the UC finals of Thesis in Three.  She shares great inspiration on the definition of being a winner.

  1. What was it about Thesis in Three that encouraged you to enter?
    I was attracted by an opportunity to draw more attention to the marketing research area. It is a challenging task to explore human behaviour as its prediction and generalisation of findings is more complex than in other disciplines. Meanwhile, understanding our behaviour today will help us to shape the future. New technologies are changing the way we think, feel and live our lives. I believe it is important for research areas to join efforts and understand our today life better.
  2. What was the best and/or most challenging aspect/s of Thesis in Three? 
    Preparing for any talk, first of all, is considering the audience. The most challenging part of Thesis in Three is to present the research not only as an academic piece of work but also as a story that can connect it with the lives of ordinary people. If you do it well, the audience will want to know more. If people are asking questions about your study when the talk is over – you are the winner already. 
  3. What would you say to an everyday person if they asked you why your research was important in the ‘real world’? Can you say it in 30 words or less?
    Social media impacts the daily life of half of the world’s population already, while we need to understand the consequences on the go. Either you control social media or social media controls you.

Innovation Jumpstart momentum builds as all colleges jump in

At a time when the Innovation Jumpstart Competition is branching out into exciting new territory, UC Research & Innovation were thrilled to received 20 entries the second highest number of entries in six years of running the competition. 

This comes at a time when the competition branches out into brave new territory.  Formerly Tech Jumpstart, the new name refocuses the concept of innovation across all of UC’s disciplines and colleges.

Applications came from every college 

ENGINEERING                          11  = 55%

SCIENCE                                         6 = 30%

ARTS                                                  1 = 5%

BUSINESS and LAW                  1 = 5%

HUMAN DEVELOPMENT    1 = 5%                                                                                                          

Digging deeper:

  • 10 submissions (50%) were from individual researchers
  • 10 submissions (50%) were contributed by two or more researchers as a team
  • 36 academic staff in total
  • 7 staff (19%) had submitted in the previous 2017 Tech Jumpstart Competition
  • 29 staff (81%) were submitting for the first time.

What’s next?

Shortlisting is happening Tuesday  21 August by a group of external and internal judges followed by the top entries presenting their proposals on Thursday 13 September.

The top five projects will receive $20,000 funding each to help with innovation and technology development, as well as commercialisation support from Research & Innovation (R&I) and possible access to additional funding sources for continued development.

Awards ceremony – reminder that the Innovation Jumpstart Competition 2018 Awards Ceremony will be held on 3 October, 6:00pm – 7:30pm in the UC Council Chambers, Matariki Building.
Applicants and others interested are invited to attend. RSVP information will be provided closer to the time.