The project ended on July 31st, 2013.

European seismic engineering research suffers from extreme fragmentation of research infrastructures (RI) between countries and limited access to them by the S/T community of earthquake engineering, especially that of Europe’s most seismic regions. A 23-strong consortium of the key actors in Europe’s seismic engineering research (including 3 industrial beneficiaries) addresses these problems in a sustainable way via a 4-year programme of activities at an annual cost to the EC less than 1.35% of the total present value (€190m) of the RIs’ material resources.

The scope covers all aspects of seismic engineering testing, from eight reaction wall pseudodynamic (PsD) facilities and ten shake table labs, to EU’s unique tester of bearings or isolators, its two major centrifuges and an instrumented site for wave propagation studies.

Transnational Access is offered to a portfolio of world class RIs: EU’s largest PsD facility, four diverse shake tables and the two centrifuges.

Networking sets up a public distributed database of past, present and future test results, installs distributed testing capabilities at all PsD labs, fostering development of up-and-coming ones at Europe’s most seismic regions, drafts and applies protocols for qualification of RIs and engages the entire European community of earthquake engineering via the best possible instances: the European Association of Earthquake Engineering, EU’s seismic code makers and their national groups, the European construction industry, as well as all relevant S/T associations or networks.

Joint research engages all labs, exploring and prototyping novel actuators (combination of electro-dynamic and hydraulic ones) for better control of fast tests or special applications, new sensing and instrumentation systems, data assimilation in equipment-specimen models for better test control and optimisation of testing campaigns, as well as experimental studies of soil-structure interaction at all types of testing facilities.


  Partner Short name Country
University of Patras (Coordinator) UPAT Greece
Aristotelio Panepistimio Thessalonikis AUTH Greece
Commissariat a l Energie Atomique et aux Energies Alternatives CEA France
Centro Europeo di Formazione e Ricerca in Ingegneria Sismica EUCENTRE Italy
Géodynamique et Structure GDS France
Technical University of Istanbul  ITU Turkey
Institute of Earthquake Engineering and Engineering Seismology IZIIS FYROM
Commission of the European Communities.  Directorate General Joint Research Centre. JRC JRC Belgium
Bogazici University KOERI Turkey
Institut Francais des Sciences et Technologies des Transports, de L'Amenagement et des Reseaux IFSTTAR France
Laboratório Nacional de Engenharia Civil  LNEC Portugal
Middle East Technical University  METU Turkey
National Technical University of Athens NTUA Greece
P&P LMC Srl PeP Italy
Technical University ‘Gheorghe Asachi’ of Iasi TUIasi Romania
The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Cambridge UCAM UK
Univerza V Ljubljani UL Slovenia
Universita degli Studi di Napoli Federico II UNAP Italy
Universität Kassel UNIKA Germany
Universitá degli Studi di Trento UNITN Italy
University of Bristol UNIVBRIS UK
The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of  University of Oxford UOXF.DF UK
VCE Holding GmbH VCE Austria

Project Objectives

This project aims at bridging the two gaps of RTD in experimental earthquake engineering and structural dynamics: (a) between Europe and the US or Japan, and (b) between European countries with high seismicity but less advanced RTD infrastructures on one hand and some more technologically advanced but not so seismic Member States on the other. It will do so by integrating the entire European RTD community in earthquake engineering via:

1. A concerted program of Networking Activities, fostering a sustainable culture of co-operation among all research infrastructures and teams active in European earthquake engineering:

2. Co-ordinated Transnational Access of Users to a world class portfolio combining:

3. Joint innovative Research toward new fundamental technologies and techniques promoting efficient and joint use of the research infrastructures, in three areas where the beneficiaries excel at world level:

Progress beyond the State of the Art

Individually none of Europe’s research infrastructures has the critical mass of people and the broad range of experimental capabilities and expertise eeded for major breakthroughs in the State-of-the-Art of earthquake engineering: the JRC has a Reaction Wall and Pseudodynamic testing facility unique in Europe and among the largest worldwide, but lacks Shaking Table capability or a Centrifuge Test facility, which are vital for earthquake engineering research.

Such capabilities are offered in the comprehensive portfolio of research infrastructures mobilised in this project, which includes:

Networking Activities (NAs)

The networking activities of the project will enhance the services provided by the research infrastructures, transcending their current extreme fragmentation, through the following:

The networking activities will also foster a culture of co-operation between the participants in the project and the S/T community benefiting from the research infrastructures, by engaging the entire European community of S/T and practice in earthquake engineering in the RTD activities of the beneficiary infrastructures, via multiple and very effective means of outreach.

Transnational Access Activities (TAs)

The project’s transnational access activities will use transparent, fair and impartial peer-review process to select talented European researchers with good ideas and provide them access and in-person use at a portfolio of high-performing world class research infrastructures, comprising:

Joint Research Activities (JRAs)

The State-of-the-Art in experimental earthquake engineering RTD and the services offered by the infrastructures will be advanced through joint research activities (JRAs) in three areas where the beneficiaries excel at world level.

