On 14 March 2013, the 15th Annual Young Researchers’ Conference took place at the Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE) International HQ in London. It was attended by 71 postgraduate students from across the UK including Fabio Battistini, Payam Khazaeinejad, Mohamed Kiari, Cristian Maluk, Emma McIntyre, Ieuan Rickard and Holly Smith from the University of Edinburgh. There were also a number of experienced industry and research based professionals to lead the judging.
The conference was started with a warm welcome from Ian Firth (Vice President of the IStructE) and was followed by an interesting Keynote Address from Emeritus Professor David Nethercot (Imperial College London) where he discussed the benefits of engineering research. The eight oral presentations were split into three sections:
- Use of Structural Steel
- Catastrophic Structural Collapse
- Novel Material Use
There was a particularly interesting talk from Joseph Gattas on “Morphing Origami Panels: Geometry and Construction” where they sought to manipulate materials to allow for collapsible and patchable structures for use by the Ministry of Defence. In both presentations and posters there were four fire related topics, with three from the University of Edinburgh. Holly Smith presented her PhD entitled "Punching Shear of Reinforced Concrete Slabs in Fire", Cristian Maluk presented his poster entitled "Study of Heat-Induced Concrete Spalling Using a Novel Fire Testing Methodology" and Emma McIntyre presented her poster entitled "Fire Performance of FRP Reinforced Concrete: Bond Deterioration at Elevated Temperature".
There were prizes in both the oral and presentation categories with Holly placing second and Emma placing joint 1st. They were both awarded £300 and a book entitled "Biomimicry in Architecture" by Michael Pawlyn.
The Young Researchers’ Conference is always a thoroughly enjoyable day with a vast array of topics to be debated, and a great networking opportunity for young postgraduates. The 2013 Conference was sponsored by Arup, Atkins, Flint & Neill, Ramboll, S-FRAME Software (UK) Ltd, The Institution of Civil Engineers and The Institution of Structural Engineers Research Fund.