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Monday, July 25, 2011

Dr Belcher takes Earth System Science position at University of Exeter

Congratulation to Dr Claire Belcher who has got an academic position at the University of Exeter as a Senior Lecturer in Earth System Science.

She will join the College of Life and Environmental Sciences there in January 2012 to continue research on the flammable history of the Earth and plans to maintain strong links with us.

She is sorry to be leaving the FireLab but is looking forward to living in the warmer south and setting up her own research group.

NOTE: Yes, you are right. Claire has promoted directly from Research Fellow to Senior Lecturer without resting at the Lecturership level. That I see as the take off of a stellar career indeed.

Monday, July 18, 2011

PhD defense of Jamie Stern-Gottfried on Travelling Fires for Structural Design

Dear All,

I’m very happy to convey the news that Jamie Stern-Gottfried has successfully defended (with flying colours) his PhD viva, “Travelling Fires for Structural Design (pdf)” this morning in Manchester.

The viva was instructive and educational for all (candidate, supervisor (Guillermo Rein), internal examiner (Luke Bisby), and even external examiner (Colin Bailey)), and Jamie has only very minor corrections to make before he can insist (as I'm sure he will!) on being called Doctor.

In the words of Prof Bailey, all of the questions were “extremely well answered” and the thesis was beautifully defended.

Congratulations to Jamie (and to Guillermo) for this novel and important piece of work!! I can only hope that Jamie’s penchant for collaboration with structural engineers continues in the future...

Luke Bisby
Internal Examiner

(sent on Fri, 15 Jul 2011)

Friday, July 08, 2011

Call for papers: Fire Technology special issue on WTC Collapse

Fire Technology, the journal of the National Fire Protection Association published by Springer, is preparing an issue on the 2001 fire and collapse of World Trade Center.

The purpose is to collect research, forensic and engineering output of the highest scholarly standards synthesized in the 10 years passed since the event.

Multidisciplinary and international contributions are especially encouraged. Topics of interests include: WTC 1, 2, 5 and 7, the crash, fires, structural response, collapse, forensic conclusions, experiments, modelling, Fire and Rescue intervention, human behaviour, building design, post-collapse fires and recovery, previous attacks on WTC and related subjects.

Submissions will be accepted until 11th Nov 2011 at: (choose article type "World Trace Center") .

The call for papers flyer can do downloaded here. Please spread the word, we are looking for a wide range of high quality submissions.

For further information, contact the Associate Editor of this special issue:, Dr Guillermo Rein, The University of Edinburgh.

A New York City fireman calls for 10 more rescue workers to make their way into the rubble of the World Trade Center. Photo form Wikipedia, United States Navy ID 010914-N-3995K-01

Friday, July 01, 2011

Ove Arup Foundation supports groundbreaking Fire Safety Initiative

The Ove Arup Foundation have made a major investment to tackle the obdurate problems surrounding fire safety. Working with Edinburgh Fire Safety Engineers at the BRE Centre for Fire Safety Engineering and Architects at the University of Edinburgh, The Institute for the Study of Science, Technology and Innovation (ISSTI) will explore how to ensure the effective adoption of technical advances in the built environment.

The Ove Arup Foundation has agreed to invest £200,000 over the next 5 years in a major interdisciplinary research and knowledge transfer initiative aimed at Integrating Technical and Social Aspects of Fire Safety Engineering Expertise (ITSAFE).

"We are excited to explore new approaches to reducing risks from fire, which still kills too many people. While there have been significant technical advances in fire safety, further progress will be limited without changes in policy and regulation and in the practices and responses of professions and organisations involved and the wider public."

--Sir Duncan Michael, Ove Arup Foundation trustee and former chairman

What are the barriers to adopting the latest improvements in Fire Safety Engineering? Do existing fire safety regulations and systems inhibit the adoption of new and safer materials and techniques? Can we integrate fire safety with other goals such as building aesthetics, security and environmental sustainability? These and other pressing issues will be addressed by the ITSAFE project, which builds on an earlier Arup Foundation award which has helped to establish the world class Centre for Fire Safety Engineering at the University of Edinburgh.

The ITSAFE team – comprising Robin Williams, Stewart Russell, Donald MacKenzie, and Steve Yearley from ISSTI, Luke Bisby and Jose Torero from the BRE Centre, and Remo Pedreschi and Liam Ross from the Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture – will examine how changes in policy and professional practice can improve current fire safety.

ISSTI Director Robin Williams welcomed the Ove Arup Foundation's generous support:

"This reflects our success in putting together an interdisciplinary consortium, bringing together social science, fire safety engineering and architectural design, equipped to examine these complex questions".

In the coming year ITSAFE will be recruiting an ambitious scholar to lead this research programme and a PhD student to build expertise in this area. Anyone interested should contact Robin Williams at