1. Dynamic testing for earthquake engineering requires high precision application of discrete and distributed dynamic loads, ranging from several MNewtons (e.g. for PsD testing of full-scale structures) to few kNewtons (e.g. in small-scale tests in a centrifuge). The baseline of JRA1 is the current use of servo-hydraulic actuators for the application of large dynamic loads.

Several new actuator technologies (e.g. linear electrical actuators and morphing composite materials) offer the potential for improving the fidelity and scope of dynamic earthquake engineering testing. The aim of JRA1 is to use this potential and position European laboratories so that they can offer users better experimental opportunities through these technologies.

JRA1 will conclude with prototyping a hybrid actuation system of linear electrical actuators and linear servo-hydraulic ones to improve their high-frequency fidelity.

2. JRA2 will investigate and then promote, after their calibration/validation in various tests of different levels of complexity, new types of sensors, control techniques and modelling tools capable of enhancing the measurement of the response of test specimens and improving the quality of test control. It will also develop numerical simulation tools, integrated with data processing, databases and visualisation, for improved design of test campaigns, including the equipment and for enhanced interpretation of test results, taking also into account foundation and the soil.

The current baseline, consisting of classical few point/local measurements in seismic testing, cannot serve the current needs of Performance-based earthquake engineering which emphasise structural damage. JRA2 will exploit recent advances in optical fibres, optical sensors, wireless communication, Micro-Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) and information technologies – software frameworks, databases, visualisation, Internet/grid computations - to serve these needs and significantly enhance seismic testing of complex structural systems. Remote measurements will be investigated and advanced, for use when direct contact with the specimen should be avoided, e.g., for safety of the instrumentation at specimen collapse.

3. Soil-structure interaction (SSI) during earthquakes refers to several phenomena related to the response of structures caused by the flexibility of the foundation soils, as well as to the response of soils and embedded facilities caused by the presence of structures. Modelling SSI requires not only the introduction of additional degrees of freedom, but often also physical simulation of wave propagation, duly accounting for the non linearities that depend on the induced strain level. The baseline in design, analysis and testing of structures is to ignore SSI: the structure is considered fixed to the ground and the free field motion is directly applied to its base. The obvious additional complication in laboratory testing of a complete structure-foundation-soil system is a major reason why SSI has received very little experimental attention and very few results are available for calibration of numerical models.

Experimental large-scale testing (large shaking tables, field observations, reaction wall testing) and small-scale testing (centrifuge, small shaking tables) will not only help calibrate numerical methods of analysis, but will also shed qualitative and quantitative light into the nature and significance of these nonlinear phenomena. JRA3 aims at providing Europe’s experimental facilities with the "tools" to carry out such novel experiments.

Methodology and Work Plan

The work plan comprises a set of intertwined and synergistic networking, transnational access and joint research activities. The three WPs of networking activities of the project have a two-pronged strategy, aiming at:

The platform of co-operation between the research infrastructures will comprise:

Europe’s S/T and professional earthquake engineering community will be fully engaged, via:

Seven WPs of transnational access to a world-class portfolio of complementary facilities, namely to EU’s largest reaction wall and PsD lab, its four largest shake tables, its two largest centrifuges and the largest seismic tester of bearings, will be offered free of charge, along with the full infrastructural, logistical, technological and scientific support. Users of access will be attracted, selected and trained through the networking activities; they will also disseminate their RTD results to the widest possible audience through them. Tests conducted during transnational access will systematically use telepresence and on a pilot basis distributed testing, both established in the networking activities. More important, it is mostly in such tests that new techniques to be developed by the project’s joint research activities will be tried on a pilot basis, calibrated and validated.

Fundamental technologies or techniques for efficient and joint use of the research infrastructures will be promoted in three WPs of joint research activities in areas of world-excellence of the beneficiaries:


Transnational Access


Transnational Access
(TA) to a portfolio of world class research infrastructures is offered to selected talented European researchers. Users are given access to the infrastructures for the design of the test specimen and the instrumentation, for the execution of the tests and for the processing and interpretation of results. The facilities available for Transnational Access include shaking tables, reaction walls, centrifuge infrastructures and bearing tester system.

Users are integrated into the scheduling of the infrastructure during the execution programme of each project, from the design and construction of the test specimen, to instrumentation, experimental testing and interpretation of the experimental results, receiving from the staff of the infrastructure all the technical and scientific support needed to carry out their project. A user support team is allocated to each user on a daily basis, to develop and execute the test programme, including appropriate technicians for test model fabrication, instrumentation, etc.

Prospective users are advised to consult the open calls for proposals about the availability of TA infrastructures. The lead user and the majority of the users in a team should be working in an institution in a EU Member State or EU Associated country, but other than the one where the TA facility is established.

The User Selection Panel has selected 27 TA Research projects according to specific criteria.