Civil Engineering Faculty 2008, Ian Buckle

Ian Buckle

Past President


Ian Buckle is a Foundation Professor at the University of Nevada, Reno, and director of the University’s Center for Civil Engineering Earthquake Research. He has previously served as the deputy vice-chancellor (research), University of Auckland, New Zealand,

and as the deputy director of the National Center for Earthquake Engineering Research, University at Buffalo, New York (now the Multidisciplinary Center for Extreme Events Research).

In his current position he teaches structural engineering, conducts research in the seismic performance of transportation structures, and serves on numerous university and professional committees. He also directs the Large-Scale Structures Laboratory at Reno, and is principal investigator for the UNR NEES Equipment Site, one of fifteen such sites established by the National Science Foundation in 2004 for earthquake engineering experimental research. In this regard, Ian served two terms as the first president of the Board of Directors charged with setting up the nonprofit NEES Consortium to manage, operate, and maintain the NEES Network of Equipment Sites and related cyberinfrastructure.

Ian is a past member of the EERI Board of Directors, past chair of the Experimental Research Committee, past chair of the Special Projects and Initiatives Committee, current member of the Honors Committee, and a member of the EERI reconnaissance teams to Chile and Japan. In addition to his EERI activities, he is currently vice chair of the Caltrans Seismic Advisory Board, and a member of the Board of Directors, Nevada Earthquake Safety Council.


I am honored to be nominated to be the president of the Institute and somewhat humbled by the implication. Ever since I became aware of EERI in the mid-eighties, I have been in awe of its reputation and the skill of the men and women who have led its success. To be given the chance to join their ranks is indeed a true honor. I thank the Nominating Committee for their confidence and now ask for your vote.

EERI has a bold mission — reducing earthquake risk — which is more relevant today than at any time in the past. It is ambitious and far reaching. Events in Haiti, Chile, New Zealand, and Japan all speak to the urgency of what we do. But not everybody sees it this way. At a time when resources are short and the effects of a deep recession continue to linger, it is more difficult to be heard among the competing priorities for time and money. Hurricanes, tornados, floods, and wildfires have taken a deep toll this year on the nation’s resources and resilience. Earthquake risk reduction is no longer a high priority in the minds of many stakeholders and decision-makers, despite four catastrophic disasters, offshore, in the last two years.

It follows that EERI faces many challenges going forward, ranging from shifting priorities in state and federal governments, to little or no growth in its membership. We there- fore need to develop clear and compelling arguments for earthquake risk reduction, identify the gaps in our knowledge, advocate for strong research programs, find fresh ways to work with the media, and take every opportunity to get our message out. We should not only be nurturing old partnerships and but also making new ones, national and international, earthquake and multi-hazard.

In addition we need to take the pulse of our membership. Our diversity is our greatest strength, from seismology to social science, from academicians to practicing professionals. But satisfying the needs of such a diverse group is another of our significant challenges. The Board and officers are elected to lead, to set goals and achieve them on behalf of the membership. But in doing so it is important to know that every activity is related to the Institute’s core business of earthquake risk reduction. It is also important for the Board to not get too far out in front of the membership, but to communicate its short and long term goals, explain where it is going and how it is going to get there. And periodically make sure the membership is right behind it.

EERI has overcome many challenges in the past and I am confident it will continue to do so in the future. If elected I will work to secure long-term funding sources, increase membership across all ages and disciplines, be responsive to the needs of our members and, by doing so, protect and grow what has become a truly unique organization with a critical role to play in earthquake risk reduction at home and around the world.