UCL Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering


EPICentre – an interdisciplinary centre for natural hazards resilience

EPICentre was founded in 2007. It is a dynamic multidisciplinary research centre that investigates risk to society and infrastructure from earthquakes and other natural hazards.

1 September 2017

It provides a forum for multidisciplinary research into risk from natural hazards and disaster risk reduction. The driving force behind EPICentre’s research is the ambition to drastically reduce loss of life, livelihoods and economic loss in natural disasters. Today, EPICentre links 16 academic staff, 30 PhD students and 13 research associates from six departments across UCL, and holds a portfolio of research projects valued at over £10m. A few of our research highlights are:

  • development of models, statistical and probabilistic frameworks, data and tools, for assessing the risk to infrastructure subjected to earthquakes, tsunami, floods, wind and fire. Our models are widely used for catastrophe modelling and insurance in the structural engineering industry and heritage preservation sectors
  • we have developed fundamental understanding of tsunami impact on buildings using unique experiments, coupled with theoretical work and numerical fluids and structural analysis. This work has a strong potential to impact future building codes for tsunami and current seismic codes in areas at risk from tsunami
  • we have pioneered research in people’s risk representation that has led to the design and implementation of an intervention to improve earthquake and fire preparedness behaviours in communities in Seattle (USA) and Izmir (Turkey). Our longitudinal monitoring of community preparedness has proved that one year after its completion, the intervention was successful. This work paves the way towards effective large-scale mitigation programmes.

We have developed practice-oriented methodologies and computer tools for ground motion simulation, selection and modification for nonlinear structural analysis (REXEL/REXELite/REXEL-DISP) and for physical vulnerability assessment of masonry dwellings (FaMIVE) and low- to mid-rise RC buildings (FRACAS). These methodologies and tools are acknowledged in several seismic risk assessment guidelines in Europe.