DIT engineer wins inaugural all-Ireland research award

Dr. Colin Caprani honoured for research in civil and structural engineering

18 September 2012: Dr Colin Caprani, Department of Civil and Structural Engineering in DIT, has won the 2012 Young Researcher Award at an all-Ireland conference of researchers in civil engineering.  The Award was presented jointly to Dr. Caprani and to Dr. Jamie Goggins of NUI Galway at the Bridge and Concrete Research in Ireland (BCRI) Conference which took place in Dublin on 6/7 September.

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Dr. Colin Caprani and Dr. Jamie Goggins, joint winners of ‘BCRI Young Researcher Award 2012’, presented by (centre) Dr David Hughes of Queen’s University Belfast

The Judging Panel for the award was chaired by Professor Eugene O’Brien (UCD), with Professor Padraic O’Donoghue (NUIG) and Dr. David Hughes, QUB.  Announcing the winners, the panel said they “could not separate the careers of Dr. Caprani and Dr. Goggins, and so decided to make a joint award in fair recognition of both individuals’ careers to date.”  The ‘Young Researcher Award’ was established by the BCRI conference to recognise the work of researchers who are aged less than 35 years  and who have made substantial contribution to knowledge in the field; have achieved international esteem; and have developed an independent research career.  It is the only award of its kind on the island of Ireland and this year was presented for the first time.

Congratulating Dr. Caprani, the President of DIT, Professor Brian Norton said, “Colin has made important contributions to our understanding of traffic loading on bridges that already have had significant influence on developments in the field internationally.  More broadly his work is an excellent example of how practically-oriented research informs teaching; a hallmark of DIT.”

The Bridge and Concrete Research in Ireland Conference took place in Dublin on 6/7 September, jointly hosted by Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) and Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and supported by SFI.  Attendance included academics, postgraduate students, and practitioners, reflecting the dual goals of the conference series: the promotion of links between industry and academia, and the nurturing of young researchers, the future leaders in industry and academia. Some 160 delegates participated, representing 41 organisations from Ireland, UK, Denmark and Australia.  

First held in 2006, the 2012 conference was the fourth in the series and this year was chaired by Dr Colin Caprani (DIT) and Dr Alan O’Connor (TCD).  According to Dr. Caprani, “Since the first conference, the topics covered by BCRI have expanded to include the titular bridges and concrete, of course, but also geotechnics, materials, and structures research.  Consequently it is the main showcase for research and practice across all of structural engineering.”   

In addition to keynote addresses delivered by Professor Adrian Long, Queen's University Belfast; Professor Richard Jardine, Imperial College London; and Professor Aleksandar Pavic, University of Sheffield, a total of 85 technical papers were presented on topics that included bridges, geotechnics, concrete, structures, and materials.   Twenty-two papers were presented by DIT delegates.  The conference was given Engineers Ireland CPD approval.

The conference formally established the Civil Engineering Research Association of Ireland (CERAI) which will run the conference series in future.   Reflecting the growing range of topics the next conference, to be held in Queen’s University Belfast on 4-5 September 2014, will be renamed Civil Engineering Infrastructure Research Conference (Bridges, Concrete, Geotechnics, Materials, and Structures).

The papers presented at the BCRI 2012 Conference will soon be available for viewing on the conference website at www.bcri.ie.  

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