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Taflanidis Named Greek Diaspora Fellow

Nina Welding • DATE: December 15, 2016

Categories:  Press Release

Associate Professor Alexandros A. Taflanidis, the Frank M. Freimann Collegiate Chair in Structural Engineering, was named a 2017 Greek Diaspora Fellow and awarded a Fellowship by The Greek Diaspora Fellowship Program.

As a Fellow, he will travel to Greece to work with Assistant Professor Dimitrios Vamvatsikos at the National Technical University of Athens Department of Civil Engineering on the project titled “Collaborative Research in Earthquake Engineering (VirtualQuakes): Enhancing the Resilience of Communities to Seismic Hazard through Simulation within a Virtual Benchmarking Experiment.”

The project combines the unique expertise of Taflanidis in simulation-based risk assessment, computational probability and predictive modeling, with the expertise of Vamvatsikos in earthquake engineering, seismic-hazard characterization and nonlinear structural modeling, to develop, evaluate and promote different approaches for quantification of seismic risk. Its goal is to identify alternative approaches that offer a different compromise between computationally simplicity and accuracy in characterizing seismic hazard, so that a range of validated solutions are available to the engineering community, depending on availability of computational resources/expertise. These developments will have immediate impact on benchmarking existing and future approaches in the fields of seismic-loss assessment and design/rehabilitation and are of paramount importance for the resilience of communities in seismic areas. The collaboration is scheduled to take place in summer 2017.   

Taflanidis is one of 21 Greek- and Cypriot-born scholars, hailing from a cross-section of 16 prominent United States and Canadian universities, who will travel to Greece to conduct academic projects with their peers at Greek universities, working in areas that range from public health to chemical genomics research, and from English language curriculum to continuing education studies in urban food security.

A faculty member since 2008, Taflanidis is the director of the High-Performance System Analysis Design Laboratory, where he focuses on natural-hazard risk assessment/mitigation, helping to reduce the loss of life and property in future disasters, and on the design of sustainable civil infrastructure in response to the nation’s aging infrastructure crisis.

In addition to his duties in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering & Earth Sciences, Taflanidis holds a concurrent appointment in the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering and is a Faculty Fellow of the University’s Kellogg Institute for International Studies.

He is also the co-founder of Engineering2Empower, where he works closely with students on empowering community resilience in developing nations like Haiti and Ecuador employing activities from scalable disaster risk assessment to risk reduction through sustainable residential reconstruction.


Designed to help avert Greece’s brain drain and develop long-term, mutually-beneficial collaborations between universities in Greece and the United States and Canada, the Greek Diaspora Fellowship Program is managed by the Institute of International Education in collaboration with the Fulbright Foundation in Greece and funded by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.

Over a period of two years, the program will award Fellowships to 40 U.S. and Canadian based academics to collaborate with universities throughout Greece to develop curricula, conduct research, and teach and mentor graduate students in priority areas identified by the Greek universities.

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