Ken Elwood

Citation on the award of NZSEE Fellow, April 2021

Professor Ken Elwood, Professor in Earthquake Engineering at the University of Auckland, is elected as a Fellow in the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering.

Ken received his PhD in Civil Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley in 2002. He was in Christchurch during the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake and he became the co-team leader for the EERI Learning from Earthquake mission for the event. This experience became the catalyst for him joining the University of Auckland as the Professor and MBIE Chair in Earthquake Engineering in 2014, after 11 years on faculty at the University of British Columbia, Canada.

Ken has won many awards for his research, teaching and service, too numerous to list here. The Society recognised him with the 2018 NZSEE President’s award for his significant contribution towards enhancing public safety through the increased understanding of earthquake effects on reinforced concrete buildings following the recent NZ earthquake. Following the 2016 Kaikōura earthquake Ken assisted in effectively advising the government, which led to the targeted building assessment programme in Wellington.

Some highlights of Ken’s significant contribution to the activities of NZSEE and earthquake engineering are as follows:

  • Management Committee member of NZSEE and leads the learning from earthquakes programme
  • Ken was the founding director of QuakeCoRE which has transformed the earthquake engineering research landscape. Ken also contributed significantly to the recent successful re-bid and remains as the research director of QuakeCoRE.
  • Principal investigator for the ReCast floor project investigating retrofit solutions for precast floors.
  • Instrumental in establishing the QuakeCoRE/NZSEE Women Leader in EQ Engineering Award.
  • Has heavily influenced the University of Auckland’s teaching curriculum in improving the technical earthquake engineering content.
  • He has successfully supervised many Masters and PhD students on earthquake engineering topics.
  • Ken has delivered many invited talks in conferences in NZ and around the world representing NZ inc.
  • Ken is an advocate for earthquake resilience in NZ. He is a member of the MBIE seismic risk working group, and he contributes to the NZSEE Resilient Building project.
  • Ken is a member of the ACI 318 code committee. He is on the Board of Directors of IAEE.
  • He is a key member of the C5 Concrete Buildings Assessment Guideline.
  • Ken participated in two recent NZSEE LFE missions to Kumamoto, Japan in 2016 and Puebla, Mexico in 2017. These have both led to comprehensive reports published in the NZSEE Bulletin

It is with great pleasure and well-earned respect that the Society awards Ken Elwood Fellowship of the Society.