Over two days leading experts in civil engineering from academia and industry gathered on the Grangegorman campus of TU Dublin and Trinity College Dublin for the 25th of a series of conferences, which has now become the Civil Engineering Research in Ireland (CERI) conference.

Running in conjunction with the Irish Transportation Research Network (ITRN) Conference, the event was jointly chaired by Dr Niall Holmes of TU Dublin and Dr Roger West of Trinity College Dublin, with over 120 experts attending from Ireland, the United Kingdom and the United States.  

Celebrating 25 years this year, the first Colloquium on Concrete Research in Ireland was held in University College Dublin in 1997, with the conference broadening to include all aspects of civil engineering since then, publishing 776 papers in 11 volumes.

This year’s conference saw 97 paper presentations, 50% from students, on various topics, including sustainable cities and climate action, pedagogy, energy, concrete and transport.

Keynote speakers included Professor John Provis, a professor of cement materials science and engineering at the University of Sheffield, Jennifer Boyer, TU Dublin’s inaugural vice president of sustainability and Laura Burke, director general of the Environmental Protection Agency and Engineers Ireland vice president. 

Two CERAI awards

The highlight of the event was the presentation of two CERAI awards. 

2022 CERAI Lifetime Achievement Award awarded to Professor Eugene O’Brien. 'Lifetime award winner bridges the research-practice gap.'

As a person with national and global impact at the highest level and a world-renowned expert in the area of weigh-in-motion of bridges, the 2022 Civil Engineering Research Association of Ireland’s Lifetime Achievement Award was awarded to Prof. Eugene O’Brien of University College Dublin. 

CERI/ITRN 2022 co-chair Dr Roger West presented the award and said, “Prof. O’Brien has been a leader in civil engineering research for nearly 40 years, with three books, more than 150 journal publications and editorship of multiple journals. His research has been impactful throughout Europe, reflected in his being granted very considerable funding for pan-European projects and culminating in receiving the highly prestigious European Champions of Research award.

"He was also a founder and leader in a very successful Irish consultancy practice specialising in applying research to practical problems. He has supervised over 35 PhD students to completion, with many becoming leading academics. He has also become well-known for the excellence of his mentorship of junior researchers and has inspired those who work within and without his discipline.”

2022 CERAI Young Researcher Award awarded to Dr Brian Sheil.

The 2022 CERAI Young Researcher Award was given to Dr Brian Sheil, an Honorary Research Senior Lecturer at the NUI Galway, the Laing O’Rourke Associate Professor in Construction Engineering at University of Cambridge and a Senior Research Fellow at University of Oxford. The award recognises accomplished individuals under 35 who have developed a significant research portfolio in civil engineering. 

Regarding the award, Dr Niall Holmes of TU Dublin and CERI/ITRN 2022 co-chair said: “Dr Sheil is a world-leading researcher in geotechnical engineering, the quality of which is evidenced by his five-year Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellowship.

"Other awards include the Junior Research Fellowship at the University of Oxford (St Catherine’s College), a Royal Society International Exchange award, and he also represented Ireland at the 23rd European Young Geotechnical Engineer’s Conference. In addition, he has published 49 journal articles and secured €3.4m in funding to support his research, including €2.6m as principal investigator. 

"Dr Sheil was a visiting scholar at the University of California in Berkeley and has collaborated with many world-leading academics and research groups, regularly giving lectures on his research to students from the UK and abroad.

"In addition, he has created podcasts on his research in collaboration with the Oxford Sparks team to disseminate his research to an audience outside of academia. He also regularly contributes to outreach activities to recruit students from disadvantaged backgrounds, including the Headstart and Uniq.”

CERI/ITRN 2022 was kindly supported by Arup, Cement Manufacturers Ireland, Ecocem Ireland, Kilsaran, Kingspan, Roughan & O’Donovan, the Institution of Structural Engineers, the Irish Concrete Federation, the Irish Concrete Society, Roadstone and Mattest Ireland Ltd