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Annual Meeting Focuses on Progress and Collaboration

 Group picture from annual meeting
Researchers, industry partners, students and staff pose outside the Embassy Suites Hotel for a group photo

Palm trees and alligators collided with passive energy dissipation and investigators as MCEER’s 2003 Annual Meeting headed south to Boca Raton, Florida. Held traditionally at the beginning of each research year, the event took place January 23-25.

More than 60 participants, including center investigators, staff, students and industry partners, joined together to strengthen channels of interaction and collaboration, review research progress from the past 12 months, and outline plans and specific activities for the year ahead. Those in attendance seemed to concur that this year’s meeting was among the best and most productive ever.

The two-and-a-half day program included brief presentations on current work by researchers, presentations by industry partners on research needs, student poster sessions, meetings of the center’s Student Leadership Council (SLC) and Industry Advisory Board (IAB), and a number of other special interest discussions.

Dr. Aspasia Zerva, recently appointed Program Director of NSF’s Earthquake Engineering Research Centers program, also attended. The meeting provided an opportunity for her to meet with MCEER investigators, students and industry partners, and engage them in face-to-face discussions of center research programs and individual tasks.

 photo of Jeff Berman and several industry partners in front of his research poster Jeffrey Berman, left, discusses his research with industry partners during the student poster session

Presentations by research thrust leaders and center investigators gave attendees a glimpse of progress and deliverables in each of the Center’s thrusts – Lifelines, Hospitals, Response & Recovery, Networking and Education– serving as a basis for discussions, and enabling all to gain a greater appreciation of the overall objectives and scope of research, education and outreach endeavors.

Ten industry partners shared their insights, making presentations on issues, problems, or implementation experiences faced by practitioners in the field. Their viewpoints not only complemented the research presentations by providing an industry perspective, but also in helping to identify additional research needs.

Individual research thrust breakout sessions followed, fostering project specific discussions among researchers, industry partners and students, and enabling participants to coordinate schedules and work plans to achieve system-integrated results over the coming 12 months.

At the end of the meeting, MCEER’s Executive Committee met to begin the planning process for Year 7 activities, and to discuss the upcoming NSF site visit to Buffalo June 3- 4, 2003.

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